Maui Chili

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Back in 2006, Bill and I scraped and saved enough frequent flyer miles and Hilton Points to go to Hawaii.  Over the years, with 7 kids, adult vacations were fairly few and far between.  Bill’s sister Cindy used to come stay with the kids, but it usually took her about 2-3 years to recover before we could ask her again.  We will forever be grateful to her because she most literally saved our lives!  These little trips were just what the doctor ordered…rest, relaxation and the opportunity to re-group (and recommit to being a parent)!

While we were on the island of Maui, we ate lots of fresh pineapple!  I decided it would be fun to keep the “aloha spirit” alive by creating some recipes using this amazing fruit.  In fact, on the way home I conjured up “Maui Chili” in my head…complete with pork, white beans, green bell peppers and pineapple.  I know, it seems a little strange, but I promise, it tastes really good.  I even entered it into our annual chili cook-off at church and actually won!  I’ll never forget the red-pepper hot pads I got and my 2 minutes of Chili Cook-off fame!

I hope you enjoy Maui Chili as much as I enjoyed creating it!

Maui Chili

  • 1 bag dry white beans or 6-8 cans white beans
  • 2 onions*
  • 2 cloves of garlic*
  • 2-3 lbs pork (chops, loin, roast-whatever you like)
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 can diced green chili (4 oz)
  • 1 can chicken broth (14 oz)
  • 1 jar Salsa Verde (16 oz)
  • 1 can “Embasa” Salsa Verde (7 oz)-in addition to the jar above
  • 1 can “Herdez” Salsa Ranchera (7 oz)-this is the “heat” for the chili; add to taste
  • Salt, pepper, garlic granules and onion powder to taste (start with 1 tsp of each)
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 2 cans pineapple slices (20 oz each)
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Cilantro (washed, dried and chopped) for garnish

If using dry white beans, prepare them according to the package directions, including the quick soak method.  This is a great option because the bag of beans only costs about $1.37 compared to the cans which are about $.79 each x 6-8 cans.  Add a chopped onion and clove of garlic to the water when cooking the beans.  Make sure to cook them until tender, which turns out to be longer than what the package suggests.  *If using canned beans, drain them and omit the extra onion and garlic.

While the beans are cooking, set your crock-pot to “high”.  (Note: You can probably just throw the bag of beans in with the pork.  I’ve never tried it this way, but I’m sure it would work just fine.  Let me know and I’ll just change the recipe!)  Season the pork with a little salt and pepper.  Place pork in the bottom of the crock-pot.  Saute the onion and bell peppers until tender.  Pour this mixture over the pork.  Add the can of diced green chili, the jar of Salsa Verde, the can of Salsa Verde, the can of chicken broth and 3 bay leaves; no need to mix, just throw it all in on top of the meat.  Cover the crock-pot and cook for 3-4 hours or until the pork is tender and able to be shredded with a fork.  Shred or chop the meat at this point.

Prepare the pineapple by frying it in a pan sprayed with Pam.  This brings out the natural sugar in the pineapple and gives it a nice carmelized flavor.  Cut slices into pieces.  At this point, your beans should be cooked.  Drain the beans and add them to the crock-pot, mixing with the shredded meat.  Add ½ of the 7 oz can of Embasa Salsa Ranchera (or as much as you prefer for heat), the pineapple, can of Herdez Salsa Verde.  Adjust seasonings to taste.  Cook the chili for an additional 2 hours just to meld the flavors.  Add the evaporated milk and brown sugar.  You can add these anytime, but I added just before serving to adjust the heat and make the chili creamy and slightly sweet.  Serve with chopped cilantro.

Liz Note #1:  I get all of the items in this recipe at the grocery store.  The Embasa and Herdez brands are available in the Mexican Food section at Smith’s here in Utah.  If that’s too much to worry about, just use the Salsa Verde and add heat with fresh chili peppers, chili flakes, cayenne pepper, chili powder or whatever you have on hand!  These just happen to taste really good and are worth the extra effort (in my opinion)!

Liz Note #2:  Oh, an one more thing…my husband and son do not like beans at all.  Not even slightly…which makes me kind of sad because I love beans.  In order to get them to eat this chili, I used fresh corn in place of the beans and it tasted really good!  If your family hates beans, this gives you a great alternative.

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