Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lightened Posole

I love posole.  Real posole.  It's a wonderfully light but flavorful Mexican soup that you can pile high with veggies...  or chips and cheese.  Or both.  Whatever you prefer.

You've never heard of posole?  I'm not surprised!  I hadn't either until my husband's mom made it a few years ago... and I've been hooked ever since.  HOOKED I TELL YOU.

If you've ever wondered why I married my husband, that was a big part. 


Anyway, posole is:  a traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico, which once had ritual significance. Pozole was mentioned in Fray Bernardino de Sahagún's "General History of the Things of New Spain" circa 1500 CE. It is made from nixtamalized cacahuazintle corn (aka hominy), with meat, usually pork, chicken, turkey, pork rinds, chili peppers, and other seasonings and garnish.

Thank you, Wikipedia!  A real bowl of posole looks like this: 

I have this bag of posole ingredients that I bought at a craft fair...  last year.  It's still hanging out in the pantry.  I haven't made it yet because:
     a)  You have to soak the hominy 24 hours in advance
     b)  Um, preservatives, anyone?
     c)  It calls for salt lick. 

I have the salt lick in the freezer.  I need to make this posole.  It tasted really good at the craft fair, and surely it's still good.  The preservatives aren't going to KILL me...  But, for some reason, I haven't jumped the gun on it.  Maybe this fall, when it's cool.

But...  I found a recipe on Cooking Light for Mexican Hominy-Chicken Soup...  aka posole!  I decided to take the plunge and try it. 

Overall, it was a really good dish.  I did have to make some adjustments, but what's new?  Even Uz said it was really good, and ate it up.  That's a big deal, because my man obviously is used to real posole.  And at 235 cals for 1.5 cups of soup, I can't complain.

A few notes:  Next time, I think I may cook this using chicken on the bone.  For this recipe, I cooked a whole, 4-lb chicken in a crockpot.  I shredded the chicken and used 2 cups of that, as the recipe calls for.  However, I found it was missing some depth.  Most posole I've had used pork, so I might try a combination of pork and chicken next time.  Also, I think using homemade broth (cooked from chicken on the bone) would also give it more depth.  I've found that in soups, stews, or sauces, chicken on the bone really takes it to the next level.

Don't forget the toppings!  Traditional toppings for posole include:  thinly sliced/shredded green cabbage, thinly sliced or chopped radishes, diced onion, dried Mexican oregano, chips, sliced jalapenos, avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, cheese.  Also, we've usually had it with a VERY SUPER-HOT salsa made with dried chiles, garlic, and water.  That stuff is ATOMIC.  We just used Cholula this weekend, but the hot sauce it kind of a must, too.

The lime was really important:  for me, it took the soup from "good" to "oh yeah!".  So, be generous with the lime.

Enough chat.  On to the recipe already.

my bowl:  excuse the spoon!  I was ready to dig in.

Lighter Posole

Adapted from Cooking Light

Stats:  235 per bowl, not counting toppings
Serves:  4 (~1.5 c)

1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 3/4 cups chopped onion  
3 garlic cloves, minced
 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
2 cups shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast 
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
dried oregano, to taste
2 (14-ounce) cans fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth 
1 (15.5-ounce) can hominy, rinsed and drained 

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes.

Stir in garlic and jalapeño; sauté 1 minute.

Add chicken, black pepper, oregano, and broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.

Stir in hominy; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes.

Ladle about 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls; top each serving with your choice of toppings.  Suggested toppings:  cilantro, shredded cabbage, lime, sliced radishes, hot sauce, chips.

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