Monday, May 05, 2008

Celebrate Hominy on Cinco de Mayo

I can tell by the arrival of beer-themed piñatas in my supermarket that Cinco de Mayo is upon us. I am a big fan of our local Cinco de Mayo street festivals here in Oakland and elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay area. I am also a fan of U.S. style (Tex-Mex) and regional Mexican food.

Since I made fajitas the other day, I was going to post about that in honor of the outnumbered Mexicans fighting back the French troops in the Battle of Puebla on the fifth of May in 1862, but fajitas, somehow, seemed too American.

(By the way – try my “margarita” marinade for chicken fajitas – a healthy slug of tequila and equal amount of lemon or lime juice, vegetable oil equal to the total amount of tequila plus juice and a generous sprinkling of salt, pepper and minced garlic.)

I settled on Beef Posole. Posole (sometimes spelled pozole) was known in pre-Columbian times. It is made from dried hominy, which is dried corn treated with lime (the mineral not the juice) or other alkali substance to remove the germ and hard outer hull of kernel. The process also makes the substance’s amino acids more available. Hominy grits, popular in the south, are also made from this treated grain.

Most posole recipes I’ve seen call for pork. Many are fussy and seem kind of daunting. This one, adapted from the back of the label from a bag of Los Chileros de Nueva Mexico’s White Corn Posole was easy to make, incredibly tasty and soul warming. Its flavor will depend somewhat on the kind of chiles used. I used guajillo chilies, which give the dish a reddish color and some real bite, which nicely offsets the richness of the meat and the cornmeal tang of the hominy. You could try dried chipotle chiles which would give you a smoky flavor or a milder chile. Of course you can use any other posole in the recipe. It is widely available as a bulk good in Mexican-American markets.

Beef Posole
Serves 8

12 ounces of dried posole
1 teaspoon salt
2 pounds of cubed, trimmed beef (chuck steak or roast works well)
6-8 guajillo chile pods
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Garnishes (chopped cilantro, thinly sliced radishes, chopped onion, chopped avocado, lime juice)

Put posole in a glass or stainless steel pot or container. Add water to cover. Soak overnight. Drain. In a large pot, cover posole with water and then add salt. Bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for two hours. Add meat, chiles, garlic, oregano and cumin. Cover, simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour or more until meat and posole are tender.
Serve in bowls with garnishes as desired.

Info for those of us who are weight watchers: This recipe has no added oil. My estimate for 1 serving is about 9 points. Skip the tortillas and just have a salad for an incredibly satisfying and filling meal.


hits4pay said...

Happy Cinco De Mayo 2008 !!

FJKramer said...

I made this a second time, adding a sliced onion and a few cloves of minced garlic. It was just as good but oddly enough I really couldn't tell that the garlic and onion made any difference to the seasoning.