Recipe: Simple New Mexico Red Posole

Jun 13, 2013 by     7 Comments    Posted under: Main Course Recipes, Recipes, Soup Recipes
New Mexico Posole

New Mexico Posole

Have you eaten posole (also spelled pozole) before?  If not, you owe it to yourself to make it.  Its rich and savory broth is delicious and extremely satisfying, and combines with co-ingredients, meat and hominy, in the most delightful way.  Perhaps that’s why its popularity dates back well over a thousand years.  Once reserved only for special occasions, especially Christmas, posole is now eaten any time of the year, and is especially popular in New Mexico, which is where my fiance, Sadie, learned to love and make it.  It is her recipe that I share today, one which she modified from Cook’s Illustrated with some tips from some old New Mexican grandmothers she met while living there.

Posole / Pozole History

For a simple chili-based stew, Posole has a long and colorful history.  Its main ingredient, hominy, is where it all started.  Hominy is field corn (maize) which as been soaked in a slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) solution.  Anciently, wood ash was also used, as it has similar high alkaline properties to that of lime.  The alkaline environment breaks down the maize cells, releases some of the corn oil, allows the corn proteins to bond with each other, makes the niacin and other vitamins more digestible by the human body, and kills the germ so that the hominy can be stored for long periods of time without the risk of sprouting.  Pretty cool.  This alkaline soaking process creates a swelling of the maize kernels, and once dried, can be cooked in dishes like posole, or ground into grits and/or masa.  Maize which has not gone through this process will not form a dough when mixed with water, which is why corn tortillas are made out of masa and not corn meal.  This process dates back to around 1500 BC, and was even used by the Native American’s, particularly the Cherokees.

Hominy played such an important role in the ancient Mexican and South American people’s diet that maize was considered a sacred plant by many of them.  According to Wikipediea, the Aztecs were particularly “fond” of posole:  “Since maize was a sacred plant for the Aztecs and other inhabitants of Mesoamerica, pozole was made to be consumed on special occasions. The conjunction of maize (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars because the ancient Mexicans believed the gods made humans out of masa (cornmeal dough). According to research by the National Institute of Anthropology and History and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, on these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human.  After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with maize. The meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the Conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat as it “tasted very similar”, according to a Spanish priest.”

I’m glad the pork eventually become the meat of choice for today’s posole!  But I find it fascinating that posole is still reserved for special “ritual” occasions like Christmas.

Best Easy Posole Recipe

  • 4 dried ancho/pasilla chilies
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 3 pounds boneless pork (shoulder, butt, picnic, country style ribs, etc.)
  • 4 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
  • Two 29 ounce cans white hominy, rinsed
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder (optional)
  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Serving Toppings

  • Mexican cotija cheese, crumbled
  • fresh limes
  • Mexican crema
  • Diced avocado
  • chopped radishes
  • shredded cabbage
  • chopped cilantro
Posole Ingredients

Posole Ingredients

New Mexico Posole Toppings

New Mexico Posole Toppings

 

How to make New Mexico Red Posole

Bake the ancho chilies at 350° for 6 minutes.  Pull from oven, allow to cool a bit, then remove the stems and seeds.  Place the chilies in 1 cup of chicken stock, and microwave for 2 minutes.  Soak for 10-15 minutes until soft.

Roast Ancho Chilies

Roast Ancho Chilies

Measure Chicken Broth

Measure Chicken Broth

Reconstitute Chilies in Chicken Broth

Reconstitute Chilies in Chicken Broth

Meanwhile, dice the pork into bite-sized pieces.  Warm 3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.  Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides in the hot oil, and set aside.

Cube Pork for Posole

Cube Pork for Posole

Brown Pork in Dutch Oven for Posole

Brown Pork in Dutch Oven for Posole

Remove Browned Pork from Pan and Set Aside for Posole

Remove Browned Pork from Pan and Set Aside for Posole

Add 1 tablespoon of lard or vegetable oil into a large pot, heat until hot, and add onion.  Cook the onion for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and place in a food processor along with the chilies and chicken stock they were soaking in.  Puree until smooth, adding more chicken stock as needed.

Coarsely Chop Onions for Posole

Coarsely Chop Onions for Posole

Brown Onions and then Add Garlic

Brown Onions and then Add Garlic

Puree Chilies, Onion and Garlic in Food Processor

Puree Chilies, Onion and Garlic in Food Processor

Place the browned pork, chili puree, remaining chicken broth, oregano, and salt and pepper to the pot, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low.  Simmer until meat is tender, 2-3 hours.

Add Oregano and Chili Paste to Pork for Posole

Add Oregano and Chili Paste to Pork for Posole

Add Chicken Broth to Pork and Chili Paste for Posole

Add Chicken Broth to Pork and Chili Paste for Posole

Once meat is tender, add the rinsed hominy and cook for another 30 minutes.  If you taste the broth before you add the hominy and compare to after the hominy has cooked in it, you will be amazed at the complex corn flavor the hominy adds to the broth.

Drain Hominy in Colander

Drain Hominy in Colander

Remove from heat and add lime juice.  Season to taste as needed with additional salt and pepper.

Juice Limes to Add to Posole

Juice Limes to Add to Posole

Serve in large bowls while hot.  Add the serving toppings, or allow your guests to top their own.

