Posole, (pronounced poh-soh-lay) spelled in a variety of ways; pozole, pozolé, pozolli, pasole), simply means “hominy,” is a traditional soup or stew from Mexico, and is typically a very hearty and flavorful broth-like soup made with hominy as the foundational ingredient. It’s origins date back to pre-Columbian days, and the name is derived from the Nahuatl “potzolli, ” which was a stew is made with hominy and pork or chicken. For the most part it is made with some kind of meat , typically pork, and can be seasoned and garnished with shredded cabbage, chile peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, salsa and/or limes or lemons. It’s very easy to find Posole in some form in just about any Mexican restaurant worldwide.
The history of posole is one of ritual significance, as it was a ceremonial meal for the Aztecs and a symbol that celebrated their belief in the creation of humanity from corn. Like the pioneer and early settler origins of Brunswick Stew, Kentucky Burgoo, and other dishes that originated in the early days of history, Fray Bernardino de Sahagún‘s “General History of the Things of New Spain” traces it origins to around circa 1500. Today, Posole is frequently served as a celebratory dish throughout Mexico and by Mexican communities in other countries. Common occasions include Mexico Independence Day, quince años, weddings, birthdays, baptisms, and New Year’s Day.
As always when posting recipes to this blog, I like to point out that there is a practically endless number of options out there in internet land from which to choose one of your favorite recipes. And, admittedly, “Posole,” which is Mexican for “hominy,” is traditionally prepared with pork. But chicken provides a nice alternative and not only that, this particular recipe, adapted from one of our local grocery store weekly sales flyer recipes, is simple to prepare, is ready to eat in less than an hour, and doesn’t require a degree in “chefology” to bring it successfully to your table. Followers and visitors to this blog already know I am a huge fan of “soup” in just about any form, and this is yet another of those kinds of recipes that I just love to add to my soup repertoire.
Posole can be prepared in a variety of ways. All variations include a base of cooked hominy in broth. Typically pork, or sometimes chicken, is included in the base. Vegetarian recipes substitute beans for the meat, by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and/or simply omitting the pork completely. The three main types of pozole are blanco/white, verde/green, and rojo/red. White Pozole is typically prepared without any additional green or red ingredients. Green Pozole adds the usual green ingredients, which may include tomatillos, cilantro, jalapeños, and poblanos. Red Pozole is made without the green sauce/ingredients, instead adding a red sauce made from one or more chiles, such as guajillo, piquin, or ancho.
Posole’s crowning glory is its wide array of condiments which are typically served alongside. When posole is served, the soup itself is prepared purposely with a rather thin and brothy consistency, because it can be quickly loaded up with condiment selections — which is normally a wide variety and array of spicy and potently flavorful condiments including, but not limited to, shredded cabbage, thinly sliced radishes, chopped avocados, jalapeno, onion, cilantro and/or lime wedges, shredded lettuce, oregano, tostadas, chicharrónes, and a variety of different kinds of chiles. It is traditional to prepare this simple soup with pork or chicken added to the hominy base , and then served with the add-ins, the asides, the compliments, (garnishes) alongside, set out on the table for everyone to pick and choose to add to their soup as they wish. The posole itself is the foundation, but the condiments are the real keys to the culinary success of this dish, and the list of potential condiments is practically endless.
More hot sauce or chiles can be added for more heat, but at its heart, posole is all about the garnishes. Buon Provecho!
1 Grocery Store/Deli Rotisserie Chicken, chilled
1 large poblano pepper, coarsely chopped
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 TBSP canola oil
1 med (about 8 oz) yellow onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 tsp ground cumin
4-cups (32 oz) Kitchen Basics Chicken Stock
Optional: 1 – 14.5 oz can chicken broth
2-15.5 oz cans Bush’s Best White Hominy, drained and rinsed
2-4.5 oz (or one 7 oz) can(s) diced green chiles
1 tsp kosher salt
FOR THE GARNISH:
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup Queso Fresco Chunk Cheese, crumbled
1 ripe Haas avocado, diced
Cut chicken into separate pieces
Peel off and discard skin, and shred the chicken.
Use all of the chicken, dark and white meat, and set aside. You should end up with about 3 cups.
Coarsely chop the poblano pepper, the cilantro, and garlic.
Crumble cheese and set aside; cut lime into wedges.
Add the oil to a large stockpot on medium-high for 2-3 minutes, or until oil has thinned and you can smell the oil aroma.
Add onions and poblano.
Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until tender and/or onions are transparent.
Add garlic and cumin; stir and cook for about 1 minute.
Stir in chicken, stock (and additional broth/stock if used), hominy, chiles, and salt. Bring slowly to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Simmer until soup is hot and flavors have blended. The soup will have a very thin consistency, more like a broth.
While soup is simmering, dice the avocado
Serve hot. Top each bowl with cilantro, avocado chunks, a squeeze of lime juice and cheese.
Chef Notes: My modifications to the original recipe:
- The original grocery store recipe called for a “Mojo” Rotisserie Chicken, but any kind of rotisserie chicken will work just fine. On the day I picked this one up, all they had was “lemon pepper,” so “lemon pepper” it was!
3. Whenever a recipe calls for garlic, I always increase the amount; this time from 4 to 5 cloves, as I like it to have a bit more garlic flavor. Feel free to adjust as desired.
4. Whenever recipes call for a specific amount of salt, I always add more than the recipe calls for. I prefer “salt & pepper to taste” instead of specific measured amounts, but that having been said, the measured amounts are a good place to start.
5. Green Chiles – My preference is New Mexico/Arizona (Macaya or Hatch) green chiles, even canned ones, but they are not always easy to find in the eastern half of the country. My solution is I always bring some with me from Arizona.
6. Condiments – In addition to the condiments listed in the recipe, Tortilla chips or warm flour tortillas are always a welcome aside to any mexican dish. And…if you really want to break with tradition:
Typically, garni and accompaniments for posole don’t include things like salsa, sour cream, etc. In my opinion, those ingredients go well with just about any kind of Mexican dish, especially soups and stews. So…if you really want to be a rebel….ladle up yourself a bowl of posole, slap on a dollop of sour cream, and then a spoonful of your favorite salsa…red or green, on top…and…I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Adapted from “Publix Aprons” Recipes.