Thursday, February 14, 2013

Improvised slow cooker posole

Posole (or if you prefer, pozole) is one of the foods I discovered when we visited the Southwest last fall.  It's a soup made with chile, hominy, and, traditionally, something dead.  According to Wikipedia, the original posole was made by the Aztecs and included meat from human sacrifices.  Ew.  After the Conquistadors arrived there were no more human sacrifices, so people used pork, the other white meat.  Still ew.  I make mine with beans -- in this most recent instance, cute little Sangre de Toro beans.

The hardest thing about making posole on the east coast is finding dried hominy.  Canned hominy is easy to find, but canned hominy is gross.  The first posole I made was with blue corn hominy I found at Whole Foods in  Santa Fe.  I haven't been able to find that here.  The closest I've come is at our local mercado latino, where I found Goya brand white and golden hominy, which according to the people at Wegman's (where I searched in vain) is positively loaded with iron.  Who knew?  Goya hominy is not whole kernels, it's cracked, so it's not nearly as dramatic looking, but unless I'm going to nixtamalize my own corn it appears to be the best I can do.

One thing about making posole -- even after you soak it overnight, the hominy takes forever to cook.  Hours.  Longer than beans.   So this time, I decided to try making it in the slow cooker.  I soaked a pound of hominy and a pound of beans overnight, then the next morning I put them in my biggest slow cooker crock with an onion, a bunch of ancho chile powder, some Mexican oregano, a little cumin, and water to fill the crock.  Lots of water.  Plenty of water.  Or so I thought. 

When I got home from work, the corn and beans had slurped up all the water.  Instead of soup, I had a big pot of stew thick enough to stand a spoon up in.  Fortunately, it didn't stick to the crock.

I suppose I could have added some broth and tried to soupify it, but I decided just to eat it as is: 

That's garnished with raw cabbage, a raw bell pepper, guacamole, and a lime wedge.  It was kind of bland the first day, so I added some of my new favorite commercial spice blend, Trader Joe's South African Smoke.  Over the next day or two, the flavors developed, and it was perfect as is.

My girlfriend doesn't like posole -- I think she had a bad experience with canned hominy as a child -- so I ended up eating the whole pot myself, mostly for breakfast.  I didn't intend to make a stew rather than a soup, but I might actually prefer it this way.

1 comment:

  1. Great recipe!
    New Mexicans love our posole. Here is a little trick that you may want to try: Add a little powdered chili from Hatch, New Mexico to thicken and add flavor to the broth. You can order it securely online from the CHIMAYO CHILE BROS. Here is a link to their site:
    Keep on cookin!