For some reason, I woke in the mood for Posole, so I turned to my friends Del and Isabel, who know this stuff like nobody else I know – It is TO DIE FOR when done right, and this one’s right. I have tweaked the recipe very, very slightly, (just for a couple of process points, really), so you’re getting’ the real thing here, Del approved!
Del’s Posole Auténtico
Combine in a nice big pot and soak overnight;
2 cups posole, (dried hominy)
6 cups of water
If you can’t get dried hominy, substitute 4 cups of canned
Take 1 pound of pork shoulder and cut it into ½” cubes.
Place pork in a hot pan with enough olive oil to coat the bottom and brown the meat thoroughly. Remove the pork to a bowl.
reduce heat to medium-low and add to the pan;
1 small onion, fine diced.
Sweat the onions for about 5 minutes until they just start to get translucent.
What The… Moment: Sweating versus Sautéing.
What is sweating and why would we do that? And for that matter, why wouldn’t we just sauté?
Sweating is taking your food and cooking it briefly, covered over relatively low heat, as opposed to sautéing, which is cooking briefly, uncovered, over somewhat higher heat.
Sweating retains moisture from, in this case, the onions, because the covered pan traps the steam generated by cooking and drops it back onto the food, thereby concentrating flavors that would be lost by sautéing. When we sweat, we don’t want browning, we just want to get things loosened up and ready to do serious work down the line!
Add to the onions,
3 to 5 cloves of garlic, minced
Cover again and let cook for a few minutes more, just to incorporate everything.
Combine hominy and water with your pork and veggies in your big pot.
1 to 2 tablespoons of good quality chili powder, (Del recommends Pendery’s Original or Top Hat).
Start with roughly ½ tablespoon, stir it into the mix and taste to see where you’re at; add more as you see fit.
1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
Salt to taste, (Go easy here; a little goes a long way here – Use salt in this recipe just to brighten the flavors and the blend, not to make it salty!)
If you used dry posole, simmer on low heat for a couple of hours, until the kernels have popped open: With canned posole, 20-30 minutes should do the trick, assuming you really did brown your pork well!
Serve hot with a nice fresh salsa or pico de gallo.
Del says: “In some parts of Mexico it would be tradition to serve this with garnishes including chopped cilantro, limes, thinly sliced radishes, even shredded cabbage. I don’t do any of that because I like it like it is.
If you can stand it, cooking one day and heating it back up and serving it the next is even better than right away but, at my house I’m lucky to get one bowl of leftover. I can’t swear to the authenticity of this because every abuelita has her own version and they’re all different: All I can say is that my very traditional Mexican mother-in-law approves of mine.”
I have wolfed down this wonderful stuff for years and I agree completely with the chef!
Some folks like to add tomato paste to the pork while browning, while others add canned tomatoes or sauce to the mix while simmering, but this is not in keeping with Del’s recipe; if you feel you need to, then do, but try it his way first!
Fresh or preserved chiles can be added to the mix; if fresh, chop into roughly ¼” dice and sweat with your onions and garlic, but watch the heat! If you use preserved, then reconstitute if dried or thaw if frozen and add to the mix while simmering – skin, seed and strip the membranes. Once again, Del chooses to have the chile and tomato influence introduced by a nice fresh salsa, and I agree!