Posole is a slow-cooked stew/soup made with cooked hominy (the namesake of the dish), pork, and a quick chile sauce made from rehydrating dried chiles. It is one-dish comfort food and people can customize their bowls with a beautiful array of toppings. This recipe uses a slow cooker, but you can certainly cook it in a pot on the stovetop as well.
Posole is of Mexican origin and is traditionally spelled “pozole,” but like most cuisines, it morphs as it moves with families from place to place over time. My friend Viya from Guatemala taught me how to make this soup and if you ever talk with her, you’ll learn that there are many distinctions between Mexican and Central and South American cuisine and there is certainly a love of posole across those lands and in the Southwest United States.
A note on hominy: You can buy dried hominy from Rancho Gordo, and it is extremely good. Cook it in advance then add it to the posole aft er the meat is cooked, or else the kernels will soak up most of the liquid. Canned hominy works but it isn’t as good as fresh-cooked. If you want to take things to the next level, you can nixtamalize dried corn/maize, essentially making your own hominy. You can learn about nixtamalizing corn in Charley Graham’s polenta recipe.
Makes 6 servings
2–4 bone-in pork chops
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (Swanson or Imagine brand)
1 yellow onion, halved (skins can be left on)
8 tomatillos, husked and quartered, optional
1 head garlic, top cut off (skins can be left on), plus 1 clove, peeled
10 dried Guajillo chiles
2 cups boiling water
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt (omit if using canned hominy)
4 cups cooked hominy (cook dried hominy following the package directions or use one
29-ounce can, rinsed and drained)
For the toppings
Tostadas, tortilla chips, or corn tortillas
Radishes, thinly sliced then cut into matchsticks
White onion, chopped
Cilantro leaves, chopped
Hot chile sauce (Try the Arthur Wayne Spicy Tomatillo Hot Sauce featured in Mountain Pantry.)
Brown the pork chops in the stovetop-safe slow cooker insert (or other pot) over medium-high heat. Transfer the insert to your slow cooker. Add the broth, onion, tomatillos (if you’re using them), and garlic head. Set slow cooker on high 4 hours or low 6–8 hours. (If you are cooking on the stovetop, cook at a low simmer, partially covered, for about 2 hours or until the pork is done.)
While the meat is cooking, make the chile sauce. Remove stem and seeds from the dried chiles. Rinse under water and put in a blender.
Add boiling water and let sit for 20 minutes. Add the garlic clove and oregano and blend until smooth. Pour through a strainer placed over a bowl and press with a wooden spoon. Discard the solids and set aside the liquid sauce.
After the pork is cooked, transfer the meat to a cutting board or plate. Remove and discard (compost) the bones, onion, and garlic. Shred the meat using two forks. Add the shredded meat back to the soup then add the chile sauce, salt, and cooked hominy. Heat through until hot. When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and add your favorite toppings!