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Friday, February 11, 2011


I’m pretty sure I’m committing heresy, but I mix red and green ingredients in my posole.  Gasp!  I also include vegetables which is something my husband’s new Mexico-raised grandmother never did.  Inauthentic, but so good!

I have a tile from a store in New Mexico with a recipe for posole on it that has 6 ingredients: pork, onion, garlic, hominy, chile pods and salt.  My recipe is slightly more complicated than that.  It’s an adaptation of a vegetarian three-sisters sort of recipe that calls for beans and squash in addition to the characteristic hominy.  I use meat (beef  back ribs, short ribs, pork shoulder, pork sirloin roast) instead of beans and beef broth, but keep the extra veggies and seasonings.
This recipe, like most chilis, soups and stews, has a variety of stopping points and can accommodate your schedule beautifully.  Today, I chopped, measured and grouped in the morning to cook in the evening.  You can also chop and measure ingredients and freeze them as a meal kit.  You can also cook this dish entirely in advance and freeze it, so that all you have to do with it is thaw and warm it.  Though chiles are notorious for getting hotter with freezing, so consider yourself warned!
As for handling the broth if you intend to prep-ahead and freeze a kit…you’ve got three choices.  1) Use canned/boxed broth, just label the can or box and store it on the pantry shelf to pull when you do the posole.  2) Freeze homemade (or store-bought) broth in ice cube trays and portion out about 1 quart of cubes to include in the freezer kit (1 standard ice cube tray holds about 2 cups of liquid).  This is a good method if you’re prepping several meals ahead that require broth, though it will take up more room in the freezer.  3) Use granules or bouillon cubes and add the appropriate amount to the squash/chile component.  When you cook, add 1 quart of water.  This saves a lot of freezer room.
Posole (serves 6-8)
3 dried Sandia chile pods (or other mild dried chile, such as ancho or pasilla)
1 tbsp oil
2 lbs. bone-in pork shoulder cut into cubes, beef ribs, short ribs
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp dry thyme
1 tsp dry oregano
1 acorn squash (or other small winter squash), peeled and coarsely chopped
½ cup salsa verde (store-bought is fine, I just happen to have homemade)
2 15-oz. cans hominy, drained
4 cups beef stock (or 2 tsp. granules or 2 cubes bouillon + 1 quart water)
Accompaniments: chopped cilantro, diced avocado, sliced green onions, diced tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, corn bread
Cut the stems off the chiles and shake out the seeds.  Reconstitute them in hot water for about 1 hour.  Coarsely chop them and set aside.

If freezing a meal kit, combine the chopped onion, garlic, celery, and spices in one vacu-seal or zip-top bag.  Combine the chiles, squash and bouillon (if using) into another bag.  Double-bag the meat and place into a larger bag with the two ingredient bags and freeze.  Make sure to label the hominy cans, salsa verde and beef broth (if using) for storage in the pantry.

When ready to cook, sear the meat in the oil in a large pot until well-browned on all sides.  Set meat aside to cool slightly.  If using ribs, cut the ribs into serving pieces.  (Today I'm using a cut of pork that the local farm processor labels "loin end roast".)

Saute the onion, garlic, celery and spices until soft, adding more oil if necessary.  Add the chiles and squash and stir until combined.  Add the broth, salsa verde and hominy and simmer 1 ½-2 hours.  Add any desired garnishes to serve.

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