Friday, October 16, 2009

Peace and Hominy

There may be nothing more comforting than having a bubbling crockpot full of hominy stew. Except perhaps two bubbling crockpots full of hominy stew.

I've been making such meals ever since having the posole at Ole in Inman Square, and I have to say that I'm quite pleased with my results. I've used both beef bones and chicken legs and each has yielded a rich, buttery broth. After a long simmer, the hominy surrenders its starch to the surrounding liquid, and the whole thing tastes like the best corn tortilla.

I've also been using Amanda's slow cooked soup plus fresh garnish theory, which I think I can now call the slow cooked soup plush fresh garnish law. One day, Amanda thought "It seems like such a waste to make stock out of ingredients like vegetables that you could eat instead." And then she thought "What if you could make stock out of something that you wouldn't otherwise eat, like bones and spices?"

So she started making soups with just a spiced bone broth and finishing it with herbs and veggies at the very end, thereby creating the perfect yin and yang of slow cooked richness and last minute freshness.

Here's how my posole works, and I'm open to other suggestions. I brown a few chicken thighs and do the same with onion, garlic and cumin seeds. That all goes into a crockpot with the hominy (previously soaked overnight), a large can of tomatoes, a dried chile, salt and a splash of some leftover wine or vinegar. I forget about it pretty much all day, then take the meat off the bone, reintroduce it, and serve with chopped cilantro, diced raw onion, and lime wedges. It is divine.

Here's the one problem: when the chicken is falling off the bone and everything else is just perfect, the hominy still needs to keep going. What I've been doing is finishing it on the stove on higher heat once I take the chicken out, but it would be nice to get everything to finish at the same time (single entendre). I suppose I could just start the whole thing earlier - any thoughts?


Recipe: Posole (At Least I Think It's Posole - Call It Hominy Stew to Be Safe)
serves 4

The stew:

12 oz of hominy, soaked overnight
4 chicken thighs
1 28 oz can of tomatoes
2 cups water
2 onions
1 whole garlic clove
2 tbsp cumin seed
1 whole, dried, chile pepper
salt to taste
a splash of wine or a slightly smaller splash of balsamic or wine vinegar
2 tbsp pimenton

The garnish:

1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
1/4 diced, raw onion
1 lime, cut into wedges

1. Brown your chicken thighs, onions, garlic, and cumin seed.

2. Add the above to a crockpot with everything else in the stew list.

3. Simmer on "high," about forever.

4. Remove the chicken and shred like pulled pork. Put it back as such.

5. Serve with the garnish.

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Max Falkowitz said...

Have you tried using the "low" setting instead? That may give the hominy enough time, and I don't think it'll do any damage to the other ingredients.

marlena said...

You could also try bringing the hominy to a boil after it soaks overnight and let it soak for another hour in the hot water, like you do with beans you fogot to soak last night.

Kailie said...

ak-i just checked your blog to see what you are up to, and so delighted to find posole, which i just discovered last week and is my new absolute favorite food. also good garnishes include avocado and sliced radish. i was just going on to soph about it being the perfect blend of winter and summer. be well.

Karen B said...

the only kind of hominy I've ever used in posole is canned. I make the recipe on Canadian, which is really good. Are you using a different kind of hominy? My recipe calls for salsa verde--which I'm guessing the tomatoes in yours are similar to. This sounds really good in the crockpot, and like less work!

Karen B said...

the Barefoot Contessa also has a recipe, which I haven't tried. I am suspicious because she calls it "Mexican Chicken Soup" rather than posole.

Jeff (Chowplay) said...

Good timing Aaron. I'd never cooked with hominy before, but just got my starter pack from Rancho Gordo (heirloom beans) and tossed in a package of hominy for good measure. Maybe I'll start with this, and see where things go.