Pork and White Bean Chili

6 Nov

It is hard, as a writer, to not get too…preachy. Or to ramble. Or be boring. Three things that are more difficult than you might  think. And for the most part, I believe that I succeed at being none of those things in my writing as long as…well, as long as I am not writing about anything too serious. I can write about my kids or my garden or my small town without too much stress. It’s easy to throw together a couple hundred words about whatever happens to be passing through my brain. But this post is different.

I must have written this post a half dozen times and erased every word because it was one, or all, of the things that I just mentioned. The reason I am having such a tough time is because that this is one post that I feel pretty strongly about. And I talk about this a lot with my friends and family ( and I’m sure they are sick of it). The thing that I feel pretty strongly about is simply – Food.

I feel like there is a huge disconnect in this nation between man and the food that they put in their mouths. The general population that surrounds me only thinks of food as a means to an end. In the words of my brother, food is just there to “make a turd” ( if you think that is shocking you should hear our other conversations). It bothers me that parents aren’t more concerned about making meals for their families that don’t have weird chemicals and hormones in them. It troubles me when I see a 300 pound woman walking through the grocery loading up with sodas, Little Debbies, and frozen pizzas all while yelling at her 4 year old who is bouncing off the ceiling while drinking a Diet Mountain Dew. I wonder where choices like that are going to take us as a nation.

Of course, I live way out in the country where the local Farmer’s Market can barely survive because many folks have their own garden, chickens and cows. Where a small population means the selection at any store is, at best, limited. And the people here are poor. The average income is well under $30k so that means a lot of people here are on food stamps. And I understand that processed and prepackaged foods are just plain cheap and whether or not there is any nutritional value there at least you aren’t going hungry.

But I have to wonder, how much of people eating the crap that huge corporations are pumping out is need, apathy, or just plain ‘ol ignorance. Is it not common sense to cook real food? I’m not talking “organic” this or “naturally grown” that ( although those are all good things) I’m talking being able to identify everything in your cart with one name; carrot, beans, flour, chicken, milk, etc. Instead of potato spuds, Hamburger Helper, Freschetta frozen pizza, Tyson chicken nuggets, etc.

I think people believe that cooking from scratch is hard or somehow so time consuming that you might as well pull out the cow’s head and the wood-fired oven. I recently taught a cooking class with some simple dishes; Butternut Squash soup, Foccacia bread, Braised beef and baked apples. I stood in front of the small gathering of “students” and showed them how to make good, simple, and real food. The reactions were mixed. Many were stunned that good cooking was so easy, a few were skeptical, “who makes there own bread?”. Hopefully though, those few students saw that cooking from scratch is easy and delicious.

And I hope that you also see that cooking wholesome homemade food is the best way to go. Homemade doesn’t have to be an “elite” food. Homemade can be what you make it. It can be cheap. It can be creative. It is certainly delicious.

A pork butt and a bag of beans can ( and probably will) feed you all week. I recommend starting this recipe with leftover smoked pork (made in the smoker/crock pot/oven)  and a bag of dry Northern beans. A little extra planning on the weekend can make your weeknights super easy.

Pork and White Bean Chili


    For Beans:
  • 3 cups dry white beans
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • For Soup:
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-5 cups chicken broth
  • 2- (4 oz.) cans diced green chilies
  • 1 T. ground cumin
  • 1 t. oregano
  • pinch of red pepper
  • 2 cups cooked shredded pork ( or chicken!)
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toppings:
  • sour cream
  • cheddar
  • diced jalapeno
  • chopped cilantro


  1. Rinse and sort beans. Place them in a large pot, cover with water and soak overnight ( or do the quick soak method: Cover with water, bring to a boil, remove from heat and let stand for 2 hours covered). Drain the beans, and return to the large pot. Add one quart of chicken stock, bacon and quartered onion to the pot. Add water until the beans are covered by 2 inches. Heat the beans to boiling, then reduce and simmer for 1-2 hours or until the beans are tender. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Saute onion and garlic until onion is tender. Drain the beans and add to the pot with the broth, diced chilies, cumin, oregano, and red pepper. Bring to boiling and simmer for 20 minutes. Mash beans slightly to thicken soup. Add the pork and chopped cilantro. Check seasonings. Top with sour cream, cilantro, cheese, and jalapeno. Serve and enjoy!

