Posole is a slow cooked dish featuring hominy, chiles, and if you like meat, either pork or chicken. Dress up a bowl with fresh shredded cabbage, cilantro, radish, tomatoes, a big squirt of lime, and you have a cross between soup and salad. It’s always been a comfort food of mine. I first tried it when my angel friend brought over the soup and all the fixin’s in the early days after my first husband passed away. She set all the containers on my kitchen counter, helped me get the kids to bed, loaded an old Julia Child dvd into the tv, made the margs, and ate with me while we laughed along with Julia’s antics and leaked tears.
Events of the past couple weeks demanded comfort food as well: anniversary (#9) of “that trip to Emigrant Wilderness” and my widowhood, a friend battling through his last days of cancer, fires in the wine country, and an avalanche that wiped out two young lives in our community. After a few days of sadness and making simple bean and cheese burritos for dinner, yesterday I was in the mood to really cook–a fitting time to break out the Rancho Gordo hominy.
I soaked then cooked the hominy the day before (don’t worry, you can use canned) and let it sit and cool overnight. The next morning, while I had coffee and got the kids off to school, I browned the pork and set the slow cooker to work. Later in the day I made the chile sauce and chopped all the veggies. Dinner involved simmering the chile sauce with the pork and hominy and setting the table. How was it? Every one of us was lined up at the pot for seconds. (Adapted my recipe from Via’s — thank you darling!)
Pork or Chicken Posole in the Slow Cooker
- 1 lb dried hominy Rancho Gordo (or use one 29 oz. can, not as good but will be ok)
- 2 - 4 pork chops or chicken breast halves bone in
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 teaspoons Better Than Bouillon chicken broth base
- 2 cups water
- 1 onion small, cut in half, leave the skins
- 1 head garlic small head, top cut off, leave the skins
- 6 tomatillos husked, left whole
- 10 dried chiles, California or Guajillo or some of each
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 clove garlic skin removed
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
toppings for serving
- shredded cabbage
- radishes thinly sliced then matchsticks
- tomatoes chopped
- white onion diced
- cilantro leaves chopped
- avocado diced
- lime wedges
- sour cream
- hot chile sauce
- tortilla chips
Cook the hominy
Soak the hominy in water for 6 - 8 hours. Drain.
Put the soaked hominy in a large pot and add enough water to cover by a couple inches. Bring to a boil, add a couple teaspoons of salt and gently simmer for a couple hours, until almost tender. Remove from heat. (I usually do this in the evening then let the pot sit, covered, overnight at room temperature. In the morning, drain and discard the water.)
Start the soup
Brown the pork chops (or chicken breasts) in the stove-top safe slow cooker insert (or other pan) over medium high heat. Transfer the insert to your slow cooker.
Dissolve the Better Than Bouillon in the hot water. Add to the pot with the meat. Add the additional 2 cups water, onion, and garlic head. If you have tomatillos, throw them in. Add the cooked hominy (or use one 29 oz. can, drained and rinsed). Set slow cooker on high 4 hours or low 6 - 8 hours.
After cooking time, transfer the meat to a cutting board and remove and discard the bones. Shred the meat using forks or your fingers and add back to the soup.
The chile sauce
Remove stem and seeds from the dried chiles. Rinse under water and put in a blender with 2 cups boiling water. Let sit for 20 minutes then add garlic clove, oregano, and blend until smooth. Pour through a strainer placed over a bowl and and press with a wooden spoon--discard the solids. Add the strained chile sauce to the soup and heat through (either in the slow cooker for a bit, or transfer to the stovetop -- one great reason to have the slow cooker with the stovetop-safe insert).
When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with shredded cabbage, radish, tomato, onion, cilantro, avocado, and any other condiments. Pass the lime wedges so everyone can squirt on as much as they like.