Denver Chili

Rach made this chili for Super Bowl XLVIII (she always chooses recipes that reflect both teams) but you can cook it up for any game day party!


  • 2 teaspoons each coriander seed, cumin seed and fennel seed (if you use ground, add to recipe later with onions)
  • 1 boneless pork shoulder/Boston butt (3 pounds)
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons canola or olive oil, divided
  • 1 bottle lager (12 ounces), at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 6 tomatillos, peeled of paper skins or 1 14-ounce can tomatillo puree
  • 12 Hatch or Anaheim peppers, charred under broiler, cooled in a covered dish, then peeled and seeded
  • 2 large poblano peppers, charred, peeled and seeded
  • 4 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup charred frozen corn
  • 3 tablespoons masa harina (cornmeal) or 3 tablespoons flour, to thicken
  • 2 cups seeded and diced fresh tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • Lime wedges, sour cream and hot sauce, to pass at table
  • Optional toppers: Toasted pepitas, thin corn tortilla chips, pickled jalapeño pepper rings or fresh jalapeños thinly sliced, cilantro or parsley leaves, thinly sliced scallions, lime-pickled red onions with salt and pepper or minced raw red or yellow onions, crumbled queso fresco or shredded cheddar cheese


Pre-heat the oven to 325°F.

Toast the coriander, cumin and fennel seed in a small skillet over medium-low heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Grind in a spice mill. (Ground spices may be used as well, but if you have the seeds toasting them will make them even more nutty and smoky.)

Bring the pork to room temperature and pat dry; season with kosher salt and pepper. Heat a Dutch oven to medium-high with 2 tablespoons oil, two turns of the pan. When the oil smokes, add the meat and brown well all over. Add the beer and reduce a minute Drizzle in the honey; cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Roast for 2 1/2-3 hours until very tender.

Remove the meat to a shallow dish and shred meat with forks. Pour the pan juices over the meat; wipe the pot clean and return to the stove.

If using fresh tomatillos, char them under a broiler and puree; reserve.

Char the peppers and add to the food processor with 2 cups chicken stock, puree.

Add a tablespoon of oil to Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, ground spices, salt and pepper. Partially cover and cook for 7-8 minutes to soften the onion, stirring occasionally. If using flour, sprinkle over the onion and stir for a minute to cook it out. Add the tomatillo and chili purees, the remaining 2 cups of stock and the frozen corn; stir in the masa harina at this point, if using. Add the pork and pan juices, fresh tomatoes and season with salt, to taste. Simmer to thicken to your liking.

Serve the chili with wedges of lime and toppings of your choice.

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