Thursday, December 31, 2009

Mix it Up: Red Posole

Red Posole
Serves 8
*See Deborah's notes below

Ingredients for Posole
- 1 pound (16 oz) dried ready-to-cook posole/hominy*
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 3 medium garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
- 3 dried red New Mexican chile peppers, stems removed*
- 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
For Red Sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons finely diced white onion
- 2 medium cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 cup ground red chile*
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 quarter of a lime

For Garnishes: tortilla strips, crumbled queso fresco or feta, toasted dried Mexican oregano

Directions for Posole
Soak the dried posole overnight in a large bowl of water. The next day drain the posole and place it in your largest thick-bottomed pot along with 3 1/2 quarts/liters of water, the onion, garlic, chile peppers, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the posole is tender (many of the kernels will have flowered into popcorn shapes). This can take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 hours. Season with a couple teaspoons of salt roughly halfway through the cooking process. Season again once the posole is fully cooked.

In the meantime
Combine the olive oil, onion, garlic, and oregano in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir continuously until the onion takes on a bit of color, a few minutes. Add the flour and cumin, and stir for a minute or two or until the flour browns a bit. Whisk the chile into 2 1/2 cups of water and pour it into the saucepan. Stir until the sauce thickens a bit, dial down the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for fifteen minutes or so. Stir in a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and season with the salt, adding more to taste if necessary. Set aside until the posole has finished cooking.

Stir 1/2 cup of the red sauce into the pot of posole. You can add more red sauce, a bit at a time, until it is to your liking. Spoon the posole into bowls and top with tortilla strips, cheese, and oregano.

Deborah's notes from adapting this recipe:
"Look for ready-to-cook hominy - the kind you soak overnight, and then cook. A lot like you would beans. I used Rancho Gordo white corn posole, but there is also a thread on Chowhound on how to source ready-to-cook posole As far as the choice of chile peppers goes, I used dried red New Mexican chiles, they have mild heat and aren't overly intense. You might also try guajillo chiles, or if you don't mind a bit more heat, Aji Amarillo chiles with their fruity overtones might be nice. Or maybe try a blend of mild-ish chiles. For the sauce, be sure to buy ground red chile, not chili powder - which has other ingredients mixed in. Also, for the vegans out there, this can easily be made vegan by using something like avocado as a topping in place of the cheese."

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