Sunday, April 12, 2009

Posole


Mom's posole all dressed up with shredded cabbage, radish, onions, cilantro and lime.

There are a few dishes that both my parents make where I definitely, on the downlow, prefer my mother's version hands down. Unfortunately for us kids, neither mom or dad ever write their recipes down. And like most recipes passed down from generation to generation, a lot of our family staple meals were made from learned recipes and never measured. It's a palmful of this, a pinch of that to taste, a teacup of that... all feel and guestimations. But mom's was always consistently spot on! And this is basically her recipe (as much as I can "guess"! LOL). When it's cold and breezey and sprinkley, this is the soup I crave with corn tortillas fresh from the tortillaria. 

Posole (or Pozole) is a peasant dish from Mexico traditionally made with pork neck bones, chili and hominy (dried maize – or corn – that has been treated with an alkali making it not only more digestible but significantly increases the nutrient value of untreated corn). If however, your local ethnic grocery store doesn't have neck bones, you can easily substitute it with a cubed pork roast or my preference, country style pork ribs (bone-in). 

I made this soup for lunch during our tamalada and it was a huge hit. At that time I made enough to nearly feed an army. This is a much more scaled down version but still enough to feed about 8 -10 people as an entrée. As with most soups and stews, flavors will concentrate overnight making this a great budget-conscious recipe as the leftovers can easily be frozen or saved for lunch the next day.



Posole - unadorned - nice and steaming! Yum!

POSOLE
2 pounds pork neck bones
2 pounds country style pork ribs (w/bone), cut into large pieces
48 oz prepared chicken stock (I prefer to make my own but when I'm feeling lazy I use Progresso)
1/4 cup ground California chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 to 3 tbs, or to taste, Knorr's chicken bouillon
2 (12 oz) cans of hominy

In an 8 quart stock pot, add first 6 ingredients starting off with only 2 tbs of the bouillon. Simmer on medium to low flame for an hour, occasionally skimming off any foam or fat off the top. After the first hour, taste the broth adding more bouillon or chili to taste. Continue simmering on low for another hour and a half. Add the hominy and simmer an additional half hour to 45 minutes. Meat will be falling off the bone when ready. 

Serve with any combination of the recommended condiments. Some people like to add the oregano in the cooking process. Our family preferred to add it last over the condiments to preserve the oregano taste. I find it gets lost when adding it to the soup too early but if you aren't particularly fond of oregano as my family is, I do suggest adding it during the cooking process. About a palmful. :)

CONDIMENTS:
shredded cabbage
sliced radishes
chopped white or spanish onions
lime or lemon wedges
chopped cilantro
diced avocados
dried oregano

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