Rich and hearty posole starts with nothing more than a can of hominy and some broth. Posole can take as little as 1 hour to make on the stove top if you've cooked the meat ahead of time, or up to 8 hours if you use a slow cooker. Despite its longer cooking time, the slow cooker has an advantage in that you can leave it untended for several hours without fear of the soup burning. Either way, the actual prep time for posole is quicker than many soups since it contains just a few ingredients.
Low and Slow Roasting
Posole isn't difficult to make, but it does involve several steps. The first -- and longest -- step to making posole on your stovetop is cooking the pork or chicken. You want the meat to be fork tender so you can shred or dice it. Cook the meat in the oven on low heat for two to four hours, depending on the size of the meat. Place the meat in a covered roasting pan. The chicken should reach at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and pork should reach 145 F or higher. When done, the meat should tear apart easily. Add some liquid, such as broth or water, while the meat cooks to keep it moist. If you like, you can prepare the meat the day before, shred it and refrigerate it overnight.
When the meat is done, add a bit of oil to a skillet and heat over medium high heat. Saute the onions and garlic until the onions are tender and translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir the vegetables frequently, and watch them so they don't burn. Garlic, in particular, burns easily and becomes bitter.
Putting It Together
Canned hominy is dried corn that's been rehydrated and canned. It comes out of the can with a soft and chewy texture, and doesn't need long cooking. Once the onions and garlic are tender, simply combine and heat the remaining ingredients, which typically include the shredded meat and hominy, plus broth, tomatoes, chili peppers and spices. Bring the mixture to a low simmer in a heavy saucepan, and cook until the flavors have melded -- typically 30 minutes to an hour.
Although traditional posole recipes don't always call for it, thickening posole with cornstarch makes for a more satisfying soup. Best of all, this extra step adds no more than five minutes to the cooking time. Combine cornstarch and cold water in a bowl to make a slurry. Stir the slurry into the simmering soup, and stir until it thickens. Serve posole with tortilla chips, shredded cheese and chopped cilantro.
If you've got the time, another option for making posole is in the slow cooker. Cut the raw meat into 1/2 inch pieces, and combine it with the other ingredients in the slow cooker. Heat the soup on low for 6 to 8 hours, or until the meat is tender. Turn the slow cooker to high, and add the cornstarch slurry during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
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- Bon Appetit: Classic Posole
- Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook; Beth Hensperger, et al.
- Three Many Cooks: What is Canned Hominy
- Food Safety.gov: Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures
Julie Christensen is a food writer, caterer, and mom-chef. She's the creator of MarmaladeMom.org, dedicated to family fun and delicious food, and released a book titled "More Than Pot Roast: Fast, Fresh Slow Cooker Recipes."