Wednesday, May 5, 2010


     Posole is a classic Mexican stew made with a chile based broth containing large chunks of braised meat (chicken or pork), onions and hominy.  The stew is normally served with warm tortillas, fresh avocado, shredded fresh cabbage, diced onion, fresh cilantro, sliced radish, jalapeño, and a wedge of lime.  The interactive dining experience of the many interchangeable toppings is enjoyable for a party atmosphere.  Additionally, the warming spices and savory depth provides valued enrichment on a gloomy day.
     Epazote is often used in posole as an earthy aromatic. It has a very weedy smell which reminds me of summertime nettle and sage patches along the river.  I dried several bunches of epazote last fall and am surprised how fresh it still smells! 
     This stew has a two-part process consisting of braising the meat and cooking the soup base.  Since there are many fresh ingredients which are best prepared fresh, it is often helpful to braise the pork the day before (especially for a big batch) allowing plenty of time to chop.  
 Bone-in pork shoulder is ideal for a more tender, flavorful meat.  Roasted chicken makes for a fine substitution, however.  This dinner could be prepared with substitutions for ingredients but then it would be different, not quite as delicious.  As for the canned ingredients, I certainly don't like using them, but I don't like making lye either.  10 or 12 medium-sized fresh tomatoes could suitably replace the canned tomato puree, if added in with the steeped chiles and blended smooth.  Also, if you cannot find epazote at the farmers market, a small amount of fresh oregano, sage and cilantro will suffice.
     This recipe calls for two types of canned hominy or Nixtamal which is sold in most grocery stores.  Hominy is traditionally made by soaking dried corn kernels in a mildly alkaline solution such as lye or lime and water for several days until the skin bursts from the swelling and the hull can be removed. The corn must then be rinsed multiple times to remove any residual alkalinity.  Go here to learn how to make lye.  This is certainly one of those tasks that I leave to the industrial experts because I do not enjoy handling caustic materials very often.
     The listed recipe makes a lot of soup, which is perfect to freeze and enjoy later.  Or, have a group of friends over to make quick work of the delicious goodness.  You may wish to reduce the spiciness by removing the seeds or increase the spiciness by adding more chile.

Serves 10
(Makes over 2 gallons of soup)

Braised Pork
4-5 lb. bone-in pork shoulder
1 Spanish onion quartered
4 cups white wine
salt and pepper
1 quart water
1 Tbs olive/vegetable oil 

1/2 gallon (64 oz) chicken stock
1/2 gallon water, reserve 6 cups
2 cups (16 oz) tomato purée
(2) 15 oz cans white hominy
(2) 15 oz cans golden hominy
6 cloves garlic, grated fresh
2 Spanish onions, medium diced
8 dried chile de arbol
4 dried Ancho chile
2 Tbs ground cumin
small bunch fresh epazote (2 Tbs dried), leaves removed from the stem
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F

Season pork liberally with salt and pepper.

Place into deep pan with onion, wine and water.

Drizzle with oil and cover tightly with foil.

Cook for 4 hours at 400°F (check liquid levels at 2 and 3 hours.)

Let stand in the liquid to cool, remove from bone and chop wide, cross-grain cuts (short strands of meat fibers.)

Place chiles, stem removed, in small pot with 6 cups water, bring to a boil and let stand 10 minutes.

Blend till smooth, strain into large soup pot.

Combine chicken stock, water and chile, bring to a boil.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes, till tender.

Season with salt to taste.  Adjust by adding liquid if necessary.

Add pork, simmer another 5 min.  Cover, let stand for at least 30 minutes.

Serve hot with:
Fresh chopped cabbage
" avocado
" cilantro
" minced onion
" sliced jalapeño
" " radish
a wedge of lime
and warm corn tortillas.

Oh, and a cold cerveza!


  1. You made this for us and it was fantastic!!!
    Thanks for the recipe.
    Mrs. Gallagher loved the recipe also and is planning to cook it as well.

    Thanks John

  2. You're very welcome! I am glad you enjoyed it, next time we will try it with fresh seafood. Though probably in California instead of Wyoming. :)