Sunday, December 6, 2009

Yummy Pozole On A Cold Night

It's just below freezing at the moment outside Casa Hunger and the low is supposed to get down to 20ish tonight.  Today was a day for chores as yesterday was kind of a wash after a really fun night out with friends and enjoying a John Doe show at a local club.  The show started out a bit lame with the opening act being pretty poor.  Then John coming out and letting us all know he was so sick he shoulda canceled but decided to be a trooper and tough it out.  The voice was more than off the first couple tunes but he warmed up and got a coupla Jamesons in him and it turned into a great show.

The aftermath for me was a day of nothingness on a Saturday as I seemed to be suffering from a bit of alcohol poisoning.  OK, I'll admit - ALOT of alcohol poisoning.  Slept until noon, ate a big greasy meal of basted eggs and home fries with Tabasco and a few beers and still went to bed at 9pm feeling like garbage.  It was a great night out, had a great time but really paid for it.  Getting old sux...

So back to today, I spent some time in the yard doing what could be done on a frosty day; filling the pond, trimming some deadfall off of various summery shrubs, picking up after the dog, etc.  Then indoor chores to get prepared for the work week ahead; laundry, vacuuming, talking to Mum about an order for Bariani olive oil (some of the finest olive oil I've ever enjoyed) and then doing some cooking.  I had to run out for a couple items I forgot for my plans but this is gonna be good. 

Pozole - a favorite of mine and for some reason I love it best at the holidays.  You see it is a hot and hearty, rib-sticking Mexican hominy stew. The flavors are layered into the pot and simmered for hours but it is such a simple dish and can be made to fit anyone's taste spice wise. I love this as a foil for the weather and probably because it makes me very happy to eat it. It is also a great counterpoint to all the things I really don't like about the holidays (all the Xmas consumerism is IMHO tangible proof of the existence of evil but I could go on and on about that so I won't) as it is simple, rich, ancient in origin, highly customizable and very frugal to make.  Give it a try, you won't be sorry...

Jim's Pozole
  • 2Tbl Peanut oil - canola or some neutral oil is OK but it won't be as good, just no olive oil as it is not a Mexican or Southwest flavor and it will come through
  • 12oz Pork shoulder, random 1/2 to 3/4" cubes - sirloin steaks, loin chops, etc - use the cheap cuts cuz the tough bits will tenderize with the long cooking times and they taste better too
  • 12oz Onion, 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 Tbl Fresh garlic, minced
  • 14oz Canned fireroasted whole or diced green chiles
  • 3 each 29oz cans Hominy, drained
  • 12oz Beer, full flavored amber - Doz Equis Oscura would be a good choice here but tonight I used a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
Now here's where this can get fun because you can use whatever you have on hand but this is what I used to season this -
  • 2Tbl Ground cumin
  • 1Tbl Dark chili powder
  • 1tsp Kosher salt
  • 1tsp Dried oregano, Mexican if you have it but any will do
  • 1/4 Cup La Victoria Green taco sauce
  • 2Tbl Pico Pica hot sauce
  • 1tsp El Yucateco salsa picante de chile habanero
  • 1 Fresh jalapeno, fresh minced (I removed 1/2 the seeds and interior veins, I like spice but it's fine this way and you can always add more)
Another optional part of this is the cooking method, today I used my dutch oven but if you brown the meat and sweat the onions and garlic in a saute pan you can deglaze the pan with the beer and cook this in a slow cooker so you come home to all the lovely latin food aromas and a hot delicious meal

Dutch oven method
  1. Heat the peanut oil in the bottom of the pan
  2. Brown the pork in the oil
  3. Add and sweat the onions and garlic until translucent
  4. Add the diced fireroasted chiles and hominy, stirring to combine
  5. Add the beer and stir up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan
  6. Stir in the seasonings of your choice and reduce to a simmer
  7. Cook covered for at least 2 hours or until the meat is tender but the hominy is still toothsome
Serve with a lime wedge or two and some shredded cabbage & radish for a traditional feast.  For a not so traditional turn you can always top with any number of other accompaniments; sliced avocado, sour cream or creme fraiche, various hot sauces or pico de gallo, jack cheese or queso fresco, etc, etc.  I think that gives you a good idea of just how great this is and how flexible it can be.

A beer or a margarita is a nice way to go with this and here was mine...

Along with adding an element of freshness and crunch, don't those radishes make it pretty too?


  1. Looks kinda weird, but sounds delicious. I'll have to try this! i've never had hominy before, so I'm not sure how it'd be.

  2. Rachael, this is prime Mexican peasant food. It's been a staple in Mexico for centuries and although you're a picky eater, this is not only cheap but as you read very customizable as well.

    Hominy is what they grind to make grits so it has some of that flavor but will lots of porky green chile goodness.

    Wait until I get a batch of abondigas or chilaquiles together. I'll keep the huitlacoche for me though :)