Posole is the name of the hominy in Mexico. Posole Rojo is a soup made from hominy, pork shoulder and a mixture of reconstituted dried red peppers. It's an earthy blend of absolute scumptiousness, my new favorite soup. I was inspired by a Posole Rojo recently added to the menu at the Cantina Los Charros side of Essex Restaurant in Centerbrook, CT. Essex has two kitchens and two sides, one a farm-to-table tour de force with a menu that changes monthly, and the other a very relaxed and friendly place, with a long bar, a kitchen open and the best Mexican food. in CT. This is my cheers.
To help take over Cantina Los Charros Posole Rojo, I worked from a Food Network recipe I found online. Here are the assembled ingredients, what fancy trouser lovers call the Mise En Place:
From left to right: 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, 45 oz hominy, 2 pints chicken broth, 2 bay leaves, 6 garlic cloves, 3/4 cup Arbol peppers, 5 Ancho peppers, 1 onion, 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, kosher salt and 2 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
The first step is to seed and reconstitute the dried peppers:
Above are the stem and seeded Arbol and Ancho peppers. The Arbols provide the heat and the Anchos provide the flavor. Removing the seeds tames the extreme heat of the Arbols. You cover them with boiling water, immersing the peppers with a plate and let infuse for 30 min:
You then put the peppers, soaking liquid, and peeled and sliced garlic cloves in a food processor or blender and spray into a smooth puree. You then push it through a fine mesh sieve, throwing out the solids.
Above is what I had left of the filtered chili sauce after adding 3/4 cup to the soup. I used some of it to baste the finished soup.
I started piecing together dried chili peppers when I made the Food Lab's best short rib chili (see Cornbread with salted jalapeno pepper). The Food Lab's recipe only uses the chilies without the steeping liquid, so you end up with a paste rather than a sauce.
But whether it's a paste or a sauce, I've never looked back. I even threw away what was left of my chili powder bottle. Reconstituted dried chili peppers have an incredible depth of flavor that you just can't get from chili powder.
The next step is to sauté 1 chopped onion in 2 T of vegetable oil in a casserole dish. Once the onions are tender, you push them to one side and brown the pork shoulder in the same pan. Before chopping and sautéing the onions, I cut the pork shoulder into 2 large pieces and sprinkled each of them in a mixture of cumin and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, so the pork could rest. for a while in the mixture:
Once you have softened the onion and browned the pork, add the chicken broth, oregano, bay leaf and 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup chili sauce, to taste. The Food Network recipe also calls for 2 cups of water, but I would leave that aside next time for a thicker soup. You can always add water or broth later if needed. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a low boil. Cover partially and cook, turning pork a few times, until tender, about 3 hours.
You then add the drained and rinsed hominy and continue to simmer, uncovered until the pork begins to collapse, about an hour more, Remove the bay leaf. Transfer the pork to a cutting board, roughly chop and return to the soup. Add water or broth if the posole is too thick. Season with salt. Serve with assorted garnishes. The photo at the top of this post is my first bowl, with just some grated Vasterbotten cheese and some of the chili sauce. For my second bowl I used these two toppings along with tortilla chips, chopped cilantro, avocado, and marigold petals that I had on hand from my weekly Trifecta Ecosystems harvest:
La Cantina Los Charros fried the hominy before adding it to the soup. This gives it a crispy texture which I liked. I tried to make it, but couldn't make it crisp like they did. Will continue to experiment.
Whether you regularly whip up Michelin-worthy meals at the drop of a hat or your cooking skills are best described as “fine, ” you can always benefit from the helpful little tricks of others. Here, 14 of our friends’, families’ and coworkers’ most-used cooking tips.
There’s a time and a place to whip out that complicated coq au vin recipe you’ve been dying to try. A dinner party isn’t that time. With a new recipe, you’ll likely be chained to the kitchen the whole time, plus, when you’re trying something for the first time, there’s always the possibility that it could go horribly wrong. When cooking for a group, we always err on the side of tried-and-true crowd-pleasers.
