"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Posole (Mexican dried corn stew)

The hardest part of making this dish is getting your hands on some posole. You COULD use canned hominy, but I'd pretend I'm not related to you. I use a brand called "los chileros," which has a website (loschileros.com) where you can order posole by mail. It comes in blue and white varieties; use whatever you think is prettier.
Posole can be made with pork (the pot I have on the stove is made with pork spareribs; the first use of our hog) or chicken. If you use pork, use about two pounds of meaty, cartilaginous cut like ribs or shoulder blade. If you use chicken, use a whole one. 
Put posole to soak in cold water the night before. Even two days isn't too much.
Three hours before dinnertime, bring meat and water to cover to a boil with three or four cloves, three or four allspice berries, a two inch piece of cinnamon stick, several black peppercorns, a teaspoon or so of cvuminseed, and three unpeeled cloves of garlic. Tear open and shake the seeds out of six to nine (depending how hot you like it) dried guajillo chiles. If you can't find guajillos, new mexico or california chiles will do. Add to pot. Skim scum. 
Rinse and add soaked posole. Keep at a fast simmer, covered, for about two hours, until meat is falling off bones and posole kernels have "bloomed." 
Use a fork to fish out the chiles, let cool on a plate, then use your fingers to "scrape" the flesh off the papery skin and back into the pot. Discard the skin. If you care about such things, or have company coming, you can debone the meat at this time. (this is one of the reasons I like to use ribs. Easy deboning.)
Serve posole with a platter of the following condiments, attractively arranged:
Finely shredded green cabbage
Finely chopped white onion
finely chopped red radishes
Lime wedges
cayenne pepper
This is a very filling meal, good for an unseasonably cold and rainy late spring day in the Pacific Northwest.