Although winter officialy began on December 22nd, it’s finally in full force here in St. Louis … which means soups and stews are going to make their fair share of appearances on our dinner table each night. (Little known fact about The Chef and I … we love soup, stew, and chili any time of the year.)
One of our favorite stews is posole, a think, hearty Mexican dish traditionally made with hominy, meat (usually pork, though chicken, beef, or seafood posole may be found), chile peppers, Mexican oregano, and various garnishes. In Mexico (where it is spelled pozole), posole is one of the dishes typically served for New Year’s and other winter holidays.
A search of the Internet reveals a multitude of posole recipes, and it seems none of them are exactly the same. Both red posole (ie, posole rojo, made from dried red chiles) and green posole (ie, posole verde, made from fresh green chiles) are very popular; in addition, white posole (ie, posole blanco, made with no chile at all) can also be found. According to Whats4Eats, these variations stem from specific regions of Mexico; red posole is popular in the Michoacan and Jalisco states of Mexico, green posole is popular in Guerrero State, and white pozole is popular in Guadalajara.
Another varying aspect of posole is the garnish, which also differs based on the region of Mexico the posole is from. The Chef and I typically garnish our posole with fresh jalapeno, diced white onion, fresh cilantro, and a squirt of fresh lime. Other popular posole garnishes include finely shredded cabbage, dried Mexican oregano, sliced avocado, sliced radishes, and one of my favorite things, chicharrones (fried pork rinds).
Though many different versions of posole exist, one common thread is the use of dried hominy, which must be soaked overnight and then cooked until the kernels have “bloomed” (ie, become puffy and soft). While canned hominy can be used (and does save on time), dried hominy provides a better flavor and texture to your finished posole.
Since the hominy needs to be soaked overnight, this is another Rhubarb and Honey recipe that will take some planning to make … and in addition to the time required to soak the hominy, our posole recipe calls for a “Mexican-infused” stock so you’ll need to make sure to leave a few hours to make that as well … but trust me, the end result is a fabulous, stick-to-your-ribs stew that’s sure to warm up even the coldest winter night.
Smoky Posole Rojo
- 12 ounce dried white hominy
- 10 cups “Mexican-infused” stock (recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 tablespoon chipotle sauce, such as San Marcos
- 1 large white onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds pork butt, deboned with bone reserved
- Garnish: Sliced fresh jalapeno, diced white onion, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges
1. Place dried hominy in a large Dutch oven; cover with water by approximately 4 inches; cover pan and let stand overnight.
2. Drain hominy and return to Dutch oven. Cover with water then bring to a boil; let boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain hominy again, return to Dutch oven, cover with fresh water and cook over medium heat for 1 hour.
3. Drain hominy and return to Dutch oven; add stock, oregano, coriander, chipotle sauce, and onion to hominy mixture; stir to combine.
4. Cut pork butt into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add cubed pork to pan; saute cubes, turning to brown on all sides, approximately 5 minutes.
5. Add browned pork cubes to hominy mixture; cook over low heat for several hours until hominy blooms.
5. Garnish with desired toppings.
NOTES: When purchasing the pork used in this posole recipe, ask your butcher to remove the bone for you and place it with the pork; this bone will be used to make the stock … and most good butchers will be happy to do this for you.
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 4 cups water
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 pork shoulder bone
- 2 ounces Los Chileros posole spice blend
1. Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot and cook over medium-low heat for 3 hours.
2. Strain stock and reserve for use.
NOTES: Los Chileros spice blends can be found at Whole Foods; they are a delicious combination of all-natural spices that make a delicious bowl of posole. If you cannot source this particular spice blend, simply substitute 6 to 8 dried red New Mexican chile pods (stems removed), 4 cloves chopped garlic, 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt.
Oh, one more note … The Chef and I also love green posole, and our recipes above can be easily adapted for this. Instead of using the Los Chileros posole spice blend in the stock, substitute Los Chileros’ green chile rub; in addition, leave out the chipotle from the posole rojo recipe or substitute 1/2 cup tomatillo salsa.