Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Yesterday was Election Day.  This presidential race has been a particularly nasty one; not just among the candidates, but also among my friends and acquaintances.  My Facebook news feed has been jammed with political arguments for months now.  I have heard people say such hateful, awful things in the name of politics. I feel this is the real problem with America right now--people are unwilling to compromise or allow themselves to really hear other people's point of view (and I can be guilty of these things too).  We spend so much time arguing that we are the ones who are right, that we do not take the time to really listen to the other side.  After all, we do not live in a world of black and white, but in a world made up of shades of gray.  Anyways, I knew last night, as the votes were tallied, there would be a frenzy of finger pointing and anger all over the country.  Wanting to avoid all the negativity, I knew of one sure-fire solution:  Posole night!  

Posole is a Mexican stew that is cooked for at least 3 hours; preferably longer.  You take your first bite, and you say to yourself, "hey, that's pretty good". However, by the time you are halfway through the bowl, you realize that you are eating something so amazingly delicious that it is beyond words.  Then suddenly you find yourself on your second bowl, even though you are ridiculously full, but you don't care, because you are warm and happy and content.  That is Posole.  You want proof?  Last night, with the election results coming in on the television in the background, I had four different types of Americans over for dinner:  the Republican, the Democrat, the Independent, and the Disillusioned Non-Voter.  While the four of us ate our overflowing bowls of Posole, politics were not even mentioned once.  Everybody was too busy being sucked into a Posole State of Mind.  

As I have mentioned before, I lived in Mexico City for a few years as a child.  While living there, we were introduced to Posole, and our entire family fell in love. When we moved back to the States, my mother brought the Posole recipe back with her, and continued to regularly make it.  I honestly don't know how close this recipe is to the original recipe she was given in Mexico; a lot of ingredients used in Mexico were impossible to find in the States in the 1990s;  plus I have slowly changed my mother's recipe to my own as the years have passed.  Regardless, it is still a stew that contains hominy, which technically makes it Posole, even if it has been likely Americanized.  

Interestingly enough, Posole can be dated back to the Aztecs, who used it in rituals. Because I don't want you to lose your appetite, I won't get into how it was used in rituals.  The important thing to take away from this, is that Posole is well over 500 years old, and for good reason.  It is delicious.  (Psssst.....and healthy!)

One more thing.  Posole is "my" dish.  Most people have "their" dish.  Their go-to dish that they are famous for.  The dish they make for company, the dish they are sure will be a crowd pleaser.  Posole has been my dish for over a decade now.  I started making it in college when I would have a big group of friends over.  It was always a hit, and it wasn't crazy expensive to make.  Since then I have made it for friends at least once a year...and for myself, many, many times a year.  I'm not going to lie, it hurts a little to share "my" dish with the world...but in the interest of bringing happiness and peace back into the world after this presidential race, I'm going to do it.  Happy post-election day!

Makes Over 4 Quarts 
Cooking time: 3 + hours

2 Tbsp Olive or Grapeseed Oil
2-3 lbs Boneless Pork (Chops, Shoulder, etc.)
2 Onions, sliced
2 Poblano Peppers, diced OR 7 oz Can Diced Green Chilies
8 Garlic Cloves, minced
28 oz Can of Crushed Tomatoes
28 oz can of Diced Tomatoes (with liquid)
20 oz can of Rotel Original Flavor
20 oz can of Rotel Mexican Festival
1 Quart Chicken Broth
4 Cups Water
1 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/2 Tbsp Chipolte Chili Powder OR regular Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
2 tsp Salt
30 oz. Can of Hominy, drained & rinsed
Garnishes: Lime, Cilantro, Sour Cream, Tortilla Chips, Shredded Cabbage/Lettuce


1.  Heat up a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add in the oil, and the pork, and cook until the pork is white on all sides, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Add in the onion, poblano peppers (if using), and garlic, and sauté for an additional 2 minutes.

3. Stir the diced green chilies (if using), crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, all the cans of Rotel, chicken broth, water, chili powder, cumin, and salt.  

4. Bring the stew to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium, and let the stew simmer uncovered for at least 2 hours (the longer the better).  Make sure to stir occasionally, so the stew does not stick and burn at the bottom.  Add in a cup of water every half hour or so, because the stew cooks down a lot.  

5.  Add in drained and rinsed hominy.  Simmer for an additional hour, stirring occasionally.  As you stir, break up any remaining large chunks of pork, so that it is evenly distributed throughout the stew (and in bite-sized portions).

6. Do a taste test. If it is too spicy, add in more water, and let it cook for an additional ten minutes so flavors can meld.  Alternatively, if it is too watery or not spicy enough, let it cook down until the stew reaches your personal desire of spiciness.  I always like mine to be a tad too spicy, because I add sour cream to it later, which mellows it out.

7.  Ladle into bowls.  I highly recommend adding a dollop (or two) of sour cream and stirring it into the stew, and then squeezing in a wedge of lime, and then topping with shredded lettuce or cabbage, cilantro, and broken tortilla chips.

Serving Size: 1 Cup
Calories: 195 
Carbs: 16
Fat:  8
Protein: 16

* I personally cook the stew for 3 hours, then add in the hominy and cook for an additional hour; so a total time of 4 hours all together.  
*Once you add in the hominy, don't cook for more than an hour or so, because the hominy will get mushy.  Do your long cooking before the hominy addition.
* Honestly, I just eyeball it with the amount of water I add to the Posole.  I really recommend doing several taste tests to get it to your desired consistency/spiciness.  
* Posole is also an ancient hangover cure. Just sayin'.
* To keep it healthier, lighter, and low carb, I've been skipping the tortilla chips.  If you aren't on a diet, I really recommend their inclusion. It adds a nice crunch!
* Reduced fat sour cream (or worse, non-fat) just does not work great with this dish. Every time I use it, I regret not getting the full fat.  Posole is already so low in calories and fat that the addition of full fat sour cream probably won't hurt your diet. It mixes in so much better.
* It freezes great!
* I've used different types of pork in the past.  Pork Shoulder is probably the tastiest, but Pork Chops are more diet friendly. Really any type of pork will work.  You could also substitute chicken if you so desire (but I really recommend using the pork).
* I've always used Rotel, but you can really use any tomato/green chile mixture; either from cans or from scratch.  If you aren't using the Rotel Mexican Festival, definitely add lime and cilantro into the stew at the end of the cooking time.
* This could easily be made in the slow cooker if you have a big enough one!  When I use the slow cooker, I end up having to divide it between 2 slow cookers to get it to fit.

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