Growing up in New Mexico, we ate posole all the time. It is especially popular as a dish during the holiday season, braised pork made from scratch and served with hominy and grandma’s homemade red chile sauce.
One of my favorite memories as a child was going to my friend Kathy’s house during the winter holiday break. She came from Mexican heritage and her grandmother always had the task of making the homemade red chile. Inevitably it would be snowing and after playing outside for hours making snow angels and sledding, we would come in frozen and soaked and sure enough there was always a change of clothes and a bowl of posole with homemade tortillas.
Years later I married my husband who is of Mexican decent and I was SURE he was a connoisseur of posole. Of course, before asking if he even liked it much less if he was a connoisseur, I had decided that I needed to become a master. On went the trials of perfecting the red chile sauce. Researching recipes, talking to grandmothers, I did it all and I was sure I was going to please my new groom.
I don’t remember how many chile pods I soaked and pureed nor how many aprons I stained but I do remember that as the date decended nearer and nearer, I realized I was never going to duplicate the heritage sauce and therefore would have to confess that afterall, I really wasn’t a master of posole….
After my last attempt, I slumped on the floor perplexed, I mean seriously, can it be this hard? There has to be something that the grandmother’s left out, was it an ingredient? Cooking time? Love? What was it? I guess at this point, it was a bit late to figure it out.
With my head down in a bit of shame, I went into my husband and got down on my knees and asked for forgiveness. He looked perplexed and a bit panicked really and then I blurted out that I WASN’T a master of his favorite dish and dropped my head on his knee in despair.
He breathed the biggest sign of relief (I guess I didn’t think he might have thought something WAY worse), he began to giggle and then break out into a belly roar. He announced that he wasn’t either, his mother didn’t make posole, and he didn’t like anything that was hot or spicy. OMG, seriously? I could have saved all those chile pods, aprons, and frustrations if I would have asked? I never would have thought that any person from Mexican heritage wasn’t a master of posole…..First lesson ask, second lesson don’t assume.
I decided in that moment that I had an opportunity. Instead, since I hadn’t perfected the red chile sauce much less even attempted the home made hominy, I was going to CREATE my version of posole and win my husbands heart, forever. Perfect.
With that motivation, this is the recipe I came up with. It is a more of a soup than traditional posole. It is simple with bold flavors and uses both red and green chile. The only improvement that can be made to this dish is to use homemade stock, which is what I usually do.
- 2 lbs pork stew meat
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 T dried oregano
- 2 T New Mexico red chile powder
- 10 ounces New Mexico green chiles, mild or medium, diced (can used canned if can't find fresh)
- 2 - 28 ounce cans of hominy, white or yellow
- 4 quarts low sodium chicken broth, preferably home made
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- green cabbage
- queso fresco
- Cut up meat, onion, and garlic. Peel, seed, and chop green chiles, if fresh. In a large dutch oven over medium heat, add, pork, onion, garlic, oregano, and red chile. Add 1 cup of chicken broth and cook until pork is a little "charred" and liquid has evaporated, about 30-40 minutes. Stir often and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add green chiles, hominy, and rest of chicken broth and bring to boil. Simmer over heat for 2 hours or until pork is really tender. Season more if necessary.
- Serve in large bowls and top with desired toppings