Pork Chili with Polenta

Here we are, at the end of the weekend…and I didn’t get a chance to do any cooking.  My husband and I spent the weekend at our cabin.  Jon built the cabin about two years ago, but with a temporary kitchen, because with all new cabinets, refrigerator, etc., it was going to be an expensive endeavor.  He rigged up some countertops and shelves…and hung some old cabinets.  It worked just fine for the time being. We just had to recoup financially after the initial building of the cabin.  But after falling into a really great deal on cabinets at the Home Depot, and this crazy (shaking my head, I’m still in shock) deal at Sears for a new fridge and microwave, and a new countertop built by Jon’s friend, we were able to do the kitchen a little bit sooner than we had anticipated, and for way less money than we had thought.

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Anyway…getting back to the not cooking.  For the last three weeks or so, Jon had been installing the cabinets and countertop.  I haven’t been going to the cabin, because it’s hunting season..and that’s really not my favorite time to be down there.  I don’t know…there’s something about having a couple months of weekends to myself… I love it. But this past weekend, it was just going to be Jon going alone, so Sophie and I decided that we’d go along to keep him company. Not to mention, I was anxious to see the new kitchen! He decided to install the ceramic tile backsplash, which meant that the kitchen was going to be out of commission.  He got as far as he could (he forgot to bring the tile cutter thing), but the photo pretty much gives you the grand scheme of things. I’m really happy with the way it turned out, Jon really did a great job..and honestly..I’m so proud of him for building this cabin pretty much by himself..he’s quite a talented carpenter.

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I have this wonderful and really cool pancake recipe inspired by my daughter Katie and her boyfriend Ryan that I was going to do.  I’ll try to get that made tomorrow night.   In the meantime, I have a pork tenderloin chili recipe that I made for dinner last week that I’ll share tonight.  The reason I didn’t post it sooner is because I didn’t want to post about polenta so soon after posting the chicken over polenta recipe.  I was worried that it was going to look like I have tunnel vision (or should I say tunnel cravings) when it comes to some ingredients or food, i.e. cupcakes, polenta, gnocchi… which isn’t really the case, it just happens that these things come up in groups, rather than here and there… if that even makes sense!!

In all honesty…
I do get “tunnel cravings”
Pasta.
I could eat it every night.
And chocolate.
But chocolate is a necessary evil, so that doesn’t count.

So..back to the chili.  The night I made it, I was hungry for chili.  But I wanted meaty chili… not just ground beef chili, but big chunks of meat chili.  I had a pork tenderloin and some ground beef in the freezer. I defrosted them both, and sautéed the pork and beef with some onions, peppers, and garlic.  And then, you know me… I started building the recipe…thinking that I should make this into a Cincinnati chili…you know…over spaghetti (there’s a surprise..) with chopped onions on top..   But then, as I was looking in the cupboard for spaghetti, I came across the package of polenta..and any thoughts of Cincinnati or spaghetti flew out the window… I can happily say that the polenta won!! I decided that I would cook the polenta until it was nice and thick, cut it into mini squares, and then I’d fold it into the chili, just like the very first time I ever tried it.

What I really love about this chili, is that you can get home from work, and have it cooked up in a short amount of time. Just throw everything in the pot, and let it do it’s own thing. I can honestly say that this was such a satisfying meal… a close your eyes and say “Mmmm” with every spoonful, kind of meal.  Life is good. It’s pork tenderloin and polenta in your chili kind of good.

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Pork Chili with Polenta

Just a quick note… this recipe will serve six generous servings. While I used a sweet red pepper, please feel free to use a green pepper. I tend to buy more red peppers than I do green, only because I think that the red tend to be way less bitter when cooked, than the green. Don’t get me wrong, I still love green peppers, I just use more red. I used all tomato sauce because of my finicky eaters at home. If they found any remnants of tomato in a dish, you’d think that the world was about to end…(rolling my eyes here). So if you like tomatoes, use one can of sauce, and one can of crushed tomatoes. It would be delicious! Also, even though the polenta won this time around, I’m still thinking that this would be awesome served as Cincinnati Chili. Do whatever tickles your fancy…

The Chili
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into chunks
1 pound ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 – 15.5 oz cans light red kidney beans, drained
2 – 28 oz cans tomato sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (or more if you like the heat)

In a large pot, sauté the onions, pepper, and garlic until tender.  Add the pork and ground beef, and cook until browned. Add the sauce, kidney beans, brown sugar, chili powder, Worchestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper on medium heat.  When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chili thickens, about an hour and a half or so.

