Jul 212013
 

Roasted poblanos

I’m a bit ashamed to admit it, but I really did resist the whole idea of hominy for a long time. I’m not sure why, but there was some strong reaction to the word (not the concept, just the word) in my brain. Maybe it was because it sounds somewhat like homily, which is a thing I found to be exceptionally tedious in my formative years. Of course, hominy and homilies have absolutely nothing in common, unless I’m going to use this here platform to preach to you about the virtues of nixtamalized corn. Which I might just a little bit, given that this is my blog and all and I do have a tendency to go on about food that I really, really like.

Ahem.

My love affair with hominy began just shy of a year ago when I was cooking like a mad-woman to stock the freezer before The Babe was born (yes, I was totally bare-foot and pregnant in the kitchen). I had never had the stuff but decided to make a pork-hominy-tomatillo stew to squirrel away for the post-partum days. (We ate better than the average newly-minted parents. It was a priority.) I was pretty-much ensnared once I discovered than it smelled like a really really good corn tortilla tastes. And the stew? Heavenly. One of these days I’ll get around posting it here. But I digress.

Having repented of my anti-hominy ways, it wasn’t long before I was ordering more of the stuff from Rancho Gordo, which meant, of course, that I needed to find more ways to cook it.

Enter the poblano: while she was visiting one weekend, Mrs Cheeseburger in Glacial Ice and I discovered these in Tucson at a chef demo at my favorite farmers’ market. The chef had soaked strips of the pepper in tequila and simple syrup and then dehydrated them to make a candy. Delish! I had found a new favorite pepper. So when I came across a recipe on the Rancho Gordo website that used both roasted poblanos and hominy, it took me all of about two seconds to decide that I was going to have to try it. I’ve made it several times and several different ways and it never disappoints. So throw irrational food prejudices and caution (except when it comes to those serranos — whoo boy, those should be used sparingly) to the wind and whip up a pot of this. Else I’ll be forced to go on a hominy homily, and really, no one wants to hear that.

Roasted poblano pozole

Roasted Poblano Pozole
Adapted from a recipe by Rancho Gordo
Serves 6-8

Notes:

  • There is a quick version and a not-so-quick version of this soup. The not-so-quick uses dried hominy and the quick version uses fresh or frozen corn. They are very different soups but both are delicious.

You will need:

  • 1/4-pound dried hominy (aka posole) OR 16 ounces corn (frozen is ok)
  • 4 whole poblano peppers
  • 2 pounds chicken (white or dark meat), skin off, bone-in (or about 1.5 pounds leftover chicken)
  • 5-6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 whole yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 small waxy white or yellow potatoes, cubed
  • 1 whole serrano chile, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • Chopped cilantro, for serving

To prepare:

  1. If using dried hominy: the night before making the soup, cover the hominy with several inches of water and let soak overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the hominy, then place in a medium saucepan, cover with fresh water, and simmer until the kernels blossom like a flower but still have a bit of tooth to them. Alternately, if you forget to soak the hominy the night before, about 3.5 hours before you want to eat, place the hominy in a Dutch oven, cover with water, and put in a 350F oven for about three hours, until done as desribed for the overnight-soak method.
  2. Roast the peppers: turn on your broiler and place the oven rack as close to the heating element as possible, leaving room for the peppers. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the peppers on it. Broil, checking the peppers every 7-10 minutes and rotating them when the skin is very blackened. When the peppers are blackened all the way around, place them in a paper bag or a heat-proof bowl with a lid to steam them and cool them down.
  3. If using raw chicken: while the peppers are cooling, place the chicken stock and chicken pieces in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and poach the chicken until done (it’s ok if it’s slightly under-done because you’ll be cooking it some more). Let cool slightly, then remove the chicken from the bone and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces with two forks.
  4. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin and stem and discard them and the seeds and ribs inside the peppers. Reserve collected juices. Cut the peppers into 1/3-inch strips and set aside.
  5. In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until golden and soft, 5-7 minutes. Add the poblanos, oregano, serrano (if using), potatoes, and corn (if using instead of hominy). Saute for about three minutes, making sure all the ingredients are well-coated with the oil and onion.
  6. Pour in the chicken stock, reserved poblano juices, cooked hominy, and chicken. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasonings and serve, passing the lime wedges and chopped cilantro at the table.

Variations:

  • To make in a slow cooker: do not soak the hominy. Roast and slice the peppers as above. In the insert of your slow-cooker (if it’s stove-top-safe) or in a saucepan or Dutch oven, saute the onion, poblanos, oregano, serrano, and potatoes (and corn, if using instead of hominy) as above. Combine the sauteed mixture, hominy, chicken, and stock in the slow-cooker, cover, and cook on low for 9-11 hours or on high for 5-7 hours. Before serving, remove the chicken, de-bone it, and shred it. Return it to the pozole, adjust seasonings, and serve lime and cilantro.

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