February 18th, 2011
Often the biggest selling point of a family-friendly recipe is how fast it can be made. To the point where a 30-minute meal isn’t fast enough. (Psha! Who’s got 30 minutes to make dinner?!) I get it. A look through my archive is proof, as most of my recipes are “quick and easy.” Though I make no apologies for that, sometimes it’s nice to take time in the kitchen. Or at least to allow your food to take time. Like with this insanely good posole (a traditional Mexican hominy stew).
Here’s the reality: quick and easy recipes made with healthy, whole ingredients are absolutely essential to changing the way that we eat for the better. As much as my fellow food writers, recipe developers and I love cooking —- and hope to inspire others to love cooking, too — there will always be people who don’t. They need to feed their families, too, and “quick and easy” is a selling point. In a convenience culture where people who don’t like to cook are most at risk for unhealthy short cuts, I’m proud to offer quick and easy recipes that help cooks and non-cooks alike serve healthy dinners.
Trying to convert non-cooks to passionate cooks is simply not my bag. In fact, I like living in a world where not everyone likes to cook. (And not just because it makes me special! Because I am, right?!) Wouldn’t it be bizarre if everyone loved cooking? Diversity is good, folks.
My modest hope is that even those of you who don’t love cooking, but do have kids will become willing cooks. Cooks who feel capable of making a healthy meal without feeling miserable and, more importantly, who genuinely enjoy a tasty, healthy meal. I have a feeling that if you practice and the outcome is delicious (which comes with practice), you might get into cooking. But, it’s okay if you don’t. I mean, I can’t get into HTML no matter how good I get at it. (Forgive the lame example. I’m a competitive person who tends to enjoy things that I get good at.)
Back to the posole, a recipe which may be too much of a commitment for some of you. But, for the rest of you, those who find joy in cooking a meal all day; those who appreciate a pot of food bubbling on your stove all afternoon; those who long for a house filled with the smells of a slow cooking stew; those who love falling apart tender pork, this is for you.
So, there you have it. A weekend cooking project. For some of you. The some of you who I promise will enjoy the most soul satisfying bowl of stew you’ve eaten all winter. Or, for the some of you trying to slow cook for the first time, maybe ever.
This recipe pretty much makes a VAT of posole that will last for days. If you don’t have a family big enough to eat it all within 4 days or so, freeze half. Or you can half the recipe which, by the way, is adapted from a good friend, SJP who adapted it from his fabulous mom. (Thank you both!)
Posole, adapted from SJP’s New Mexico Posole
(can be shared with kids 6+ mos)
4 Tbsp olive oil
3 lbs cubed stew pork (like pork butt)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp ancho chili powder
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 c chopped green chiles
1 bottle corona or Tecate
4 c chicken stock
2 c water
5 cups hominy (that’s already been soaked and simmered), you can substitute 2-3 cans hominy, drained**
salt and pepper
1. Heat 4 tablespoons of oil in a large dutch oven placed over medium-high heat. Brown meat making sure not to overcrowd. You’ll likely have to do this in batches. Place browned meat on a plate, away from heat, and set aside.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, ancho chile powder and oregano to the dutch oven. Saute over, stirring frequently as to not burn the spices, until onions and garlic are soft and translucent and spices are toasted and fragrant. Add the can of green chiles and stir to incorporate everything. If the mixture immediately begins to thicken, add a splash or two of your chicken broth or water.
3. Return pork to the pot, along with any juices that have accumulated. Pour in beer and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add broth and simmer another 5 minutes. Add water. At this point the pork should be pretty close to covered. Bring to a heavy simmer and turn heat down to medium-low.
4. Cook pork for about 3-4 hours. Add posole and simmer another hour or so. Longer if you want, but the meat should be falling apart tender by the 4-5 hour mark. Season with salt and pepper. Serve posole along side lime wedges and topped with cilantro, slices or cubes of fresh avocado, thinly sliced radishes and, if you like, shredded cheese and/or sour cream. Chips are always good, too.
*Note: If feeding this to beginner eaters, simply puree pork and/or posole with broth and — why not! — some cilantro and avocado. Be aware that posole, especially freshly soaked and simmered posole (as opposed to canned) isn’t super duper soft. Cut into half kids just beginning to manage finger foods.
**Note: Sometimes canned hominy is labeled “posole” or “pozole” even though it’s just the soaked and simmered hominy (ie, not a canned version of the stew).