Bowl of New Mexico Red Posole

Bowl of New Mexico Red Posole

 

Recipe by Sadie Clift, June 2013

 

The Bald Gourmet shares his fiance’s delicious recipe for Simple New Mexico Red Posole.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Recipe: Simple New Mexico Red Posole
 
Have you eaten posole (also spelled pozole) before? If not, you owe it to yourself to make it. Its rich and savory broth is delicious and extremely satisfying, and combines with co-ingredients, meat and hominy, in the most delightful way. Perhaps that’s why its popularity dates back well over a thousand years. Once reserved only for special occasions, especially Christmas, posole is now eaten any time of the year, and is especially popular in New Mexico, which is where my wife learned to love and make it. It is her recipe that I share today, one which she modified from Cook’s Illustrated with some tips from some old New Mexican grandmothers she met while living there.
Author:
Recipe type: Soup; Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican

Ingredients
  • 4 dried ancho/pasilla chilies
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 3 pounds boneless pork (shoulder, butt, picnic, country style ribs, etc.)
  • 4 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
  • Two 29 ounce cans white hominy, rinsed
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder (optional)
  • 5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Mexican cotija cheese, crumbled
  • fresh limes
  • Mexican crema
  • Diced avocado
  • chopped radishes
  • shredded cabbage
  • chopped cilantro

Instructions
  1. Bake the ancho chilies at 350° for 6 minutes. Pull from oven, allow to cool a bit, then remove the stems and seeds.
  2. Place the chilies in 1 cup of chicken stock, and microwave for 2 minutes. Soak for 10-15 minutes until soft.
  3. Meanwhile, dice the pork into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Warm 3 tablespoons lard or vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.
  5. Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides in the hot oil, and set aside.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of lard or vegetable oil into a large pot, heat until hot, and add onion.
  7. Cook the onion for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Remove from heat and place in a food processor along with the chilies and chicken stock they were soaking in.
  9. Puree until smooth, adding more chicken stock as needed.
  10. Place the browned pork, chili puree, remaining chicken broth, oregano, and salt and pepper to the pot, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low.
  11. Simmer until meat is tender, 2-3 hours.
  12. Once meat is tender, add the rinsed hominy and cook for another 30 minutes. If you taste the broth before you add the hominy and compare to after the hominy has cooked in it, you will be amazed at the complex corn flavor the hominy adds to the broth.
  13. Remove from heat and add lime juice.
  14. Season to taste as needed with additional salt and pepper.
  15. Serve in large bowls while hot. Top with cotija cheese, limes, crema, avocado, radishes, cabbage, and cilantro table-side , or allow your guests to top their own.

7 Comments + Add Comment

  • Hi Jothan,
    I finally got around to making this posole. The flavor was very good but the anchos alone didn’t supply enough heat for a couple of chili heads like my wife and me. My old recipe used some kind of hot chili paste I had to prepare and add as needed. Most of the good restaurant posole I have had came to the table with the paste floating on top and you stirred it in. That said I just need to get the heat up a little. I’m thinking of chili pequin or maybe cayanne. Cholula was too much vinegar. Any suggestions? Again, very nice pictures. Without the comments the recipe still ran 10 pages with the instructions under the pictures so I had to print the whole thing, but that’s OK. I’ve been using Kitchen Basics soup stocks for years. I never noticed the Kirkland brand in Costco. They assure me they’ve got it. If you’ve ever tried Kitchen Basics how do they compare? I also made the herbed eggs-good.
    Regards
    Jeff

    • True, it is pretty mild posole. Chili piquin or even chili de arbol would probably do the trick of heating things up very nicely. Try adding a few with the anchos when seeping and making the paste. Alternately, you could make an extra side paste of hot chilies and mix table side like you mentioned.

      As for the stock, I started using Costco’s for two reasons: it was cheap; and it has very few ingredients in it. I hate all the fake crap so many stocks include, and their prices are usually quite high, so Costco’s was a perfect find for me. However, I usually make my own stock and freeze in ice cubes to keep on hand. But I always keep a few boxes of stock on hand for those times I run out of homemade. Cooks Illustrated didn’t give Kitchen Basics a very good review, but liked the Better Than Bouillon paste. I just bought some based on their info, but haven’t used it yet.

      Glad you’re trying out some Bald recipes. :)

    • Hi Jeff. Just though I’d let you know that I added a new “print” feature on The Bald Gourmet for our Posole Recipe. Might make it easier for you for next time.

  • I love posole. I’ve got to try this one. When I made it I had a very complex recipe. It came out good but what a pain. Now I use plan B: Maria’s Taqueria in Jamesburg NJ. Great posole. Sorry Joan it’s pretty far from Boise. This recipe looks like a keeper, thanks.

    • Jeff, next time I’m in New Jersey…..

      I hope you like this simple version. It’s easy, but has great flavor.

  • Beautiful photos…any restaurants in the Boise area that serve a good version?

    • H Joan. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a great posole in the Boise area, other than your kitchen when you make this recipe. Ha!

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The Bald Gourmet Mug

I'm Jothan Yeager and I am The Bald Gourmet. After years of experimenting in my kitchen, creating delicious food and eating at amazing places around the world, I wanted a place to share my experiences with everyone. Thus the Bald Gourmet was born. I hope to open the doors of great food and great cooking to you, to inspire you to reach beyond prepared boxed meals, and to teach you of a world of deliciousness that has brought joy to me and those around me. Please enjoy the adventure which is The Bald Gourmet and share it with those you love.