Chili is awesome. It’s warming and delicious and there are about a bazillion different ways to make it. Yes, a bazillion.
I love to open the fridge and put whatever catches my eye into my chili pot.
Right now we are in the process of moving, so sometimes it’s challenging to cook dinner, because half of my things are in the new place and half are in the old place. Sometimes when I start cooking dinner, I forget what’s where and I end up using kitchen tools that really don’t work for the job I need. But chili makes it easy… one pot… no special tools.
There are white chilis and red chilis and hot ones and mild ones. There are meaty versions and veggie versions. There are ones that are sweet and ones that are tangy. OK, now my mouth is watering and my mind is already coming up with another pot I have to make. Soon.
And, it just so happens to be football season now. There’s no better tradition than a big pot of chili for the upcoming playoffs and Superbowl…
When I created this chili I looked in my crisper drawer and saw a few heads of beautiful fresh bok choy. Yes, I know, bok choy is not a traditional chili ingredient, but I figured what the heck, let’s try it. And the combination of bok choy with pork is just perfect. I’m telling you, this amazing veg is perfect in this meaty chili. I decided not to put any beans in this pot so the bok choy would stand out more, but feel free to add beans if you’re in that kind of mood. If you’re in the mood to try another really unique but amazing chili, try my Sweet Potato Chili With Goji Berries next time.
I bet you didn’t know chili could be so healthy, but here are the stats for this one:
Pork strengthens the digestive system, helps with constipation, and can moisten a dry cough and other dryness in the body. It’s also good to strengthen your qi and give you energy.
In Eastern medicine, bok choy is used to quench thirst, aid digestion, prevent constipation and treat diabetes. It is rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, folate and fiber. And there are only 20 calories in one cup of Bok Choy. So, it’s good for you, it’s easy to prepare, and it tastes good.
Hot peppers contain more vitamin C than any other vegetable and they are good at fighting off the common cold. So, if you like spice, as I do, use a generous amount of whatever hot peppers you like. And feel free to add more chili powders or spicier ones if you’re a spice-a-holic. The main component of hot peppers is capsicum. Capsicum actually works with your body and mind to make you feel happy. It’s also good for reducing swelling and can relieve arthritic joint pain. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor before eating too many hot peppers because they can actually raise the blood pressure in some people.
Turmeric is actually a Chinese herb (Jiang Huang). It is great for reducing inflammation throughout the body. If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, try turmeric. It can help relieve menstrual pain and some other abdominal pains but, if you are pregnant, ask your doctor before you eat too much turmeric.
Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….
Bell peppers help with indigestion. If you are feeling bloated and full from over-eating a lot lately, consuming bell peppers will help reduce this feeling. They are also good for blood circulation and research has shown that they are good for people with a low appetite or anorexia. It used to be common in China to use green pepper tea to soothe indigestion.
I also added some raw Chinese Herbs to the pot. My favorite thing about cooking things like soups, stews and chilis, is that it’s a great vehicle for my Chinese herbs because they get lots of time to infuse their healing capabilities into my food. I added Huang Qi (Astragalus) and Shan Yao (Chinese Yam) for energy.
- 2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 lb ground pork
- 1 med onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- sea salt and black pepper
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 2-inch piece of a hot pepper, minced (I used an Anaheim chili)
- 3 Tbs chili powder
- 1 Tbs cumin
- ½ tsp chipotle chili powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 28-oz can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 medium heads of bok choy, sliced
- 1 avocado, diced
- raw Chinese herbs (I used Shan Yao and Huang Qi) (optional)
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Add the pork and saute until most of the pink color is gone.
- Stir in the onion, bell pepper, garlic, hot pepper, salt and pepper to taste, chili powders, cumin, and turmeric. Stir until the meat is coated with the spices and continue cooking and stirring for about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the can of tomatoes and the chicken broth. Add raw Chinese herbs if using. Bring to a boil. Add the bok choy, cover the pot, and cook 20 minutes. Then, uncover and cook an additional 20 to 30 minutes, or until the chili is the consistency you like.
- Ladle into bowls and top with avocado.