As much as I pine for the warm days of summer that invite me out doors. I have a special place in my heart for these slow-stewing-soup-making-comfort-food days of fall.
The chilly dark days seem to invite us into the kitchen to leisurely chop and dice and play with dough and yeast and listen to NPR and hardly look up to see where the day has gone.
I grew up in a much colder fall and winter climate. I have fond memories of opening the door to the house to the warm embrace of dinner's aroma greeting me like a lover returned from a long journey. All was well in my world.
I love to try and recreate that memory not only for myself but for others. After all, life's best memories are those we share with the ones we love.
I had some fresh posole that a friend had brought back to me from New Mexico. So posole it was that starred in our Sunday night dinner this week.
Posole is made from nixtamalize cacahuazintle corn (hominy) with meat. (usually pork, chicken, turkey, pork rinds, sardine, chili pepper and other seasonings and garnish) It's a traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico.
In reading the history of posole I found a fact that made me giggle. The ancient Mexicans believed the gods made people out of cornmeal dough. Let he who has not winced when biting the head off a gingerbread man cast the first stone!
Like most stews and chili dishes, this one benefits from being made a day ahead.
I freshly ground ancho chili powder and I can't stress enough how that flavor rises to the occasion. The recipe I used as a guideline called for canned hominy. I was blessed with fresh so that's what I used.
There were 9 of us for dinner on Sunday and there was enough posole for 4 more people. We topped ours with finely shredded cabbage, chopped avocado, cilantro, lime wedges and jalapenos. We passed creme for those interested as well.
I made fresh corn tortillas to soak up the broth. They were wonderful but the hominy had pretty much done the dirty work of soaking up the broth before the pot of posole ever made its way to the table.
Day one: before the posole opened up
Day two: I like to call this "piggy goodness"
On my plate with all the toppings and a fresh soft corn tortilla
Fresh corn tortillas
4 medium onions, divided
7 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4 tablespoons ancho chile powder, divided
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican), divided
1 6 to 61/2 pound bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 4 to 5 inch pieces, some meat left on bone
5 cups or more chicken broth
4 7-ounce cans diced green chiles, drained (I like to chop my own)
5 large garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 15-ounce cans golden or white hominy, drained
4 limes, each cut into 4 wedges
chopped white onion
fresh cilantro leaves
Mexican Creme or sour cream
Method: Preheat oven to 350 f. Thinly slice 2 onions. heat 4 tablespoons oil in heavy large oven proof pot over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions to pot and saute until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oregano; stir to coat, sprinkle pork with salt and add to pot. Add 5 cups broth. Bring to boil, cover and transfer to oven.
Braise pork until tender enough to shred easily, about 2 hours. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to a sheet pan and strain liquid.
Slice remaining onions, Heat remaining oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions: saute until soft, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add remainig 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder, remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oregano, diced chiles, garlic and cumin. Stir 30 seconds. Add pork, reserved juices and hominy. Bring to a boil. If making a day ahead of time remove from heat and refrigerate then cover after it has cooled.
On day 2 remove the fat that has risen to the top and congealed. Reheat slowly and simmer until (if using fresh) hominy has opened up.
Serve with toppings and tortillas.