Pork, Buttercup Squash and Chard Chili

from Eggs on Sunday

2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt, pepper
1 pound pork stew meat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces brown ale
2 cups chicken stock
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 cup black beans*
1 buttercup squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks (you could substitute another kind of winter squash, if you like)
1 cup corn kernels (optional)
1 small bunch swiss chard, stems removed and leaves chopped into bite-sized pieces

In a medium bowl, mix together the cumin, chili powder, coriander, and smoked paprika. Add the cubes of stew pork and toss them well in the spice mixture. Season well with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, and toss again, rubbing the spices into the meat.

Heat a large heavy pot over medium-high heat, then add the olive oil - it should shimmer. Add the cubes of stew pork and let them get nice and browned on all sides. Don’t be impatient — you want them to get a nice brown crust! Once all the cubes of pork have been browned, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside (you can just keep them on a plate to the side of the stove.)

Add the onion and garlic to the pot, and cook them over medium heat until they soften and become translucent. Don’t turn the heat on the pot up too high, or the nice brown fond that’s developed on the bottom from browning the meat will burn. When the onions have softened, add the ale and use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits up from the bottom of the pot.

Return the pork to the pot, and add the chicken stock and diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 1 hour (*note: if you are using dried beans that have been soaked overnight, add them now, with the pork.)

Add the butternut squash cubes to the pot, and cook for another 20 minutes. (*note: if you are using canned beans that are already cooked, you can add them at this point, with the squash cubes.)

Finally, add the chopped swiss chard and corn kernels, if you’re using. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the chard is bright green and wilted. Taste the chili and season with more salt or pepper as needed.