Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday Meal: Red Chile Posole

Posted By on December 29, 2014, 6:45 AM

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During the Christmas holiday season in New Mexico, a southwestern hominy stew called posole (or pozole) is a popular celebratory meal. Of course, I like it anytime. Probably the best posole I've ever tasted was at Hell's Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah. Co-owner Jen Castle grew up in New Mexico and knows a thing or two about posole! 

While mine doesn't compare with Jen's, I think my posole is pretty darn good. There are few things I like better than a warming bowl of posole on a chilly winter day. 

I use pork as the main protein in my posole, which is traditional. However, you could substitute beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, goat, or even veggies or tofu. I was at a restaurant recently where shrimp were incorporated into the posole. 

Note that the cooking time for this recipe is about 4-5 hours. However, most of that time is unattended. 

Ingredients: 

5-6 dried chiles ancho, pasilla, poblano, or guajillo, or a combination of those

3/4 cup dried chiles de arbol

6 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed

Kosher salt

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 Tbs. canola or vegetable oil

1 white onion, peeled and minced

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. boneless pork loin or shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and silverskin and cut in half lengthwise

8 cups chicken broth, preferably low-sodium

1 bay leaf

1 Tbs. dried Mexican oregano

2 x 15 oz. or 1 x 30 oz. can of white hominy

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Method: 

First you'll make the red chile base for the posole.

Break the stems off of the dried chiles and shake out and discard as many seeds as possible.

Bring a saucepan with enough water to cover the dried chiles to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the dried chiles to the hot water to soak. I place a saucer or pot lid smaller than the saucepan on top of the chiles to keep them submerged in the water. 

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Soak the chiles until soft, about a half and hour. 

Put the softened chiles, along with 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid and 1/2 tsp. salt into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and there are no large chunks of chile left. 

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Using a sieve, strain the chile sauce into a bowl. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to push the sauce through the sieve and discard the solids. 

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Rub the pork on all sides with 1/2 tsp. salt and the ground cumin. 

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Heat the cooking oil in a large Dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat. 

Add the onion and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 3-4 minutes.

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Push the onions to one side of the Dutch oven and add the pork pieces. Brown the pork on all sides, about five minutes.

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Add the chicken broth, 2 cups of water, the bay leaf, oregano, and 3/4 cups of the chile sauce to the pot and give it a good stir.  

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Cook at a simmer, partially covered, turning the pork occasionally, until the pork is tender, about 3 hours. 

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Add the hominy to the Dutch oven and stir. Continue to simmer for another hour. 

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At this point, the pork should be almost falling apart. 

Remove and discard the bay leaf. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and roughly chop or shred it. 

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Return the pork to the pot. If the posole is too thick, add a little water.
 
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Taste and season with additional salt, if needed. 

Posole is traditionally served with warm tortillas, shredded cabbage, minced onion, sliced radishes, diced avocado, additional oregano, and fresh cilantro, for topping. 

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Photos by Ted Scheffler




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