I love Mexican cuisine. I cook some rendition of Mexican food at least once a week. I love cumin and chili powder. The spicy and smoky combination lingers on your tongue. I always have chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano and paprika in my spice cabinet. I also love salsa verde so much better than its red salsa cousin. Tomatillos take the place of the tomatoes, bringing a much celebrated marriage of of green ingredients.
But this isn’t a recipe for salsa verde. That is for another day. Instead, this is a post is about tomatillos, hominy* and their partnership in Posole. Posole is a classic Mexican soup, dating back to the Aztecs. There are many versions, but in all of them there is hominy. Most typically have meat, but I use pinto beans to pack in the protein. I think most meats toughen in soups. Also, pinto beans are more economical and go well with the whole quasi-vegetarian thing. This posole relies on green chiles for its spice, so it’s more smoky than spicy. If you want to ramp up the spiciness you can add in a jalapeno or a chipotle pepper. Just be careful not to add too much. The flavor will concentrate as you simmer the soup.
Now go forth and explore this pre-Columbian style soup.
Posole2 tablespoons olive oil 1 large onion, chopped 3-4 cloves garlic, minced 1 can (4 oz) whole green chiles, chopped** 2 tablespoon ground cumin 2 tablespoon dried thyme 1/2 a bottle of beer *** 15-17 tomatillos, peeled and chopped 1 (19.75 oz) can hominy, rinsed and drained** 2 (29 oz) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained** 1 quart vegetable broth 1 lime juiced and zested salt and pepper
In a stock pot over medium heat add the olive oil and the onion. Salt and pepper the onion to tase and saute it until it is translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add the green chiles and saute another 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin and thyme and saute another minute. While the vegetables are sauteing, peeled the tomatillos and rinse them. They will be slightly sticky on the outside. Quarter the tomatillos and place in the bowl of a food processor. Puree the tomatillos and add to the pot, along with the hominy, pinto beans and beer. Allow the alcohol to evaporate some before adding the vegetable broth, about 5 minutes. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce the heat. Simmer the soup for 20-30 minutes (or longer). Stir in the lime juice and serve hot. Garnish with plain yogurt (or sour cream) and tortilla chips.
*Hominy is maize, corn. Except it is better than corn. I grew up in Indiana, corn country, and guess what? I don’t really like corn that much. Mostly because I hate how fresh corn gets stuck in my teeth and how frozen corn never measures up. On the other hand, I love hominy. It never gets stuck in my teeth and it is meatier. Its is not as sweet at corn, but to it works just as well is place of corn without having it pick at your teeth.
**I recommend buying your green chiles from the Mexican food aisle of your grocery store. They will have much, much better flavor, especially when you buy them whole and chop them yourself. You should also try buying your hominy and pinto beans from the Mexican food aisle. Again, the flavor will be better and in a soup based on pintos beans and hominy you want quality canned goods.
***Enjoy the other half of the beer with the soup.