Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Hominy, Hominy, I Think You Dropped A Bomb on Me!"

As I write this, I can almost hear my husband rapping that phrase – which he invariably does when I make this soup.  Oh, and there’s a little dance that goes along with it.  I’m sure he will be thrilled I am telling you that.
Unless you frequent authentic Mexican restaurants, where this soup is typically only made on weekends, you may not have heard of Posole’.   Posole’ in Mexico is what we call hominy.  It’s a white corn, with distinctive, yet somehow mild flavor and texture.  The recipe, along with a lot of raunchy phrases in Spanish, were taught to me by the women I worked with in a manufacturing plant 25 years ago.  I have made it (and swore in Spanish, come to think of it) at least once per year ever since.  There’s nothing like coming home to an Army-sized vat of this soup on a cold day, which is why Nick tends to break into a little song and dance. 
I am going to publish here, for the first time, a vegetarian version – which could easily become vegan with one small change.  The original variety is very meaty, caloric and expensive to make if you do not stock multiple varieties of dried peppers in your cabinet.  I hope you find my updated, ultra-healthy version something you make throughout winter to warm you up.
What you’ll need:
-Large stockpot
-2 to 3 Chicken bouillon- try Knorr brand soft cubes (or vegetable broth for vegan) 
-A good 2 lbs. of tomatillos (green tomatoes).  Husks removed and rinsed, left whole.
-A few regular tomatoes, any variety, cut in half (this is a great thing to do with overripe ones)
-One large or two small onions, peeled and cut into quarters
-Crushed red pepper, black pepper, minced garlic, ground cumin….all at your discretion.  I’d say about a teaspoon of each.
-2 to 3   15.5 oz cans of Hominy, drained.  Bush’s is fine, or there are some Mexican brands (I can’t tell the difference)
What to do:    In the stockpot, place all tomatoes, onions, bouillon and spices and cover with cold water.  Bring to boil and let simmer until tomatillos “explode”.  They will get soft and seeds will spill out.  Let cool slightly.
Ladle the pot contents into blender.  It may take more than one fill up to blend it all, and it’s okay to leave the bulk of the water in the pot, as you are only trying to blend the tomatoes and onion.  Pulverize it and put back in stockpot.
Bring it back to a boil and pour in the hominy.  Stir well and it’s done!
Now, here the fun part.  When serving the truly Mexican version, provide one or preferably ALL of the following fresh “condiments” to go on top of the hot soup.  It’s like a salad on your soup. 
-squeeze of lime (this one is pretty much mandatory)
-Tabasco or other favorite hot sauce for the inevitable person who wants it hotter.
-sliced avocado
-sliced radishes
-finely shredded green or purple cabbage
-finely chopped onion
-Chihuahua cheese
-corn tortillas for dipping
Try serving this at one of your football gatherings this winter.  It’s a real crowd pleaser, and you’ll get points for thinking outside the “chili” box!

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