Posole is for lovers

Posole is for lovers of delicious brothy soups. This amazing amalgam of hominy, red chile, beef or pork (or not), and all the aromatics (lime, oregano, cilantro, red chile flakes, onion…) is in the class of soups where pho, brodo, and other liquid cure-alls live. It is the soup that I turn to when I need to feel grounded, loved and confident in the kitchen. It’s a celebration food – usually prepared on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day, but since I love to celebrate my food traditions ALL THE TIME, this is an anything goes food for me!

It will nourish you, warm you and give you life – as I like to say, eating this is like getting a hug on the inside. If you are feeling ambitious, make a batch of flour or corn tortillas to have with this bowl of goodness. Enjoy!

Posole, serves 8

  • 1 pound dried prepared hominy (get at Rancho Gordo)
  • OR if you can’t get the dried stuff, 2 cans hominy
  • 2 dozen dried, red New Mexican chiles
  • 1 pound beef shank, t-bone or chuck (if using)
  • 2 cups chile rojo
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • veggie stock
  • potlikker from meat braise (if using)
  • dried Mexican oregano
  • cilantro (for garnish)
  • red pepper flakes (for garnish)
  • chopped onions or scallions (for garnish)

This is a multi-step process that requires some planning ahead of time:

  1. Soak the hominy overnight, and then drain and boil in new water for 1 hour or until soft. Drain and reserve.
  2. Make the chile rojo:
    1. Heat oven to low broil
    2. Wipe all the dust off the red chile pods.
    3. Tear all chile pods and remove stems and seeds.
    4. Tear pods into 1-2″ pieces and spread on a baking sheet
    5. Toast chile under broiler with the oven door open – DO NOT CLOSE, and DO NOT WALK AWAY! Toasting is a very fast process that can result in burning if you are not careful. The chile pods will start to curl as they toast, stir often so that they don’t get burnt. Pull the baking sheet of chile out just before they start to smoke, and as they start to smell fragrant. 
    6. Toss toasted chiles into a large heatproof bowl and add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and a large pinch of salt. Cover with hot tap water (1-2 quarts) and let soak for 20 minutes. Work on the meat while waiting.
    7. When the 20 minutes are up, blend the chile/garlic/water/salt mixture in a blender until smooth.
    8. Strain chile through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, while using a spatula to press out the chile from the solids. Chile is done!
  3. Chile braise the beef or pork if using:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. In an oven-proof dutch oven, add a glug of oil to pan and heat on high until just about smoking. 
    3. Season whole cut of meat with salt and pepper on both sides, then add to pan, whole, and sear. Add 1 cup of rojo to the pan, 1 quartered onion, 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano, 2 whole peeled garlic cloves, and add water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil.
    4. Once pan is boiling, move to the oven still covered and set timer to 1 hour.
    5. Check meat every hour until it is fall-apart tender. 
    6. Move meat to a plate to cool. Shred when cooled, reserve.
    7. Take potlikker and pass through a sieve, reserve.
  4. Put it all together!
    1. In a large heavy-bottomed pan, add olive oil and heat on medium high heat.
    2. Add 2 chopped onions, and 3 cloves chopped garlic. Cook until softened. 
    3. Add 1 tsp. dried Mexican oregano and add 1 tsp. dried red chile flakes to the pot – stir until blended. 
    4. Add cooked hominy, meat and potlikker (if using), veggie stock, 2 cups of chile rojo, and water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Prepare toppings while posole is cooking down.
    5. Serve when you can’t stand it any longer! In a soup bowl, add posole, and top with some chopped onions, cilantro, oregano flakes, red pepper flakes, and a squueze of lime juice! 
    6. Enjoy with warm flour or corn tortillas!

Chiles ready for toasting!

Posole ingredients ready for assembling!

Bowl of posole with toppings!


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