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Playing Chili Tamale Bowls


  • 3 Ancho chili peppers, seeds and stems removed
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin, a palmful
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon smoked sweet paprika
  • 2 pinches cinnamon
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup lager beer
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup quick cooking polenta
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 rounded tablespoon honey or agave syrup
  • 2 cups shredded Pepper Jack or other soft melting cheese
  • Toppings, such as wedges of lime, fresh chopped cilantro, thinly sliced scallions


Serves: 4



Place anchos in a pot and cover with about 2 1/2 cups stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer to soften peppers, 7 to 8 minutes.


Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add pork and brown meat, breaking into small pieces. Season the meat with cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, cloves, salt and pepper. Add onions and garlic to meat and cook to tender 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, incorporate it and then add beer to the pan.


Pure the stock and softened anchos, then stir into chili. Reduce heat under chili to low.


Bring remaining 1 1/2 cups of stock and milk to a boil then whisk in polenta and whisk about 2 to 3 minutes to thicken. Stir in butter and honey and season the polenta with salt and pepper to taste.


Pour polenta into individual bowl and form a well in the center. Fill polenta lined bowls with chili and top with shredded cheese. Serve with lime wedges to squeeze over top of tamale bowls and garnish with scallions and cilantro, optional.