Posole: A Spicy,Tangy Mexican Winter Soup Redolent with Hominy
Posole is a classic Mexican soup in which hominy fills the place usually taken by noodles, rice, or other grains.
What is hominy? It is a preparation of the Native American staple, corn.
According to Wikipedia, "The English term hominy is derived from the Powhatan language word for prepared maize.
"To make hominy, field corn (maize) grain is dried, then treated by soaking and cooking the mature (hard) grain in a dilute solution of lye, slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) or wood ash, a process termed nixtamalization." Nixtamalization makes corn more nutritious, too. "in addition to providing a source of dietary calcium, the lime reacts with the corn so that the nutrient niacin can be assimilated by the digestive tract. While consumption of untreated corn is a risk factor in predisposition to pellagra, the risk is dramatically reduced or eliminated by nixtamalization....The earliest known usage of nixtamalization was in what is present-day southern Mexico and Guatemala around 1500–1200 BC." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hominy)
Posole, this slightly exotic tangy soup made with hominy, was an instant family favorite at our house. Hominy is wonderfully fragrant when cooking, filling your home with a rich, warm scent--which is in itself almost enough reason to make this soup. Plus is is also redolent with garlic, which we love--and is so good for you in winter.
Many people make posole with red chile sauce, which makes a red colored soup. I prefer to use salsa verde instead, for the richer flavor imparted by the tomatillos.
Posole is traditionally made with pork, but chicken meat and broth can be substituted. I usually make posole with the meat left over from our family's favorite roasted pork tenderloin dish, but it can be made from pork tenderloin purchased especially for this dish, or with leftover meat from other pork dishes.
Since so many of the ingredients in this soup come from cans, it makes an especially quick and easy dinner--and this is especially true if you make it with leftover pork that has already been browned.
This soup makes a fast, easy and hearty one-dish meal, but is especially nice served with a salad (especially guacamole!), fresh winter fruit, such as pear wedges, or even with cornbread--or your favorite fancy pepper-cornbread.
1 pound pork
2-3 bunches scallions, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jar Herdez Salsa Verde
4 cans yellow hominy, with liquid
1 small can chopped green chiles
1 tsp. oregano
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
Lime juice (either lime wedges or bottled lime juice will do)
Water enough to make soup
Salt to taste
Brown the pork and onions in a little oil and put in a soup pot. Add all other ingredients except fresh cilantro and lime juice. Add enough water to make a nice, rich soup.
Bring to a boil, and reduce heat and simmer until the meat is done.
Add fresh cilantro at the end of cooking.
Taste to check how salty it is and adjust salt, if needed.
You can either add 2-3 tablespoons lime juice to the soup, if desired, or serve with fresh lime wedges or bottled lime juice to be added at the table. For me, the salsa verde alone provides just the right hint of "sour," but lime juice adds its own special fragrance and tang.