P.S. You can find this recipe on Shine! Yahoo’s Supper Club! I would love your vote!

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28 Responses to “Pork and White Bean Chili”

  1. Daria November 7, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    Cooking from scratch is healthier, can be cheaper, and more importantly tastes better!

    Obviously you are preaching to the choir but it is still important to talk about.

    • jodiemo November 7, 2012 at 8:19 am #

      You are right Daria! I am absolutely preaching to the choir, but it’s the only soapbox I’ve got. :) Great to see you around!!

  2. Sarah | Shine Food November 8, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    I hear you on many of these points. It is hard to write about big topics without feeling preachy, and I wish everyone knew how simple and economical it can be to cook good, healthy food at home. It’s a lesson I learned unequivocally when I was on unemployment for a year.

    This recipe would make a great contribution to this month’s Shine Supper Club. Our theme is one-pot meals. I hope you’ll join us!

    • jodiemo November 8, 2012 at 11:41 am #

      Thanks Sarah! I added the recipe to the contest!! I’m crossing my fingers! – Jodie

  3. Melissa November 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    Hi there! I am a first time reader, but I love what you are doing here. Question: How do you cook and shred your pork for this recipe?

    • jodiemo November 9, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

      Hi Melissa!! Thank you for stopping by! I am lucky enough to be surrounded by a lot of men who like to smoke meat, so this particular pork is basically BBQ without the sauce and seasoning. You can use any kind of pulled pork, I have recipe on how to easily smoke your own if you want here (no fancy smoker required). Or you could cook a small Boston Butt either in the oven or crock pot. We like to make pulled pork sandwiches one night, then use leftovers for tacos, casseroles, nachos, and chili for the rest of the week! Or, if you don’t want to do that, pick up some pulled pork from your local BBQ joint without sauce or seasoning and use that. Chicken works great too!

  4. Carrie November 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    Absolutely gorgeous chili. It looks so heartwarming and delicious.

    And I completely agree with you on homemade foods. I’m going to be sure to teach my boy the importance of food and family :)

  5. Rosemary November 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Just made this chili with chicken and it was DELICIOUS! Just wondering how long in the refrigerator you think it will last?? And if I could freeze extras?
    Thank you!

    • jodiemo November 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

      Hi Rosemary!! I’m so glad you gave it a try and I’m so happy you loved it! In the fridge this will hold for about 4-5 days. It will freeze before adding toppings of course.

  6. Carol November 12, 2012 at 4:42 am #

    This sounds so good, but hate to admit after 50 years of cooking, not experienced with cooking pork butt and your recipe doesn’t say how you prepare it. Roast? Slow? Crock Pot? Pork is fairly bland, spices/seasoning? Suggestions? nThx!

    • jodiemo November 12, 2012 at 8:19 am #

      Hi Carol!
      Any of those methods will work! For this recipe, this was leftover smoked pork that we had made BBQ sandwiches out of. Seasonings are up to you, although seasoning salt or BBQ rub are fine to season the meat with before cooking. I’ll post a link to a easy way to smoke a pork butt, but crock pot or oven is fine too! You can also use chicken. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Melissa November 27, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Wonderful recipe! We had this last night, I used 2 small cans of white beans drained and rinsed, to make it more weeknight friendly. I had made a pork roast this weekend and used the leftovers. Quick/Cheap/Easy/Delicious! It will be becomepart of our usual rotation! Thanks!

    • jodiemo November 27, 2012 at 10:32 am #

      That is fantastic!! Thanks for giving it a try!!

  8. Michelle January 28, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    This is likely a foolish question but did you cook the bacon before putting it in the pot with the beans?

    Btw – the best way i have found to make pulled pork is to put it in the crockpot in the morning with some onions and some carbonated soda (not too much). Cooks up wonderfully.

    • jodiemo January 28, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

      Great question!! I don’t. Since the bacon is there for flavor I put it in raw with the beans and then cook. I take it out before serving. Great suggestion in the crock pot pork too!! Thanks!!

  9. Aleasha February 28, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    This looks so yummy! Can’t wait to try this out for dinner tomorrow night. All I did was search pork and white bean soup, and your blog popped up. I’ve only started skimming through your recipes and I’m already jonesing to try them all out! I’ll be sure to give you some great feedback!!