While the chili is simmering, go ahead and cook up the polenta.  That will give it plenty of time to thicken and set…

The Polenta:
2 cups water
1/2 cup instant polenta
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup romano cheese

Bring the two cups of water and salt to a boil. Slowly pour the polenta into the boiling water, whisking constantly. Simmer on lowest heat for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and romano cheese. Pour into a shallow 9 x 9 baking dish that has been sprayed with vegetable cooking spray. Let it set while the chili is cooking, and then cut into mini squares. Carefully fold the squares into the chili. Serve in bowls… sprinkle with your favorite cheese if desired..

Enjoy!

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17 thoughts on “Pork Chili with Polenta

  1. I love this! I am going to make this for my guys and the polenta part is for me! I think my Hesster would think he found his bride when he set his eyes on Sophie! And your kitchen Prudy! Gorgeous. What a great place to get away, looks so warm and inviting. Ok, another thing in common…I too am married to a talented carpenter! Can’t wait to make your chili.

    • Aww… lol, Seana..and I’m sure that Sophie would fall head over heels with Hesster. Thank you, yes, we really enjoy the cabin. More so in the winter, because we’re tucked inside all warm and toasty, usually watching a movie or two. It’s just a relaxing time.
      Funny, how we have so much in common. Honestly. 🙂
      Let me know what you think of the chili..

    • How wonderful to have a piece of land on the river!! That’s the one thing that I admit that is lacking at the cabin, and that is some sort of body of water…because I’m a water girl.. doesn’t matter what it is..a pond, a lake, ocean, river, canal, stream, or a puddle..I love it. 🙂 I hope you get your cabin soon!! ❤

  2. So glad you stopped by my blog the other day as I am glad to have found yours and am looking forward to reading more. This recipe looks wonderful. I love cornbread in my chili and the polenta is a nice twist. The kitchen looks great and it is always fun to find a great deal!

  3. Chilli is one of my all-time favourites. The hotter the better! I see you use Worcestershire sauce too – I use it in practically everything!! I’ve never thought of making chilli with pork though – what a great idea and a nice change. I’m defintiely going to try this. Thank you!

    • Worcestershire sauce is a staple in my refrigerator! My son loves it, pretty much demands it when we have steak or burgers. I can’t imagine the complaining I’d have to deal with if I didn’t have it.. lol.. I can’t say I blame him.. It really does bring a wonderful flavor to everything.
      Let me know what you think when you make it!
      Thanks so much for stopping by! 🙂

  4. So jealous you have a cabin!!! I want one so badly. That kitchen is just perfect. So cozy 🙂 I wish I had a carpenter hubby…it would save us so much money on our house renovation, haha.
    Wow, this chili looks awesome and I love that you serve it with polenta chunks. Yum!!!

    • Haha…Amy! Have you heard that saying that a cobblers children have no shoes, or something like that? Well, it’s kind of true with a carpenter’s house!! He works all day in construction, so the last thing that he wants to do is more construction after he gets home! Believe me, it doesn’t save money on renovations, if anything, it costs more, because he tends to have an “eye” for any imperfection. Or what he seems to think is an imperfection, and I don’t see anything at all! What might start out as a simple dry wall job, usually ends up being this whole makeover. Which then begins the vicious cycle of him not wanting to work on it when he gets home, because that’s what he did all day!! Lol..

      Having said that, the cabin was more of a fun thing for him…on the weekends, and basically something that he really really wanted. It really is cozy, and I’m happy that we have a nice place to go to. Before this cabin, it was a one room shack with an outhouse, and I just plain refused to go! It’s been a long time coming…and it’s nice to finally have a little “get away”. I really do love it there. 🙂

  5. You definitely have a talented husband! My hubby is a bricklayer (well, he was… he changed careers a few years ago) so he could probably build a brick one but definitely not a wood one! You’re a wonderful writer Prudy. This is my first visit to your blog and I’ve enjoyed every word… it’s been nice to read about your cabin adventures and the very real frustrations that come with life, ‘not cooking’, food cravings and tunnel vision, ha! I am the same. Several foods become an obsession for a while and then I move on to the next one 🙂 I guess it’s part of what makes us passionate foodies! Thanks for sharing this lovely recipe. Can’t wait to read the rest of your archives! xx

    • Thank you so much for your kind words, Laura! I have to say that I just stopped by your blog, and let me just say… “Like, how adorable are you?” I truly enjoyed reading about you, and I can’t wait to sit this weekend, and get into your archives. And let’s talk about those raspberry muffins! Just lovely… It’s very nice to meet you, and thank you so much for stopping by! ❤

  6. Pingback: Have A Package Of Ground Beef ? | jovinacooksitalian

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