Posole is a labor of love. It requires some planning — you’ve got to soak the hominy overnight, and there are lots of things to chop and assemble. Start to finish, it takes about three hours to cook. It’s worth it, though! The spicy broth has earthy undertones from cumin and cloves, and contains tender chunks of lean pork and chewy hominy. Garnished with crunchy cabbage, onions, cilantro, and a good squeeze of lemon, it’s a wonderful mix of long-cooked flavor and bright, herbal kick. Add a dash or two of your favorite hot sauce if you require a little more salt and spice.
While it’s delicious, my posole is probably not the most “authentic” version. It is however, made from healthful ingredients in their least processed forms, and produces a deeply flavorful soup you’ll want to make over and over again. It’s hearty enough for a winter meal, but light and brothy enough to serve any time of year. You can also substitute chicken instead of pork.
All recipes for posole include hominy corn, also called nixtamal. It is a fantastic ingredient to add to your pantry. In a process called nixtamalization, it is treated with slaked lime to remove the pericarp, or outer shell, and germ, and then dried. This makes all of the nutrients available for digestion, and people have been doing it since around 1500 B.C. in what is now southern Mexico and Guatemala. You can buy hominy in its dried form, or purchase it in large cans, pre-cooked and ready to eat. I prefer dried hominy, as it retains a lovely, chewy texture when cooked, while canned hominy can be mushy, over-salted, and generally unappealing. Go with the dried stuff and you’ll be a happy camper.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 serrano chiles, seeded and diced
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, whole
1 lb. pork top loin, trimmed of fat and cut into 1″ cubes
6 oz. dried hominy
1 tsp. salt
water to cover
1/2 tsp. peppercorns
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
5 whole cloves
1/2 tsp. oregano
shredded red cabbage
yellow onion, thinly sliced
lemon, cut into wedges
hot sauce (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, cover the posole with plenty of water. Soak overnight.
2. Heat the olive oil in a 5 qt. dutch oven over medium-low heat.
3. Add the diced chiles, celery, and onion, sauteing until onions are soft and translucent.
4. Add the garlic cloves, pork, soaked hominy, and salt. Add enough water to cover everything.
5. In a tea strainer, combine peppercorns, cumin seeds, cloves, and oregano. Close tea strainer and hang off side of pot, allowing spices to steep as the posole cooks.
6. When the posole begin to boil, turn down to low, cover, and let simmer for two and a half hours.
7. Ladle into bowls and top with garnishes.