Sometimes, I amaze myself

November 6, 2009

Oh, my.

 

11-6-09 004

Posole. Arepas, albeit in muffin form. I am a happy woman.

This is why I love the internet. I’d probably have never found this recipe for posole. And my life would have been much less satisfactory than it is tonight, when I have had perhaps one of the best soup/stews I have ever tasted in my life.

At the outset: Allow me to credit this recipe to Chris Amirault, director of operations for the eGullet forum, who in turn credits this recipe to his mother-in-law. Chris, everyone should be so lucky to have such a mother-in-law. Because this? Is some Seriously Good Shit. It’s the first posole I’ve ever made. It will be the last posole recipe I ever try, and possibly the last dish of posole I will make until, oh, maybe three days from now.

Chris calls it Castaneda Posole. I call it good. And while it is not exactly by Chris’s mother-in-law’s recipe, it’s certainly a keeper in my repertoire. Hell, I may get up and eat this stuff for breakfast tomorrow.

Chris’s recipe:

NB: instead of dried hominy you can use 2 29 oz cans of hominy. Just skip the first step below, but do drain the hominy.

  • 3 c dried hominy
  • 2 T oil or lard
  • 3 c pork shoulder, cut into 3/4″ cubes
  • 1 c medium onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 T ancho powder
  • 1 T chipotle powder or paste (or to taste)
  • 1/4 c jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 6 c stock (chicken, pork, or beef works fine; smoked is even better)
  • 2 c tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped
  • 2 limes, quartered

1. The night before you plan to prepare the meal, soak the hominy overnight with at least two inches of water above the hominy. Drain the next day, then simmer for 2-3 hours until just tender. Drain again.

2. Salt and pepper the pork. Heat the oil or lard in a heavy pot until almost smoking, and brown each cube of pork well in the fat. Do not crowd. Remove each cube from pot as it’s browned.

3. Pour off excess fat and add the onion. Sauté the onion until it’s slightly browned; add the garlic and sauté it briefly. Be sure to scrape up the fond (the brown bits) from the pork.

4. Add ancho, chipotle, jalapeño, oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper and sauté them for about a minute. Add the tomatoes and sauté them for a minute. Add the stock and pork, bring to a boil, and simmer for 2 hours, or until the pork is just tender.

5. Add the hominy and heat through, about ten minutes. Serve with the cilantro and lime.

My alterations: I used a little less pork, and it was tenderloin, because that’s what I had in the house. I used a couple of heaping tablespoons of Santa Cruz Chile Paste instead of jalapenos. I used four cups, instead of 6 of beef stock, because I was cooking it in the crock pot. I used a minced chipotle in adobo. And I used a can of diced tomatos with the juice instead of the fresh variety. I also used canned hominy, and it was probably 2 1/2 cups or so; however much is in the big can. The bulk of the soup got put on early this morning before I went to work, on low; the hominy went in about 4 p.m., and we ate about 6:30 or 7.

If my substitutions hurt the dish, I don’t ever want to try the real thing. This stuff was to die for. Lord have mercy, I’m so full I may have to roll across the living room to go to bed, but it is worth every damn bit of indigestion, because This Is Fine.

To pair with it, I made the most astounding arepas I have ever made, and possibly the easiest:

  • 1 cup masa harina
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 can white shoe-peg corn, drained
  • 1/2 cup (generous) grated cheese (I used the cheddar-monterey jack mix)
  • 1 egg
  • About 3/4 cup half-and-half (enough to make a thick batter)
  • 3 tbsp bacon drippings
  • a generous shake of seasoned salt

Mixed all those ingredients, and baked them in greased muffin tins at 400 until they were golden brown on top. Oooohhh-weee. Good stuff.

Y’all, I’m serious. This stuff is in the “sweet baby Jesus, it’s good!” category. Just enough heat to be teasing. A play of textures with the pork and the hominy. A complexity of different peppers. Warm and filling and just, dammit, good!

You and y’mama ‘n ’em make you some. And say thanks to Chris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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