Olé, Posole!

I wish you could smell this burbling cauldron of Posole. Succulent pork bites, onions, and assorted peppers all melding together in a spicy sauce heady with chilies, garlic, oregano and cumin. Shades of chili con carne, no beans! It’s almost time to add the pièce de résistance: hominy, and perhaps later a light sprinkling of cornmeal for extra thickening.
Simmer away my beauty: a tour de force worthy of Super Bowl Sunday or any other spectacular occasion!

For me, it’s all about the hominy aka posole or pozole – there’s something here that pushes my buttons. From the nutrition angle it’s sadly lacking: corn kernels that have been stripped of their bran and germ.

Hominy is addictive, while living in South Carolina I couldn’t get enough of it. Grits, or ground hominy, is standard fare there – at breakfast, lunch or dinner it’s used very similar to potatoes. In a sense, hominy plays well with others. It’s compatible, durable, has its own strength and character, but does not dominate.

I’ll let the Posole rest overnight. As with many hearty dishes, it’s even better the next day. Then, I’ll have plenty of time to set out a selection of toppings for dressing up the Posole according to personal whim and fancy.

There will be chopped tomato, green onion, cilantro, some avocado or guacamole, grated cheese and lime wedges to perk it up, and my old standby, Cabbage Salsa. Of course there will be chips and salsa and flour tortillas for ripping and wrapping. Oh, zippity do dah!

Red Chile and Pork Posole1 cup water, boiling
4 dried chilies, pasillo, jalapeno, ancho any combo
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, more if needed
3 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut – into 2″ cubes, or tenderloin
4 c hominy , yellow or white, two 16 oz cans drained, rinsed
1 medium onion, cut into small chunks
1 small anaheim chili pepper, cut up
2 tablespoons cornmeal, optional
1 1/2 cups shredded lettuce, or Cabbage Salsa (see Condiments)
3/4 cup sliced radishes
3/4 cup sliced green onions
1 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

Combine the boiling water and chilies and allow to soften about 20 minutes. Reserve the soaking liquid. Stem and seed the chilies. In a blender or food processor, puree them with the reserved soaking liquid along with garlic, oregano and cumin, salt.

In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately-high heat. Add the pork and cook until it begins to brown. Add onion and 1 or more anaheim or any other pepper type preferred. Stir in the chile puree and water to barely cover. Bring to a simmer over moderately-high heat, reduce the heat and cook at a bare simmer, partially covered, until the meat is falling-apart tender, 1-3 hours, depending on cut. Half way through cooking process add hominy. If desired thicken with cornmeal if desired, stir occasionally to avoid burning.

To serve: Ladle Posole into bowls and offer accompaniments.
Offer toppings: Cabbage Salsa or shredded lettuce, sliced radishes, sliced green onions, tomato, cilantro, lime wedges, avocado, grated jack cheese. Serves 6 ~~

Note: substitute equal amount of fresh chicken pieces and cook until tender

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