Posole is a slow cooked stew/soup made with cooked hominy (the namesake of the dish), pork (but chicken is pretty good too!), and a quick chile sauce made from rehydrating dried chiles. It is one-dish comfort food and people can customize their bowls with a beautiful array of toppings: shredded cabbage, cilantro, radish, tomatoes, a big squirt of lime, some guacamole, more hot sauce. This recipe uses a slow cooker, but you can certainly cook it in a pot on the stovetop.
A note on hominy: You can buy dried hominy from Rancho Gordo, and it is extremely good. Cook it in advance then add it to the posole after the meat is cooked. If you want to start with dried hominy, soak it overnight in water, drain, then add two additional cups of boiling water to the pot when you set everything cooking. Of course canned, prepared hominy is the easiest but it isn’t nearly as good.
Photo at header by Sam Lord, originally published in Edible Bozeman, Winter 2021
I first tried posole when Betsy brought over the soup and all the fixin’s in the early days after my first husband passed away in the autumn of 2008. 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 margaritas, and ate with me while we watched Julia and dabbed at our tears. When I was ready to cook for myself once again, Viya shared her recipe with me and taught me about making chile sauce from dried chiles. Gracias Viya!
Slow Cooker Pork or Chicken Posole
- 8 oz. dried hominy (about 1 cup uncooked) or 4 cups cooked hominy Rancho Gordo (or use one 29 oz. can, drained and rinsed, equivalent to about 4 cups cooked hominy)
- 2 cups boiling water if using uncooked hominy, otherwise omit
- 2–4 bone-in pork chops or chicken breast halves add a boneless pork rib (8 ounces or so) for extra richness
- 1 16-ounce jar tomatillo salsa (Frontera) or 8 fresh tomatillos, husked and quartered
- 2 cups water
- 1 14.5-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth Swanson
- 1 onion, halved (skins can be left on)
- 1 head garlic, top cut off (skins can be left on)
- 1 tsp sea salt (omit if using canned hominy)
- 10 dried chiles, California or Guajillo or some of each
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 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
Toppings: tostadas (tortilla chips or corn tortillas), shredded cabbage, radishes (thinly sliced then cut into matchsticks), tomatoes (chopped), white onion (chopped), cilantro leaves, avocado (diced), lime wedges, and sour cream.
Soak the uncooked hominy in water for 6–8 hours or overnight. Drain. (If using pre-cooked or canned hominy, add it to the posole after the meat is cooked.)
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.
Add tomatillo salsa or fresh tomatillos, water, broth, onion, garlic, and salt to the pot. Add the uncooked hominy and 2 cups boiling water (if using pre-cooked hominy, do not add the boiling water and wait to add the hominy until after the meat is cooked). 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 (compost) the bones, onion, and garlic. Shred the meat using two forks.
The chile sauce (make while the meat is cooking)
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 spoon. Discard the solids and set aside the liquid sauce.
Combine and heat the soup
Add the strained chile sauce and shredded meat back to the soup .
If you're using canned or pre-cooked hominy, add it now (drained and rinsed). Heat through until hot.
When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and add your favorite toppings.