Red Posole

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If you live in LA, it’s likely you already know what posole is. If not, you can think of it as a soul food dish of Mexican cuisine, incorporating many of the classic elements of soul food: cheap ingredients, fatty or off cuts of meat, and surprisingly deep, rich flavors given the limited ingredients used. Posole is thought to have been made since the time of the Aztecs and, when I make it, I love thinking about the long history of people who stirred the bubbling pot of hominy and pork before me. I also love that it has adapted well to my modern, rushed life; I can make one pot of posole and freeze a bunch of it so that we have dinners for a long time. It holds extremely well.

This version of posole is dubbed ‘red’ because it incorporates a rich chile paste made from ancho and New Mexico chiles. When Bon Appetit published this recipe, they called it “party posole” because it’s the perfect no-fuss dish for entertaining. As for myself, I’m rather busy and don’t entertain as much as I like, so I prefer to make a big pot that feeds us over and over again.

A few notes on ingredients:

If you’re not familiar with hominy, it’s just corn that has been treated to a special process, just like the corn that is used to make tortillas and tamales. It is delicious. I used this one from Rancho Gordo because I find it superior in flavor and I love their growing and sourcing practices.

As for the pork, the recipe calls for country style ribs but, I have to be honest with you, I just used a bunch of pork trim I had lying around. Any pork shoulder cut will work- stew meat, coppa roast, picnic meat, pork butt, etc. Don’t be picky- it’s against the intention of the dish.

On the chiles: the Mexican market is the best place to buy good quality dried chiles. Sometimes Rancho Gordo has them in stock but, usually, they’re sold out. To get the seeds out, I usually cut the top off with a pair of scissors and shake the chiles over a bowl.

Red Posole

From Bon Appetit: see original recipe here

Ingredients:

Posole

  • 1 ½  lb dried large white hominy, soaked overnight
  • 2 large onions, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 3 Tbsp kosher salt, divided
  • 3.5 lb bone-in country-style pork ribs
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Chile Purée and Assembly

  • 2½ oz dried New Mexico chiles
  • 2½ oz ancho chiles
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus more
  • Avocado wedges, cilantro sprigs, thinly sliced cabbage, sliced jalapeños, sliced radishes, lime wedges, sour cream, tortilla chips, and hot sauce (for serving)

Instructions:

  1. Drain hominy and place in a large heavy pot; add onions, bay leaves, peppercorns, 2 Tbsp. salt, and 12 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, still covered, stirring occasionally, until hominy starts to soften (some skins will split), about 1 hour.
  2. Sprinkle pork all over with cumin and remaining 1 Tbsp. salt. Add to pot along with garlic. Partially cover pot and cook, stirring occasionally and adding more water as needed to keep ingredients covered, until hominy is tender and pork is fall-apart tender, about 2½ hours.
  3. While the posole is cooking, make the chile purée. Wearing gloves if you have them, remove stems from chiles and shake out and discard most of the seeds (for more heat, keep more seeds). Transfer to a large bowl and add onion and garlic; pour in boiling water to cover. Let sit until chiles are softened, about 30 minutes.
  4. Drain chile mixture, reserving soaking liquid, and transfer chiles, onion, and garlic to a blender. Add vinegar, brown sugar, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 cup soaking liquid and blend until smooth.
  5. When posole is done, remove pork, onions, and bay leaves from pot (keep posole simmering). Transfer pork to a plate; discard onions and bay leaves. Let pork cool slightly, then pick meat from bones, discarding any cartilage and larger pieces of fat. Shred meat into bite-size pieces and return to pot; discard bones.
  6. Stir chile purée into posole and let simmer 30 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Taste and season with more salt.
  7. Divide posole among bowls. Serve with avocado, cilantro, cabbage, jalapeños, radishes, lime wedges, sour cream, tortilla chips, and hot sauce alongside for topping.