Friday, August 14, 2009
Pining for Posole
I don't know about you, but I get hankerings. And since Mexico is one of my favorite places on the planet, its tastes and smells are a frequent source of my cravings. Somehow the flavors of lime, chiles and cilantro slap me upside the head and suddenly I'm sitting on the rooftop at El Nido in Puerto Vallarta looking out over the Bahia de Banderas or zipping through the streets of Mazatlan with street vendors hawking fish and freshly made tortillas.
On the Plazuela Machado in Mazatlan.
So when I saw a package of dried corn at my local New Seasons Market, it was like running across a doorway into Mexico right there in the aisle. I saw the table under the palms in the Plazuela Machado, the waiters carrying big trays over their heads to their waiting customers, the evening breeze carrying the smell of meat simmered all day in a sauce of dark red chiles.
Needless to say, the little package came home along with a couple of pounds of pork shoulder. A few hours of simmering, to build anticipation as much as anything, and we sat down to our dinner. In Mexico.
12 oz. dried posole or hominy
6-8 dried ancho chiles
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp. oregano
Salt to taste
2-3 lbs. pork shoulder cut in 1 1/2" cubes
Juice of 1 lime
Put dried posole into non-reactive bowl or Dutch oven and cover with water. Soak overnight. Drain posole and put back in Dutch oven in enough salted water to cover. Bring to boil and simmer for at least 2 hours until softened. Drain and reserve.
Remove seeds, ribs and stems from chiles and tear into large pieces. Place in heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water. After half an hour, when chiles are soft and somewhat cooled, drain them, reserving the liquid. Put chiles, onion, oregano and garlic in bowl of food processor and process, adding reserved chile-soaking liquid to make it a thick sauce. Season to taste with salt.
Add meat and chile sauce to cooked hominy in Dutch oven and stir to combine, adding more chile-soaking liquid or water if needed. Bring to a boil on the stove, lower heat and simmer for two hours or until meat can be mashed with a wooden spoon. Stir in lime juice and serve with rice and tortillas.