    Have a great day,


    • jodiemo February 28, 2013 at 9:11 am #

      I’m so glad you found me! I hope you enjoy and if you have any questions just let me know!

  10. kitten March 11, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    You know, I was really stoked about this recipe until I read the copy above and noticed your fat shaming, judgmental comments about overweight women. I’m a 300+ pound mostly vegetarian woman who eats from scratch regularly, who works out at the gym, but who also buys the occasional frozen pizza or twelve pack of diet soda to get me through grad school. Who are you to judge? You don’t know anything about these women’s lives, their habits, or who is actually eating the food they buy. It’s people like you who make me feel mortified every time I purchase anything “unhealthy”–things you’d hardly recognize or scold a “normal” weight person for purchasing.

    • jodiemo March 11, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

      First of all, I would like to apologize for offending you. As a 200 pound woman, I understand about judgmental looks and stares when ever you order a cheeseburger or a milkshake. Weight is a struggle for most people, myself included.
      Second,I didn’t intend for the article to be about the evils of frozen pizza or the pitfalls of diet soda. The article was aimed at the people that I often see at my local small town grocery, who are obviously on food stamps, who’s carts are filled with a month’s worth of junk without so much as a bag of apples shoved in there. And I am not complaining about food stamps either. Not so long ago, I found myself seriously considering them for my family. This article is about those who choose to ignore not only their health but also the health of their children. People who think frozen pizza and diet soda is an every day dinner, whose children have no clue French fries come from a potato, those are the people I was referencing. Which is silly since people like that would never be looking at recipes online. This article is about my frustration with general society’s lack of responsibility about the health of future generations and how easy and affordable nutritious cooking can be.
      Lastly, I applaud you for eating real food, exercising and going through grad school all at the same time. I would be willing to bet that you are healthier than most of your college classmates. And again, I apologize for anything that offended, it certainly was not my intention.

    • Grumpy Cat February 5, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

      Sensitive much?
      Most of the rest of us got what she was talking about: cooking your own food can equal eating healthier.

      And frankly, I don’t really care about how “good” of a person you are, if you are 300+ pounds you are taking in way too many calories. period.
      On the other hand I don’t have to live with you.

  11. Cass March 29, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

    I just made this, and it is amazing! It tastes really good, I can’t wait for my husband to try it. I’ve never cooked dried beans in broth before, it really makes a diference. I’m 23, and a stay at home. I found your recipe when I was searching for dried bean recipes. I’m trying to get organized enough to where I can make more things at home, to save money and to cut down on processed foods. I honestly never thought about it much before, I didn’t realize you could make your own refried beans, or tortillas, or that cooking dried beans really wasn’t very hard. I have quite a lot of recipes now, and this one made it on my list! My daughter has severe nut/peanut allergies, egg allergies and is sensitive to lactose, so I already make all snacks and sweets from scratch. I always loved baking, and make scratch cakes, cookies pies etc. But cooking always scares me, because I can’t just toss stuff in a pan and hope for the best. I like the rigid rules of baking. But I’m learning and getting more confident, and finding great recipes like this help alot! (specially with a picky husband…lol) Thanks so much!

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  13. tarron February 6, 2014 at 2:19 am #

    I would just like to say if you feel so strongly about the obesity issue/unhealthy eating habits in your community, you should be a party of a healthy eating initiative in your county. Most counties are starting them up all around the country.

    In Escambia County Florida it is an initiative that runs Pitt of our health department. If you live out in the country, an initiative like that will probably be in your health department also our you could always drive to the next largest town. It just depends on how strongly you feel about the health of our nation as a whole. It Starts with every little county across the US.

    I encourage you to look in your community and see how you can help. You’re obviously a writer so why not help your county sweetie grants to get money to promote healthy eating in your area!! Just writing out on here for all of us foodies doesn’t change your home town county.
    Good luck!!

  14. tarron February 6, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    I also would like to say that your blog is great and i enjoyed reading it myself. I try to plan my meals and cook on Sundays so I really appreciate your recipes!!!

  15. Amber Pietan June 1, 2015 at 9:44 pm #

    How many does this cook for?

    • jodiemo June 1, 2015 at 9:53 pm #

      Enough for 6 maybe 8 people

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