Tony writes: In New England, the warmth of late summer abruptly transitions to butt-ass-cold autumn days. On my Sundays off, once I get scared off from the grill, I immediately turn to the oven or the slow-cooker or both. This chili is my belated realization of summer’s end. I wanted it to be braisy with chunks of pork and Anaheim chiles. But I also wanted get some smoky char on each (without venturing out to the grill). So I spiced the vegetables and pork, broiled them until they were kinda burnt, and then dumped everything in the slow cooker to do their thing. It was smoky and spicy and warming. Here’s how:
The Recipe: Serves 6-8 (or makes a lot of leftovers)
1. Prep and season the meat and vegetables: Cut 3 lb. boneless pork shoulder (aka “pork butt”) into 1-inch dice; trim and discard any large fatty patches as you go Slice 1 large red onion into 1/2-inch wedges and cut 3 Anaheim chiles into 1-inch segments (leave the seeds in).
2. Broil the pork, chiles and onions: Heat the broiler to high and set an oven rack about 6 inches away from the heating element. In a small bowl, mix 1 Tbs. granulated sugar, 2 tsp. ground cumin, 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 tsp. garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder. Sprinkle over the pork, toss well with 1 Tbs. olive oil and spread in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Set the peppers and onions on another baking sheet, drizzle with another 1 Tbs. olive oil and sprinkle generously with S+P. Alternately broil the pork and then the vegetables, shaking each pan as they broil, until meat and vegetables are browned, about 5 minutes each.
3. Add to slow cooker and press play: Transfer the pork and vegetables to a slow cooker along with 2 cups chicken broth (or water), a 15-oz can pinto beans (rinsed and drained), a 15-oz can cannellini beans (rinsed and drained), 2 Tbs. cider vinegar, 3 ea bay leaves and 1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried oregano). Set the slow cooker to 8 hours, cover, and cook. If you are around (and not at work), occasionally defat the broth while it cooks. If not, just do so when you get home.
4. Season, garnish, and serve: Season the broth with S+P to taste. Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with lime wedge, sliced radish and chopped fresh cilantro.