Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mexican Posole

I love Mexican food and anything with Mexican, Latin or Southwestern flavors and spices.  I have learned a lot about authentic Mexican food and Mexican recipes from coworkers and friends from Mexico over the years.  I have worked in schools with a significant Hispanic population (between 60-80%) over my 12 years as a school psychologist in the Denver area. 

I think my love of Mexican food began when I was a teenager and my preacher/evangelist grandfather would take me on mission trips to a small town across the border in Mexico (Piedras Negras) every Summer.  We would eat refried bean tacos for breakfast that the church ladies made and I even got to help out in the tamale making with the ladies down there.  I cherish all of my experiences with those warm and welcoming people! 

I wanted to try making Posole because, although I love Menudo, I have several friends who won’t eat tripe and I wanted to serve something similar to Menudo for get-togethers with friends.  This recipe is a combination of some recipes I came across on the internet and the various tips about cooking Posole that I have learned from my Hispanic friends over the years.  This recipe takes about 2 hours to make, total, but it is well worth the effort and your friends will come back for seconds and thirds!  The making of the pork broth in the beginning of the recipe is a critical step and the flavorful broth totally makes this dish!  I hope you enjoy it!  Cheers!

Ingredients for making the delicious broth:
1 1/2 lbs pork shoulder (I have even used bone-in pork chops or other pork cuts- not lean pork, it needs a little fat on it for flavor!)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Ingredients for the Posole:
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ white onion chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 tablespoons mild chili powder
1/2 tablespoon salt (be careful with the salt….add salt to your taste)
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 cup canned diced green chilies (or 5-6 diced fresh roasted green chilies)
*Fresh chilies are always better!
4 cups canned white hominy, drained and rinsed
3 -5 cups pork broth, from cooking pork shoulder (I add in some chicken broth if the pork broth doesn’t quite make enough)

First we make our pork broth!  Chop 1 white onion and peel and smash the garlic cloves.   Place the meat in a large saucepan and just cover with lightly salted water.
Add 1/2 chopped onion, the 2 cloves peeled and smashed garlic, pepper, cumin, and oregano.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, skim off any foam that rises, reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 45 minutes.
Remove meat and broth, reserving the delicious broth.

Saute the remaining ½ chopped onion and garlic in oil until translucent.
Add the remaining spices, stir for a minute.  Cut the reserved pork into 1 inch cubes and add to the pan.  Stir in the canned hominy, pork broth (if there is not enough pork broth, add chicken stock, I like to add it anyway for flavor, about 2 cups, eyeball the amount you like) and green chilies.
Cook at a simmer, covered, for 45 to 60 minutes until the meat and hominy are tender.
If necessary, cook on low for up to an additional 60 minutes until the chilies and onions are well blended into the broth………in my opinion, the longer it simmers, the better it tastes!  Skim the grease off the top of the stew, taste for salt, and serve in soup bowls.

This is a delicious recipe and well worth the effort to make!

Garnishes that are always served with Posole are as follows:
Chopped white onion
Dried Oregano
Lots of lime wedges – squeeze a wedge of lime or two in your individual serving before eating.  Don’t skip this part….the lime imparts a whole new flavor dimension! 
Red pepper flakes for extra heat if you like
Chopped cilantro
Fried corn tortillas or flour tortillas
Louisiana Hot Sauce – as you might have guessed, I add a few dashes of hot sauce to my bowl of Posole.  It’s slightly vinegary flavor is perfect in this!