Something you should know about me is that I am a wuss, at least when it comes to really hot (as in spicy) food. I can’t, for example, go into an Indian or Thai restaurant and order a dish with 5 stars. Yikes, I might end up in a hospital if I ever went that far. But a nice polite 2 stars is quite alright with me. You see, I have this old fashioned belief that a person should actually be able to taste the ingredients in a dish, not just consume a mouth full of fire. (I know, how “yesterday” is that?)
But seriously, when you add too much “hot” to a dish, you might as well be eating Kibbles and Bits for all the actual ingredients matter. And I have listened to people order incredible dishes that feature prawns or lobster for example, pay an arm and a leg for the privilege, and then tell their waiter they want a 4.5 or 5 star spice level. Now if they told me they could actually taste either of those two costly ingredients, I would stand right up and yell “liar, liar, pants on fire” at them, even in the most prestigious of restaurants! (I have my standards to uphold, after all.)
So when I tell you that this dish is amazing in the fact that it is spicy, but all of the ingredients are featured players and that this dish is not the least bit too spicy, I want you to trust me. This is one of the dishes I firmly believe God sent us to prove that chilies were at the top of his list when he thought of how best to flavor food. And really, isn’t flavor what it’s all about? Granted, there are those who merely eat to stay alive. But most of us stay alive to eat! What better reason, after all? Oh well, there might be better reasons, but this a cooking blog, after all! I’m not advocating storge (look it up), I’m touting good flavorful food!
So whatever you do, give this recipe a try. It’s low in fat, and a complete meal unto itself. And like I said, the flavor is simply amazing! I mean really, would I share it with you if it weren’t amazing? People, you know me better than that!
- 2 (15-oz.) cans drained and rinsed hominy or ½ c. dried white corn posole (hominy)*
- 20 dried chiles de arbol, stems and seeds removed and cut up with a scissors
- 2 dried ancho chiles or 1 guajillo chili (or a combination), stems and seeds removed and cut up with a scissors
- 1 c. boiling water
- 6 cloves garlic finely chopped, divided
- kosher salt
- 1½ lbs. boneless pork chops or pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 T. corn or vegetable oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped (save a small amount to use as a garnish)
- 8 c. water
- 8 tsp. Knorr Caldo de Pollo (chicken flavor bouillon- located in the ethnic food section of most grocery stores – yellow label, green lid) or regular chicken stock
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 T. dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
- 2 small bay leaves
- 2 avocados, diced, opt.
- radish slices, opt.
- lime wedges, opt.
- warm flour or corn tortillas, opt.
*Use canned hominy if in a hurry, but taste and texture are just not as good as when you start with dried posole.
If using dried hominy, place it in a non-reactive container and cover with water; soak overnight. Next day, boil in salted water for approximately 2-2½ hours or until tender. Drain.
Meanwhile, place the de-seeded and chopped chilies in a bowl and cover with the boiling water; soak until soft, about 30 minutes. When soft, carefully pour the chilies and soaking liquid into a blender or food processor. Add 1/3 of the chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon salt; blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pushing the sauce through with a rubber spatula; discard the solids. Set aside. (This sauce is very hot (as in spicy), so even the fumes can be overpowering. Be very careful handling this precious liquid. Think hazardous waste!)
Meanwhile, liberally sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or covered pot over medium heat. Add the pork and cook until browned on all sides. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining 4 cloves of chopped garlic and cook for about a minute.
Stir in the 8 cups water and chicken flavored bouillon (or 8 cups chicken broth), cumin, oregano, bay leaves, and ½ cup of the reserved chili sauce or more as desired. (If you are extremely sensitive to spicy food, you might actually want to start with ¼ cup of the hot sauce.) Bring the stew to a boil, partially cover pan, reduce heat and maintain at a simmer until meat is tender, about 1½ hours.
Stir in the hominy (either canned or re-hydrated dry posole) and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the pork starts falling apart, about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Adjust seasoning and serve with avocado, reserved chopped onion, radish slices, remaining chili sauce, and warm tortillas. Oh yes, and a nice cold beer is great with the posole too!
Note: This recipe is my interpretation of the recipe for Posole Rojo on the Food Network site. (A great site BTW.)