Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pozole Rojo

There has been a lotta ice and sleet happening lately. Once again, I am quite blessed to not have to drive to work. Sometimes, just walking to the home office is dangerous enough (I have always have been somewhat of a klutz, and it hasn’t gone away as I became older…).

These damp, cold, grey days are depressing. And, living in an old house, I cannot seem to get warm so I depend on heating up the kitchen (and myself) by cooking and baking. Yesterday, a nice, warming soup seemed to be in order for lunch.

I had never tried hominy until a couple of months ago. There was a soup (Pozole Rojo) reviewed by Kristi of A Global Kitchen a while back which contained hominy and it looked interesting so I printed it and tossed it into the “to try” pile of recipes beside the computer. We enjoyed it the first time, and today seemed the perfect day to give it another try.

I had never bought hominy before and originally had some difficulty locating it but finally did in (of all places) the Latin American section of WalMart. I thought that the texture would be mushy but that was not the case. The corn kernels are firm and almost chewy, even after cooking. And I found out why:

A description:

Hominy is an essential ingredient in Mexican cooking. You may find it either as a side dish or as an integral part of the main dish, such as Menudo or Pozole. Hominy is made from the pre-Hispanic Aztec staple, corn. The corn is dried and then boiled and soaked in lime until it is moist and plump. The lime allows the corn to keep a firmer texture rather than turning mushy. It is then washed thoroughly to remove the hull and any trace of lime. The cleaned, boiled and washed corn is known as nixtamal, or Mexican-style hominy.

This is the brand which I used.

The resulting pozole was incredibly good. Excellent flavor, although I could taste the chili powder (Jack didn’t seem to notice). It was a bit on the spicy side, but we dealt with it. :) And it is very easy to put together as well.

Served with a side of steamed corn tortillas, or cornbread, this made a hearty cold-weather lunch. A green salad, dressed with lime juice, garlic, and olive oil would have been a good addition, but there was no lettuce to be had in the vegetable bin...

Posole Rojo
recipe by:
Steve Sando, Rancho Gordo

1 tbs olive oil
2 med white onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup tomato paste
3 tbs chili powder
1 tbs Mexican oregano(mine is Turkish)
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 cups cooked hominy
7 cups cooked shredded chicken(I poached boneless skinless breasts in chicken broth)
salt and pepper

Garnishes: diced avocado, chopped cilantro, finely chopped onions, chili powder, crumbled queso fresco, thinly sliced radishes in any combination.

1. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until soft. Add tomato paste and spices stirring until mixed and warmed.

2. Add 4 cups of water, broth and hominy. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add chicken and serve with garnishes.

Kristi said that she garnished the soup with avocado, cilantro and queso fresco. I only had the cilantro on hand, so I used shredded lowfat cheddar.