Posole is a stew of pork, hominy, and red chile, popular in the southwestern US. It is a blend of Spanish (mainly pork) and native ingedients (corn and chile). There are probably almost as many recipes as there are people who make it, but here is mine. This version is a rich, smokey stew. It has become my traditional New Years Day meal, as it is perfect on a blustery winter day.
- 1.5 pounds pork, preferably tenderloin or loin (see notes)
- 3 cups drained whole hominy (a 30 oz can or 2 15.5 oz cans)
- 3 cups finely diced white or yellow onion
- 4 – 5 cloves garlic, finely chopped (should make around 1 Tablespoon, or more to taste)
- 2 Tablespoons ground New Mexico red chile (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 6 cups water
- I normally use smoked pork tenderloin for this. Use a dry rub of brown sugar, new mexico chile powder, garlic powder, and salt and smoke until temperature is 165 F. I usually have enough left for a meal of just the tenderloin, which is quite good this way. This adds some mild sweetness and a smoky undertone, but is optional – you can use raw tenderloin or loin, just cook a bit longer to make sure the meat is done.
- If you can get actual posole corn, use it instead of the canned hominy. That also requires longer cooking, as much as 2 – 2.5 hours total time.
- Red chile is a key ingredient and shouldn’t be omitted. It can be as mild or hot as you like. For this dish I prefer the mild New Mexico chiles, mixed with a bit of ancho for a more complex flavor. You could mix in hot New Mexico chile, or any other ground red chile, but the main one should be New Mexico (hot or mild, or both). These are available in whole form at many grocers, and can be seeded and ground in a spice/coffee grinder (do not use this for coffee afterward!). I get ground chile from savoryspice.com. Outside of the U.S. you could probably substitute sweet and hot paprika, and maybe mixed with a bit of smoked Spanish paprika. I’ve never tried this so I don’t actually know how it would come out.
In a large dutch oven saute the onion in a bit of olive oil until it is starting to become transparent. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Then add the cumin, salt, pork, water, and hominy. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and lower heat. Simmer for about 1 hour if using smoked pork, and up to 2 hours for raw pork. If using posole corn instead of hominy, continue cooking until it has all exploded out of the shells. Near the end of cooking, taste, and add salt as needed.
Serve with crackers, or flour tortillas to soak up the broth.