You do hours of prep work on an intricate dish, only to be totally disappointed once you taste the terminal product. Bummer. Instead of putting in all that effort only to be disappointed, taste while you cook. That way, you’ll realize sooner that the dish isn’t tasting how you’d like it to, and you can make all kinds of last-ditch exercices to save it. This doesn’t just work for bad-to-OK meals. Tasting midway through and realizing how perfect a dash of cayenne or a squirt of lemon juice would be can take a great dinner to legendary status.
Plating pasta means tossing some onto a plate and finishing it with a nice dollop of sauce right on the middle, right ? Wrong. Here’s how to take your carbs to the next level : On the stove there should be two pans, one with pasta and one with sauce. Cook the pasta to al dente and transfer it into the sauce. Then, add a little bit of pasta water ( literally just the starchy water the pasta has been cooking in ), which will help the sauce cling to the pasta while also keeping it the right consistency. Perfection.
In the pursuit of the perfect steak, you have to be OK with your kitchen getting a little smoky. That’s because, to get the mouthwatering sear we’re all after, the meat has to be dry and the pan should be pretty damn close to smoking hot. Trust us, it’s worth a few seconds of a blaring alarm.
Most foods are ruined by too much salt. Steak is different. When it comes to seasoning your meat ( before you cook it ), more is more. Use a generous amount of coarse Kosher salt—more than you think you need. Since most cuts of steak are pretty thick, even though you’re using a lot of salt, it’s still only covering the surface.
This one isn’t too complicated. Whether you’re making avocado toast, pizza, fried rice or a burger, the addition of a fried egg on top will not hurt your feelings. Trust us.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but we’ve definitely found ourselves in a situation where we assumed we knew all of the ingredients that went into chocolate chip cookies only to find out that we had about half the required amount of brown sugar. Ugh. to avoid a mid-cooking grocery-store trip, read the recipe from front to back—carefully—before you start.
Prepping céréales in mass quantities is less about taste than convenience. Rice, quinoa and even oatmeal last about a week in the fridge after being cooked. When we’re prepping any one of those, we double up our measurements and store the leftovers, which are then impossibly easy to use up throughout the week. Too tired to make dinner ? Heat up some leftover rice from the fridge and toss an egg on top ( remember ? ). Couldn’t be simpler.
So you fried up a pound of bacon for an indulgent ( read : delicious ) déjeuner. Great, just make sure you don’t throw out the grease in the pan. Instead, save it in the refrigerator or freezer ( it technically lasts for up to a year, but should be used sooner than that to take full advantage of its flavor ). Then, anytime you’re cooking something you typically prepare in oil, try cooking it in the bacon grease instead. You’ll never want to eat Brussels sprouts the old way again.
You’ve probably heard that whenever a dish is lacking a little something-something, the best thing to do is toss in some salt. But, we have it on good authority that salt isn’t always the answer. When you’re tasting a dish at the end and you think it needs a little oomph, often it just needs a splash of acid ( like lemon juice ) to round out the flavor.
You know the difference between a paring knife and a fillet knife, but do you know how to take care of them ? Or, more importantly, how to use them ? A set of good knives can be the difference between a stressful cooking experience and a great one. First, practice your knife skills. Look up tutorials on YouTube and practice chopping, slicing and julienne-ing. It’s amazing what you can do with your cook time when your prep time is shortened with solid knife skills. Then, once you’ve got your skills down pat, learn how to take care of your set. No one ever achieved kitchen greatness with a dull chef’s knife.
The key to tender, flavorful barbecue and roasts ? Cooking it on a low temperature for a long time. The same doesn’t go for roasting veggies. For crispy, perfectly cooked butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and more, remember the magic number : 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Any lower, and you risk pulling a pan of blah carrots out of the oven. It might seem high, but to get the nice roasted flavor, you need high heat. And while we’re on the subject, stop crowding your veggies in the pan, which will also make them soggy.
You know how just about every cookie recipe suggests that you chill your dough in the refrigerator for at least a few hours, but oftentimes you don’t listen because you just want cookies now ? ! ( Same. ) Unfortunately, this step actually does make a difference. In addition to limiting how much the dough spreads while baking, chilling your dough intensifies the flavors and produces that perfect chewy, crispy texture we know and love.
It won’t do your breath any favors, but never ( ever ) scrimp on garlic. In fact, we typically double the amount a recipe calls for. Apologies to anyone who was planning on kissing us.