Holiday Pozole

This belly-warming and filling soup is based on a traditional New Mexican winter holiday recipe. The unique blend and generous quantity of dry spices impart an unforgettable aroma to this posole.

45-55 oz canned hominy (a type of corn), drained and rinsed or 1 lb dry hominy soaked overnight
2 lb (1 kg) onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 lb (1 kg) seitan or meat (chicken, pork or turkey), chopped into chunks the size of hominy grains OR see the bean variation below
3-4 Tbsp olive oil

Spices (mix everything in a bowl):
3 Tbsp red chili, mild or medium heat, powdered (this is different from “chili spice mix”; we want pure red chili not a mixed spice)
2 Tbsp coriander powder
1.5 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp cumin (powder is better, but toasted seeds are fine too)
Salt to taste (about 2 Tbsp, but may need to use less if canned hominy or beans/fake meat had salt)

Garnishes: lime, shredded raw green cabbage or sliced radish, cilantro, avocado or cheese or sour cream

In a large, deep pan (big enough to eventually hold everything plus several liters of water) brown onion, garlic, “meat” and spices for 20-30 minutes. Add hominy along with 2-3 liters of water and simmer everything covered for 1-2 hours (or longer in a slow cooker). If using any vegetables or canned/cooked beans add these 30 minutes before end of cooking. Taste to adjust salt or heat or acidity. Serve hot in bowls with any or all of the recommended garnishes.

Variation with beans instead of imitation meat: It’s not traditional, but still tasty, to make this with hearty beans like red kidney, black, pinto or lima/butter beans, although the texture will be soft rather than chewy. As a last resort you can even make it with 3 cups of reconstituted TVP with a dash of soy sauce and sherry.  If using pre-soaked beans or TVP, add them along with hominy; if using cooked beans, add during the last 30 minutes of cooking, along with the vegetables and lime juice.

½ lb dry, presoaked or 4 cups cooked or canned beans
2-3 cups cubed vegetable like turnip or zucchini or squash
Juice of 1 lime

Variation with New Mexico roasted green chili: If you live in the US, you may have access to affordable fire-roasted green chile in August/September (sometimes called New Mexico Hatch chiles). They are worth trying in this recipe and also in enchiladas, tacos or quesadillas. Out of season these can be purchased online (e.g. chilemonster) frozen in bulk, chopped and peeled, or canned (not quite as flavorful) from Trader Joe’s.  For this variation, use just 1 Tbsp dry red chili powder instead of 3. Along with hominy add 2 cups of finely chopped green chili and 2-3 cups crushed tomato (or juice of 1 large lime instead of tomato to give that acidic component that goes so well with green chili).



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