is good, real good — It will cure what ails you. The chiles will kick a cold right out of your head and the whole mess might even get you past the wintertime blues, at least while you are eating it. I made some of this yummy Mexican soup this weekend to help get us through my son's birthday party, which included a day at the amusement park and lots of sugary treats. Posole is a comforting food, a grounding food
Kids whacked out on sugar
Parents chaperoning a wild kid-party need it.
Now, I know you can make posole with canned hominy — I've tried this, but, it is not the same as making it from scratch. For better texture, appearance, mouth-feel, and taste you need to use the dried dent corn called maize blanco
. When you buy maize blanco you also need to get some lime, not limes
, but lime
, called cal
in Spanish — this stuff helps take the hull off of the corn. Here
are some detailed instructions for cooking the corn with the lime. The way I did it was to boil a big pot of water, add three rough tablespoons of cal
, stir till dissolved, add about 2 lbs of maize blanco
. I boiled it until I could see the hull starting to soften and slough off. Then I dumped the corn into my sink colander and rinsed with water while stirring. The yellowish hulls wash off pretty easily. At this point you can add the corn to your soup-in-progress, but, if you want the corn to cook faster and "popcorn," or flower, then you will need to remove the little brown pointy part of the kernel, it's called de-heading. You can either pick it off with a thumbnail or slice it off with a knife. It took me about an hour and a half to do two pounds of corn with my kids "helping me." Two pounds of corn was enough to make two large pots of soup.
The rest of the soup is pretty easy and there are many variations. I make it a little different each time, always with satisfying results. Here is the ingredient list from my last batch of posole.
Dried hominy (maize blanco)
Slaked lime (cal, for preparation of the corn)
Pork shoulder roast (in the past I've used pork butt and/or chicken)
Mixed dried chiles (New Mex, Negro, California or whatever you like)
Tomatoes (I used a small can of diced)
Chicken broth (I like Pacific organic with salt)
Cabbage (thinly sliced)
Monterey Jack (grated)
Cilantro (picked of stems)
Radishes (thinly sliced)
Tortilla chips (homemade is a must)
While prepping the corn get the meat cooking since it's a tough cut that needs a long, slow cooking (like two or three hours) to tenderize it. In the large soup pot start with a couple tablespoons of olive oil, adding a diced onion when the oil is hot. Cook awhile till the onions soften up, then add the pork roast cut up into large chucks, about 3 inches cubed. Brown the meat if you can, or not, either is good. Throw in some minced garlic, stir, and let it cook a couple minutes. Add a box of chicken broth and/or some water. A few bay leaves and some Mexican oregano can go in now.
Heat a cast iron skillet and add the chiles turning them to warm them. I forget why I do this — I think it softens them. I didn't want too spicy a soup this time so I pulled off the stem ends and tried to remove most of the seeds. I then put about six or seven chiles into the blender with some water to make a basic chile paste. I've made more elaborate mixtures before, but this worked fine.
Add the chile paste to the soup and a can of fresh tomatoes if you wish. I think the tomatoes are not authentic to posole, but I like the depth of flavor they add. When you are done with the corn add it to the soup. If it looks like you need some more liquid add water or broth. When the corn has cooked an hour or you can add some salt. Keep tasting it and adjusting the flavors to your liking. Sometimes I make mine spicy hot and sometimes mild. j
Top with your favorite toppings from the list above. You must make your own tortilla chips to make this a truly scrumptious soup. Just cut up corn tortillas and fry them up in a pan, add salt, and then hide till dinnertime because they will get eaten up otherwise.
P.S. I forgot to mention that the whole process takes a good 3 to 4 hours, but it's worth it. While you are at it you might as well make a lot and freeze some.
Labels: food, I *heart*