I'm a serious Mexican foodie, and we make Mexican rice bowls or some kind of tacos at least once a week, usually twice or more. They're easy and can be different every time, which is a huge selling point for us. Also, Mexican flavors are just delicious.
So, we had friends in town this weekend that eat pretty healthfully and thankfully aren't picky, and one only eats a few kinds of meat and Jay doesn't eat much meat at all, so a veg dish for this glorious holiday we're celebrating tomorrow just seemed to fit the bill. My neighbor across the street is Mexican, and when her mother was here a few months ago they made a massive batch of chili paste that they used to feed our entire street for a few weeks, and I was the lucky recipient of a jar of it! I put it in lots of Mexican dishes, but chili paste is the crux of posole, which usually has slow cooked pork in it.
So. Veg posole it was, with lots of hominy. Have you had hominy? It's corn but not like corn at all...kind of like gnocchi almost, with a really mild flavor that takes on the taste of whatever you put it with, in this case ridiculously great chili flavor. You need this.
You need a bell pepper (I think green has too strong of a flavor for this dish, but any other kind would be great), onion, garlic, olive oil, salt, tomato paste, chili paste, flour, hominy, and broth. I used chicken which I KNOW doesn't make this vegetarian, so get some veg stock and get off my back. Also used: Valentina or any other hot sauce for spice, and chips, avocado, cilantro, and lime for serving/topping.
First, add some olive oil to the bottom of a soup pot and turn the heat to medium. Then, chop the onion.
Then, I chop the top and bottom and cut the center section into strips then a dice. I HATE it when TV chefs cut off the top and bottom of a pepper and THROW IT AWAY. What the hell. It's half the pepper. Use the whole thing, people.
Now, what you do next is up to you. I let this come to a boil and prepped some toppings (listed above), then tasted the soup and it wasn't spicy. So, I grabbed my fav Mexican hot sauce and added a bunch to the soup. If you have a different chili paste you might not need to do that! I also wanted a stronger chili flavor so I added another spoonful of the chili mixture.
When the posole tastes how you'd like it to, let it simmer for a few more minutes and then EAT. I didn't use very much stock compared to some recipes because I wanted a thicker product, but some posole is much thinner and the consistency of a brothy soup, so you could add more stock if you wanted it that way. If your flour thickened the soup a LOT, add some more stock to thin it to a consistency that you like.
I can't tell you how satisfying and HEALTHY this is. If you don't use chicken stock the dish is vegan, but the texture of the hominy gives a really good toothy quality to the dish, which is something that's really important to me in veggie dishes - it's kind of hard to replicate the texture of meat sometimes, but this does the job.
- FOR THE POSOLE
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- ¼ cup ancho chili paste see note
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cans 15 ounces each white hominy, drained
- 2 cups chicken stock plus more if needed
- salt to taste
- valentina or other hot sauce to taste
- FOR TOPPING OPTIONAL
- fresh cilantro
- lime wedges
- avocado slices
- sour cream
- hot sauce
- tortilla chips
- Heat a large soup pot to medium heat with the olive oil. Add the onions and bell pepper and cook for 3 minutes to soften slightly. Add the garlic, tomato paste, and chili paste, and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes more, then sprinkle with the flour. Stir the flour into the mixture for 2 minutes, then add the drained hominy and the chicken broth. Bring to a boil (increase the heat if you need to), and let the posole thicken and reduce slightly.
- Taste, and add salt, hot sauce, or more chili paste to your preference (this will depend on the salt content and spice of your stock and chili paste). When the posole tastes perfect, let it simmer for 10-20 minutes more, prepare any toppings you'd like to use, and serve!
- On the chili paste: I have a Mexican neighbor who makes her own chili paste, and I have a jar of it in my fridge that is pretty much the best thing ever. If you don't have a Mexican neighbor and can't find chili paste in the store, do the following: remove the stems and seeds from 2 dried ancho chilis. Pour 1 cup boiling water over them and let sit for 20 minutes to soften. When the peppers are soft, add them to a blender with 1 clove of garlic and 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt. Blend until smooth, and add 1 tablespoon of the water used for the chilis at a time to thin the mixture if needed. Use in the posole, starting with 1 tablespoon and adding more as you prefer for spice level.
- Make-ahead: You can make this up to 4 days in advance, store covered in the soup pot in the fridge, or earlier in the day and leave it (stove off) on the stovetop. Reheat by turning the stove to medium-low, and add a bit more stock or water if the posole has thickened too much.