Saturday, October 11, 2014

Chicken posole soup

I guess it has "cooled off" enough here in LA (80's in the day & down to a brisk 65 in the night - whoa) to actually consider it "soup weather."  Here is one of my childhood favorites...

Posole is a Mexican soup/stew that involves hominy.  If you aren't familiar with hominy, it's fun & awesome. It's a large, puffy, slightly chewy version of a dried corn that has been soaked in a mineral lime bath.  The kernels actually undergo a chemical change and soften & expand into yummy, pillow-y hominy.  It can be found dried or canned.  I just use canned in this recipe for simplicity, but you can soak and cook the dried like beans if you have the time and inclination.  

Some traditional posoles call for pork, but this is a quicker version made with pre-cooked chicken.  It may be a poquito gringo, but it's delicious & nourishing & heart-warming a11 the same!  There are tons of pretty, flavorful condiments to add on top of the soup - it's kinda like dressing up tacos... fun for the whole family!  Muy delicioso!

Serves 6

2 T. olive oil
1 onion - chopped
3 cloves garlic - chopped
1 T. chili powder
1 T. oregano
1 T. brown sugar
1/4 c. masa corn flour (use regular, fine corn flour or all-purpose if you can't find masa)
2 quarts chicken stock
2 t. salt
1 t. fresh ground pepper
3, 15 oz. cans hominy
4 c. cooked chicken - diced or shredded

Garnishes (pick your favorites): 

* chopped cilantro
* limes wedges
finely shredded cabbage 
diced avocado
hot sauce (optional)

shredded jack cheese
sour cream

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until transparent - about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add chopped garlic and cook 1 minute.

Add chili powder, oregano, brown sugar and masa corn flour.  Cook 2 minutes to toast spices, stirring occasionally.  Add chicken stock, salt & pepper, hominy and chicken and stir.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer briskly for at least a half an hour, stirring occasionally.  If you have more time, simmer longer to let flavors mingle all the more but at a lower temperature (my mom would let this cook for a few hours on a low simmer).  Broth should reduce a bit and thicken slightly.

Serve in bowls and top with whatever garnishes suit your fancy.  Fresh lime juice & cilantro are a must!

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