Saturday, September 18, 2010
I love posole. The thick rich spicy soup broth, the hominy (nixtamal in Spanish, or technically Nahuatl), and of course the additions. Cilantro, shredded cabbage, radish, avocado, lime juice, baked tortilla strips, and on and on. The beautiful thing about the stock is the introduction of ancho chiles (dried poblanos) that are reconstituted and pureed in the blender. It makes for a complex and spicy broth. Of course posole normally has pork or in some cases chicken and so the broths are normally a little heartier. I honestly thought it would be impossible to make a vegetarian version but this comes so close to the real thing I can't say I missed the meat at all. I can't say how happy I was that this worked.
In place of chicken, I used dried shitake mushrooms. They take a while to soften so if they only sit for a couple of hours in the soup, they'll still be a little chewy (which I was okay with because it reminded me of posole's cousin 'menudo', but for reasons I won't get into). By the second day they were much softer and oh so good. The broth was hearty and spicy and everything was perfectly balanced.
This recipe is for the Souper Sunday blog hop hosted by Kahakai Kitchen. Soup... what a great theme. I'm relatively new to making posole so I got my help from girlichef, an excellent blogging chef for all things Mexican (and otherwise) and Bobby Flay. See their recipes here and here. I like girlichef's addition of tomatoes and onion to the blender with the anchos and then cooking them on the stove. It's definitely my new method - I just added a little oregano to the mix because it's one of my favorite flavors in Mexican cooking.
For the base, start with three ancho chiles. Put them in a small bowl (put small cuts in the chiles so they don't float) and cover them with boiling water. After twenty minutes, remove chiles from water (saving the water) and pull the stems out. I like to save a few seeds for the heat. Place chiles in a blender with 1/2 cup of the reserved chile water and the following items:
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 t. fresh oregano leaves
Blend for a couple of minutes, pausing to scrape sides of the blender down with a rubber spatula. Heat one tablespoon oil in large soup pot and add chile puree. Cook for about 10 minutes, letting mixture thicken. Add six cups of vegetable broth and heat through, bringing to a boil. Add:
1 28-ounce can of hominy (don't drain, include all the liquid in the can)
2 cups (loosely packed) of dried shitake mushrooms.
Simmer for about 20 minutes and add two tablespoons of chopped cilantro. Continue to simmer for another 10 minutes or so. Garnish with any (or all!) of the following.
Freshly chopped cilantro, green onions
Quartered lime wedges
Chopped or grated radishes
Enjoy! I'm going to be making this again and again!