At Knit Night a few weeks ago, right before the holidays, we were talking about comfort foods. Food you crave when you’ve got the ick. She had just gotten over the piggy ick (aka the hiney flu) and said she had been craving her cousin’s posole. The Mexican stew with hominy and hunks of meat is both hearty and soothing (at least in our opinion). Neither of us had a good recipe to follow that wouldn’t take a full day if not more than one.
My grandmother’s posole is made from scratch. Meaning she used homemade stock and her chile sauce was made from dried whole chiles smoked, soaked and pulverized with spices. It is pretty darn fabulous, and I don’t even want to try to replicate it. Plus, a full day? I can think of at least 3 reasons I can’t dedicate a full day to making stew.
1. I work outside the home and when I’ve got a full free day I like to relax a bit.
2. I’d rather be Knitting
3. I’d really rather be Knitting
Anyway, I haven’t been able to get the idea of a quick posole out of my head. This was my first attempt and I’m pretty darn happy with the results. This time I used country style pork ribs for the meat and trimmed them of fat. I think I could use another cut of pork. I chose the ribs because they were already partially cut (see how I cheat). Also the chile sauce (canned) to stock (also canned) ratio made it a very deep red and heavily chile flavored. Some people might prefer a lighter (more stock) flavor.
For me this did the trick – comforting and slightly spicy (helps clear the sinuses you know) and I still had time to knit that evening.
Cheater’s Posole : Serves 8 (or 2 people for a couple of nights for dinner with some saved for later in the freezer)
Canned chicken stock – 5 cups
Canned Red Chile Sauce – 1 28oz can (I use Las Palmas brand)
Canned White Hominy – 1 29oz can (I used Teasdale brand)
3 lbs pork cut into 1.5 inch cubes (really I just cut the ribs into chunks and trimmed the fat)
2 small white onions (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (minced or smashed whatever’s easiest for you)
Dried oregano -1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds -1 teaspoon
salt -1 teaspoon
Big pot with heavy bottom.
Cut up your pork and put it in the bottom of the pot. If possible spread out the meat so it all touches the bottom. Add 1 cup of stock to meat and put it over medium high heat. Leave it uncovered and let it cook for about 15 minutes. While the meat starts cooking prepare your onions, garlic and spices. (Just put them all together in a bowl so it is easy to toss the lot into the pot when needed.) Drain and rinse the hominy and fluff with fork (sometimes a few kernels stick together). If you want at this point you can open the can of chile sauce.
Check the pot – is there still stock in there? It needs to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the meat starts to brown. If you’re done with everything, knit a few rows while you’re waiting.
Once the meat starts to brown and release itself from the bottom of the pot, dump in the bowl of onions, garlic and spices. Give the lot a good stir to get the onions etc. all coated with the brown goodness and let the onions soften just a little (about 2 min.)
Now add the can of chile sauce, and the remaining 4 cups of stock. Stir, turn down the heat to low, cover and let simmer about 20 minutes stirring occasionally.
Posole is often served with condiments such as lemon (a must for me), extra dried oregano, and sliced lettuce. I’ve heard of people adding avocado, radish greens, chopped raw onions – it really just depends on what you grew up with or where the recipe comes from.
I like mine with lemon and lechuga (lettuce) and with a side of nice toasty warm tortillas.