Chicken Posole

We’ve had a wonderful holiday season. Mark and I spent a few days in Michigan with our friends and family, and we’re now enjoying a lazy week at home. Going outdoors beyond walking the dog seems like way too much work at the moment. An afternoon on the couch with a blanket in my lap and a cup of tea in hand while I catch up on one of our favorite shows, Beyond Everest, seems just about right.

I really should be using this time off to spend a few hours on the elliptical machine to work off some of the sugar I ate last week, but it just doesn’t seem to be at the top of my priority list. Next week I know I’ll hit the workouts hard and lose the sugar baby currently attached to my belly. In the meantime, winter weather calls for a little more soup.

I couldn’t get enough of that pork stew I made a couple weeks ago, and then Heidi over at 101 Cookbooks posted her version of a red posole. I decided to get the ingredients ready for another go at this one. I wanted to lighten the calorie load just a touch, so I used some roast chicken in place of the pork. Taking Heidi’s cue, I decided to cook my own hominy – I wasn’t thrilled with the mushy texture of the canned hominy last time.

I found hominy at one of the Hispanic markets in our neighborhood, and it came in broken pieces. Hominy can hog all the space in a pot of soup, so I thought the smaller pieces would be nice. I soaked the corn overnight, and then cooked it up with some aromatics, and it is SO much better than the canned stuff – it has much more corn flavor, but more importantly, it has a nice toothy, firm texture. If you can’t find hominy at your local market, you can order it from the amazing folks at Rancho Gordo.

Chicken Posole
Serves 6

1 cup dried hominy pieces (I used Goya brand)
1 carrot, chunked
1 stalk celery, chunked
1 bay leaf
1/2 onion, whole
2 cloves garlic, whole
1/2 tsp salt
1 T Mexican oregano

Cooking hominy: Place the dried hominy in a large bowl and cover with three inches of water. Soak overnight. After soaking, drain the corn and rinse it. Pour the corn into a 3qt pot, fill with water, and add the carrot, celery, bay leaf, onion, garlic and oregano. Bring to a boil, cook for 30 minutes, then add the salt, and taste a kernel to see if it’s nearly done. It took about 50 minutes to cook the hominy pieces.

2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
4 cups chicken stock
1 14oz can fire-roasted tomatoes with chipotles (Muir Glen brand)
1 T oil
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 T corn flour
3/4 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
2 T ancho chile powder
2 tsp cumin, ground
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp coriander, ground
cooked hominy
cilantro – garnish
salt to taste

  1. Cooking the chicken: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then place in a roasting pan in the oven and roast for 35 minutes. Remove, and set aside to cool while you chop the veggies for the rest of the soup.
  2. Soup: Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and bell pepper to the pot and saute for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Sprinkle the corn flour over the vegetables, then add the garlic, ancho chile powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cumin and stir for one minute. Add the can of fire roasted tomatoes and stir, cooking for another 5 minutes to develop the flavors.
  3. Add the chicken stock and cooked hominy. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to gently simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. While the soup cooks, remove the skin and bones from the chicken breasts (stash the bones in the freezer for making chicken stock later), then dice the meat into bite-sized pieces. After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the chicken to the soup and season with salt to taste. Serve each bowl garnished with cilantro.

272 cal/bowl, 80cal from fat, 8g fat, 35mg cholesterol, 790mg sodium, 600mg sodium, 31g carbs, 6g fiber, 10g sugars

Ancho Chile Pork Stew

I have to thank my friend Heather from the Chik n’ Pastry blog for a couple of posts that have definitely been the high points of the winter eating season thus far in our kitchen. First, Heather posted a recipe for Chinese Char Siu Pork, which we enjoyed last night (and I’ll tell you all about that a little later on). Then, Heather posted a recipe for an ancho chile pork stew, and I knew I had to make that one too. Add to that a very excellent sausage pizza I made Friday night, and we’ve been enjoying a little bit of a pork-fest this weekend – but that’s not a bad thing.

This is a pretty simple stew to put together, and once you’ve got the meat browned, it’s done in under an hour and ready for the table and warming your belly. The flavors of the stew are somewhere between a Texas-style chili and a Mexican caldo – bold, spicy with a thick broth that is perfect for mopping up with some gluten-free corn bread. We’ll happily be enjoying the leftovers for lunches this week.

Ancho Chile Pork Stew
Serves 6
Adapted from Chik n’ Pastry, which was adapted from Cooking Light, December 2009

2 T ancho chile powder
1 T dried oregano
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 t salt
2 lbs pork stew meat, in bite-sized cubes
2 T oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1 28-oz can hominy, drained
3 c chicken stock
1 14 oz can fire-roasted chipotle petite-diced tomatoes, undrained (Muir Glenn)
cilantro for garnish

  1. Combine ancho powder, oregano, paprika, cumin and salt in a large bowl (set aside 1.5 tsp spice mixture) and add in pork, tossing well to coat.
  2. Heat 1 T oil in Dutch oven over med-hi heat. add 1/3 of the pork in one layer and cook 2 minutes, then turn the pork pieces over, sear for 2 more minutes. Then, remove the pork to a clean bowl. Add a little more oil if needed, then add another 1/3 of the pork to the pot and sear for 2 minutes on both sides. Remove pork and set aside, then sear the last batch of pork, then add the last of the pork to the bowl you’ve set aside.
  3. Add 1 tsp oil to the empty pot and add onion, pepper, garlic. saute 5 minutes or until tender, stirring often to get all of the good browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Return pork to the pot and add remaining spice mixture, broth, hominy, tomatoes; bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 45 minutes. Serve and garnish with cilantro.

386 cal per bowl, 120cal from fat, 13.9g fat, 75mg cholesterol, 960mg sodium, 290mg potassium, 29g carbs, 4g fiber, 9g sugars, 37g protein