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Posole (Traditional New Mexican)

Posole (Traditional New Mexican)
Some traditionalists like to serve their posole with condiments offered separately: Red Chile, chopped fresh cilantro, chopped onion, oregano, sliced limes. I prefer the recipe above. While it's not traditional, you can garnish with cubed avocado, or grated cheese. Flour tortillas or saltine crackers are typically served with posole. Vegetarians can omit the pork and substitute vegetable broth.

Yield: 6-10 servings


Preparation Instructions:

You will be preparing this recipe in three stages: pork, red chile and posole. These are then combined into the final posole "stew".

Lightly rub a pork tenderloin or pork shoulder with olive or avocado oil and season with salt, pepper, and New Mexican Red Chile powder. Roast in a 350F oven until crisp and tender (about 30-40 minutes for a tenderloin and 1 1/2 hours for pork shoulder of roast.

Remove meat, cool and shred or cube and set aside. I like to rough chop and then shred so the pieces are about 1/2 long (too long and stringy isn't good). This can be done the day before or several hours before.

1. Bring a pan of water to boil and remove from heat. Place rinsed chile pods, stems broken off and seeds removed (turn upside down and shake over trash can.
2. Place, water and let soak about 20 minutes, or until soft.
3. Place pods and hot soaking water in blender, and blend until smooth. Do not fill blender more than halfway with hot liquid.
4. Add salt and granulated garlic to taste and set aside.
Note: the more pods, the more intense the flavor and heat of the chile.

If using dried posole, let soak overnight, then proceed to next step. If using frozen, defrost then proceed to next step.

Drain and rinse posole. Like dried legumes, posole should be thoroughly rinsed. Canned hominy should be thoroughly rinsed in a strainer.

When I learned this recipe from a third generation posole maker, their family tradition is to rinse the posole 12 times. Placing the frozen posole in the pot in the sink, run cold water to cover the kernels, swish with hand and slowly poor off the water, watching the 'flecks' drain off. Repeat 12 times.

Place rinsed posole in a cooking pot and cover with several inches of water. Do not add salt or anything else. Bring to boil and reduce to a bubbling simmer until the kernels have "popped" or bloomed. Adding salt interferes with this process. It will take about an hour if using frozen, maybe half hour longer if using dried kernels soaked overnight.

The posole will swell and start to resemble popcorn, but will still be chewy. At this point, drain water and add posole back to the pot with the stock, cooked pork, sautéed onion and leek, red chile and and let it finish cooking. Posole is fully cooked when it has opened completely, and is tender when chewed.

Taste and adjust liquid and seasonings. Posole is very bland and requires a fair amount of salt to bring out its flavor. This will be even more flavorful the next day.

This recipe calls for either a 2 lb. frozen bag of posole (preferred), 1 lb. dried posole, or 1-29 oz can of drained and rinsed hominy if dried or frozen are not available. Canned hominy is already cooked so add it in the last 15 minutes of cooking to preserve texture.

More About This Recipe

Total cooking time for this dish will vary greatly, depending on which kind of posole you select (frozen, dried or canned). Best estimate would be anywhere from 2-4 hrs. Just remember, dried posole will take the longest @ 3 hours, frozen will shorten cooking time somewhat, and canned will be the shortest at taking about 1½ hours.



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