Sunday, March 20, 2011

Holy Posole!

A few weeks ago I was skiing in Colorado... Aspen, to be specific. Just before heading home, we spent the day in Denver having brunch at Eri's friend Kimmy T's house. On the way there, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things and saw the most beautiful array of chili powders, chilies, and other Mexican spices that we just don't see here on the East Coast. Not in Hull, anyway! Eri, who was traveling with me, had told me she would be the very delighted recipient of a posole recipe from Kimmy's fiance, who is of Mexican descent. So she scooped up some chili powder and hominy, and I did the same, excitedly dreaming of the spicy soup.

Once I got home, I looked at a few recipes, and as I usually do, just made something that "felt" right. I made it once with pork (boneless center cut loin ribs) and once again with chicken breasts. The pork definitely brings a bit more flavor (and more fat), but the chicken tastes quite nice and is a bit lighter. Technically, chicken is used in "green" posole, not red, but what the heck. I'm a gringa. Also, the soup tastes much better on the second day, so I'd advise making it ahead of time to let the flavors really come into their own. You can follow the same recipe with either the pork or the chicken, so here it is...

Posole Soup (serves about 4)
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (or boneless pork ribs) (you could use boneless or bone-in, just account for the weight of the bone in the total weight)
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth plus about 1 cup water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or the equivalent in prepared or dried garlic)
  • 1 can hominy, drained (Yeah, I cheated and used a can of Goya hominy. If you have time and interest, you can use dried hominy, soak and cook, but allow an "overnight's" worth of work for that)
  • 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes with chilies (I used Trader Joe's fire-roasted tomatoes with chilies)
  • Hot chili powder, 1/4 t. to start (I used 1/2 t.)
  • Chipotle powder, 1/4 t. to start (I used 1/2 t.)
  • Oregano, 1 t.
  • Fresh cilantro, 1-3 sprigs
  • 1/2 lime
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnishes: diced avocado, tortilla strips, diced onions, cilantro
  1. Place the chicken in a saucepan and cover with the broth. Add the bay leaf and garlic. Place a lid on the saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  2. Remove the chicken from the broth, and strain the broth through a mesh strainer. Return the broth to the saucepan.
  3. Add the spices (chili powders and oregano), tomato, and hominy to the broth. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Shred the chicken using two forks, or your hands (careful, it's probably still hot!) and add it to the soup mixture.
  5. Tear the cilantro and add it to the soup; squeeze the lime juice into the soup, and taste. Adjust seasonings to your taste (you may need to add salt and a bit more chili powder). Try not to add more than 1/8 t. of chili powder at a time - it's very spicy!
  6. Simmer the soup for about 30 minutes, covered, to allow the flavors to blend. Add water or broth if needed.
  7. Top with the toppings of your choice and enjoy!
Nutrition information per serving if made with chicken, about 1.5 cups (for soup only, no toppings included): 236 calories, 2 g fat, 29 g protein, 5 g fiber, 24 g carbs

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