There is one good thing about having to hike out to the dumpster with the trash, especially when you’re cooking something.  If you stay in the kitchen too long you olfactory sense habituates to the aromas.  Take out the trash and you get a great new olfactory preview when you get walk back into the kitchen–especially if you spend a bit of time chatting with the neighbor who is also taking out the trash.

This cold weather has me cooking stew-y sorts of things.  A friend sent me a care package from New Mexico recently: blue and white corn with a recipe for making posole (or pozole, if you’d rather). Today was the day, since I was organized enough to remember to soak the dried corn over night.  By the time I had sauteed everything, browned the pork, onions, garlic, added the oregano (had to do Turkish rather than Mexican until I do another Penzeys order), and the chilli pods I wasn’t fully appreciating the aroma of the cooking. I popped the covered dutch oven into the oven and took– out the trash.

When I opened the door and walked into the living room, I was definitely getting a fresh sensation: the browned pork, the oregano, the chillis–this smells like warmth and comfort on a cold day!

White Corn Posole

This is the recipe that came with the package of Los Chileros de Neuva Mexico package of white corn posole. I more or less followed the recipe–

Ingredients

  • 6-8 chile pods
  • 2 pounds cubed pork (or beef)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of salt.

Preparation & assembly

  • Soak the posole (12 ounces) in water to cover over night.
  • Boil the posole in salted water for about 2 hours.
  • Add mead, chilli pods, oregano and garlic.
  • Cover and simmer for another hour or until the posole is tender, stirring occasionally.

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My  first deviation from the recipe was to brown the pork (in a little bacon fat) before adding the liquid and the other ingredients. My second deviation was to use 4 chilli pods (ancho and guajillo) and then about 2 teaspoons of Hatch cilli powder.  I had tasted before adding the chilli powder–and it’s wasn’t spicy enough. I’ll see what it’s like when I reheat it. My other deviation was to add way more garlic.

I’d looked at other recipes for posole online, and found lots of recipes calling for other ingredients–cumin, coriander, and even tomatoes. I decided to start with this simple, rather straight forward one for my first try at posole.

I really think that Mexican oregano is a must–the Turkish just isn’t quite right here–it’s sweeter than the Mexican to my taste and would fit better with the corn flavor. I’m likely to add some cumin and coriander next time around as well. I may add onions (caramelized) as well. It’s a recipe in evolution now. I think a little more “brown” in the flavor would be good, as well as some smoke from either chipotle peppers or from pimentón–but definitely Mexican oregano next time. I used water here and not pork stock, but I think that pork stock would be tastier–especially if the bones/meat were browned before making the stock.

Even though this is a simple soup/stew, a bowl of this is very satisfying on a cold day when you need warmth and a full tummy!

My friend also sent blue corn–which I’ve only had in tortilla chips, so it will be interesting to see how that compares to the white. I do suppose you could make this with canned hominy, but this seems to have more corn flavor that I remember from canned hominy. I’m going to enjoy trying out different seasonings here.

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