The main reason I chose to make Pozole is for the hominy, or what I’ve been describing as “big-ass corn”.
Every time I walk through Kensington Market, I see the dried hominy out front of the Mexican grocers, and wonder what people use them for. At the time, I didn’t know they were called ‘hominy’ – the signs said other things, and I never actually asked. I was always really intrigued by the big-ass corn, though.
Not long ago, I was reading about hominy and found out that it’s commonly used in stews, including Pozole. A relative of corn, it’s also used to make corn flour, used in tamales and corn tortillas. I got some great advice from someone who worked at the shop, and he pointed out the difference between the hominy I needed and the others. For Pozole, you need to get the hominy that has been skinned, ‘mote pelado’.
I ended up buying canned hominy, as well as dried. Since this is the first time I’m using hominy, I thought it would be best to use the canned. Next time, however, I will be cooking them up from dried.
How do they taste? Not like corn kernels, so I really don’t recommend substituting (although some recipes will say you can). Cooked hominy tastes much more like corn chips or corn tortillas – a nice toasty flavour, and a soft texture. It might be closer to popped corn than niblets.
Oh yeah, I made a stew with the hominy! This was a really fun stew that I would recommend to anyone who likes chili, but wants to mix it up a bit. It’s a great excuse to use poblanos and tomatillos, if you can get them. It’s easy to make as a vegetarian or meatatarian dish. Not a boring brothy soup, it’s hearty, a little bit tart, a little bit spicy and very satisfying.
based on this recipe from Epicurious.com.
- 1 1/4 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 1/4 cup diced celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 pound protein (I used seitan)
- 1 1/2 cup cooked hominy (can use canned, if drained and well rinsed)
- 1/2 cup diced Poblano pepper
- 3 ounces canned tomatillos, diced (I used 4 oven-roasted tomatillos)
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons dark chile powder
- 1 dried Guajillo chile, whole (optional)
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 3/4 cups light-flavoured stock (i.e. vegetable, chicken, etc.)
- Sauté onion and celery in oil in a large heavy pot, over medium-high heat. Add 1 tbsp cilantro and garlic in panand cook until the onion softens.
- Add protein and brown on all sides (approximately 5 minutes for seitan or tofu, and about 10 minutes for raw meat).
- Add Poblanos and tomatillos, stir well. Add hominy, cumin, chili powder, Guajillo chile, coriander, oregano, salt, pepper and stock.
- Bring to the boil. Lower to medium-low heat, cover and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
- Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro; serve.