Posole (or pozole) is a hearty pork, corn, and chile stew with a long history in the southwest and Mexico, back into pre-Hispanic times. Its color can be red or green, depending upon the color of the chiles used. Posole is a friend to those with little time to cook, because it can be cooked in advance, refrigerated, and reheated after the flavors have melded together. It can be made in large batches and frozen in single-serve containers, and is special enough for parties and potlucks.
Our version of posole rojo (red posole) includes dried chile de arbol and chiles de ristra (New Mexican chiles), but you can use whatever selection of dried red chiles that suit your taste. We also use fresh hominy, which is easily found here in New Mexico, but canned white hominy, which can be found in most grocery stores, is perfectly acceptable. And please do let the posole simmer for several hours, until the meat falls apart easily.
For the chile sauce:
- 3/4 cup dried chiles de arbol
- 5 dried chiles de ristra
- cloves garlic (roughly chopped)
- For the posole:
- 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 8 cups chicken broth (sodium-free)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano, or 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano (preferably Mexican)
- 1 tablespoon homemade bouillon
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 pounds of fresh hominy (2, 15-ounce cans of white hominy, drained and rinsed, can be used as well)
Shredded or diced avocado, cabbage, onion, radishes, or cilantro
Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, cut the stems off your chiles and shake out the seeds. Place the chiles in a bowl and pour boiling water over them, until they are just covered (make sure they are submerged completely by weighing them down with a dish). Soak them for about 30 minutes, or until they are soft.
Place the soaked chiles in a blender and add 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid. Add the garlic and blend until smooth. Taste the chile sauce, and add salt (about 1/2 teaspoon). Set the sauce aside.
Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a dutch oven, or a pot large enough to comfortably hold all of your ingredients. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.
Rub the boneless pork shoulder with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt and cumin. Turn the heat under your pot up to medium high, and brown the pork shoulder on all sides.
Add your chicken broth and bay leaf, stirring to remove some of the bits from the bottom of the pot. Add 1/4 to 1/2 of your chile sauce and taste. If the broth doesn’t seem hot enough, add more chile sauce to taste.
Reduce the heat under your pot until it reaches a low simmer. Cover your pot and cook, occasionally checking on the pork. Turn the pork over once or twice during cooking to make sure it cooks evenly. Simmer for three hours, or until the pork is tender and is beginning to fall apart.
After about three hours, taste your broth, add salt to taste, and add your oregano. Add your fresh or canned posole and top the posole off with water if necessary to thin the posole. Simmer for an hour more, or until the pork is falling apart (remove the pork if necessary to pull apart into chunks).
When the posole is tender, turn off the heat and taste; add salt if necessary.
Serve the posole along with dishes of avocado, cabbage, onion, radishes, and cilantro as garnishes. Feel free to serve the remaining chile sauce on the side, to customize each delicious bowl.
Recipe adapted from Food Network Magazine