Sunday, February 17, 2013
Winter rages on...fight back with POSOLE!
Crock Pot Posole
2 quarts (8 cups) water
2 large (or 3 smaller) smoked ham hocks
2 large bay leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
about 1 1/2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs (pork shoulder would do well, too)
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 dried ancho chilies
1 (15 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
2 packets sazon de jamon
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cans hominy (yellow or white)
salt, to taste
1 tablespoon honey, optional
shredded cabbage (or cole slaw mix)
cojita cheese crumbles
chopped cilantro leaves
Mexican crema or sour cream
Place the water, smoked ham hocks, and bay leaves in the crock pot to simmer on low overnight (=eight hours). The next day, fish out the hocks, then cool, shred and reserve the meat. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet and brown the pork ribs on all sides. Remove the meat, then add the chopped onions to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until tender. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
Into the ham stock in the crock pot, place the browned pork, the sautéed onions and garlic, the four dried ancho chilies, the can of tomatoes (with juice), and the seasonings--sazon de jamon packets, oregano, cumin, and black pepper. Cook on low for six hours or until the pork is tender. Remove the ribs, and cool, shred, and reserve the meat. Also take out the ancho chilies, removing the stems and most of the seeds. Using a stick blender, blend the softened chilies with a bit of the liquid until very smooth, then add the mixture it back into the pot. Blend the soup all together with the stick blender. When the soup has a smooth, uniform texture, stir in the reserved ham and pork and the two cans of hominy to heat through, another 30 minutes or so. (Drain the water off of the hominy, but stop draining when you get to the thicker, starchy liquid. You want that in your soup!) Season with salt to taste, and sweeten with a tablespoon of honey, if you prefer it.
Serve the soup piping hot with garnishes of any or all of the following: shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, fresh lime juice, crumbled cojita, cilantro leaves, avocado slices, and Mexican crema or sour cream.
Update (5/3/13): I made this again recently for my book club's "Dos de Mayo" gathering, and because the hostess is allergic to pork, I made it with two big smoked turkey legs instead of the ham hocks and pork shoulder. Worked GREAT, and tasted FABULOUS! About 95% as delicious as the pork version. ;-)