Posole is a thick soup that’s made with pork, hominy, garlic, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, and broth, from the Pacific coast of Mexico.

My brother made this two weeks ago over a camp fire. He used pinto beans, but suggested I try making it with hominy instead. I’m not sure how authentic my version is, since I’m pretty much not allowed to cook anything too spicy if I expect my wife to eat it. Also, both of us hate the taste of cilantro, which is a dominant flavor in most of the recipes I’ve come across. I brined my pork before starting, but if you’re strapped for time, just season your pork with salt and pepper before starting. As with all dishes like this, it’s always better the second night. Serves 6-8 hungry diners or 12 normal ones. (Weight Watchers, 1 serving : 10 points.)

2-3 lbs. pork shoulder, trimmed of excess visible fat
2 T oil
½ bottle beer
4-6 cups water
1 large onion, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 strips bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic
½ T ground cumin
1 t chili powder
2 t smoked paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
3 T flour
1 can diced tomato
2 cans hominy, drained

Heat up a dutch oven with oil, and brown the pork shoulder on all sides — about 5 minutes a side. Remove the pork, discard the grease, and deglaze the pot with the beer. Return the pork to the pot, and cover with the water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 45 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms. Remove the pork to cool, and reserve the broth, skimming off excess fat.

Without the broth, in the same pan, brown the bacon until the bacon fat is rendered. Remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon, and save with the pork. Augment with olive oil if necessary, and cook the chopped vegetables until transluscent. Add the spices, and the flour, and stir until moistened. Add the tomato with the juice, plus 4 cups of the reserved broth. Cut the pork shoulder into 1 inch cubes, removing any bones and large chunks of fat, and add back into the pot along with the bacon. Stir in the 2 cans of hominy, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

If you want to make this spicier, you can add some diced jalepeno when you add the onions to the pan.

Chili Experiment #1

chilipeppers.jpgSo I tried my hand at making chili today, without a recipe. It turned out pretty well, but I think it could have used a little more heat. Here’s what I did…

First I put a couple of dried chilies into a 350° oven for about 10 minutes. I’d read that this sort of brightens their flavor a bit, and is supposed to add some smoky undertones. Not sure if that happened. I used two kinds Guajillo and Cascabel, a couple toasted and a couple not, with their stems and seeds removed, then ground up in my spice grinder. I also had some ground Allepo chilies, too.

Then I took a large sweet onion and chopped it pretty thoroughly in the food processor, along with an orange bell pepper and three cloves of garlic. I put that in my dutch oven with a little olive oil, and cooked it over medium heat. I cut 2lbs of brisket into 1″ cubes, removing the larger pieces of fat from each piece, and browned them in a cast iron pan. To the onions, I added a whole can of tomato paste, 2T of the chili powder, 1 T of oregano, and 1T of ground cumin, plus some salt and pepper. I let the tomato paste cook a bit, then added the beef and a can of Guinness Stout — (admittedly, not a very mexican touch), plus, 2T of dark chocolate cocoa powder. I stirred all of this together, and let it come to a boil, and then I put in in the 350 oven with the lid on. After about 2 hours, I could smell that the liquid had cooked down quite a bit, so I pulled it out, and let it cool, since I wasn’t going to be eating for awhile.

A couple hours later, I soaked up what grease had floated to the surface with a paper towel, and then put it back on the heat. I was afraid it wouldn’t be substantial enough, and considered making some rice, but ultimately added a can of black beans, rinsed.

Ok. Not exactly authentic. But it tasted pretty good. Next time, I think I’ll skip the Guinness and add some tomato sauce and some water instead. I also think it could have used a bit more heat… though my wife is pretty sensitive to spicy food. We’ll see. What’s your favorite chili recipe?