I already have a recipe for posole from years ago but now I want to share with you Paula’s posole recipe. Paula is a native Mexican and wonderful cook. She has been teaching me some of her favorite Mexican dishes and cooking techniques and this is one of my favorites.
I have learned from watching Paula cook that simpler is often better. She adds essential ingredients but doesn’t follow the philosophy that more is better. Although her recipe and the one I posted earlier use many of the same ingredients, she uses fewer spices but serves with more garnishes. I’ve come to learn garnishes are very important to this dish.
Posole, also spelled pozole, is a Mexican soup (stew) from pre-Columbian times made with hominy, peppers and some sort of meat. Most of the time you see posole made with a tough cut of pork like the shoulder but Paula tells me she sometimes makes it with chicken or turkey which cuts down the cooking time by a lot.
We made this posole with pork shoulder but at the end I added some cut up boneless chicken thighs to make it a little thicker. I think of posole as a soup but it can easily be transformed into a stew by adding less water or adding more ingredients.
I’ve been learning a lot about peppers from Paula since they are important ingredients in Mexican cooking. I did not know that ancho chile peppers are dried poblano peppers or California chile peppers are dried Anaheim chiles. Both of these chiles are not very hot. Paula calls them sweet.
This is the chile she chose to use in her Posole for us, but she told me if she were making this at home, she would use Chilcostle or arbol chiles, both of which are very hot. She didn’t think we could handle it and she’s right!
Hominy, pronounced HAHM-un-nee, is hulled corn kernels where both the bran and germ outer layers have been stripped away by soaking the kernels in a solution of weak lye. It can be made from white corn kernels or the sweeter yellow kernels. You can also buy it as “samp” where the kernels are coarsely ground or the more commonly known “hominy grits” where the kernels are finely ground.
What’s cool about cooking with hominy is it makes the posole smell like it has corn tortilla or corn taco shells in it. When my wife Meg tasted some from the pot, she commented on this.
According to Paula, the garnishes are very important to this dish. Not only do they add additional flavors to the dish, but they allow individuals to add what they like and skip what they don’t. There was no way my kids were going to add radishes to their posole but the radishes contribute greatly to the overall flavor.
I like the flavor of the lemon so much, I would consider adding it right into the pot but Paula says some people do not like the lemon so let them choose for themselves. She also said the lemon can help if the dish is too spicy hot. Good to know.