Kroger had pork shoulders for 99 cents a pound so I grabbed one. I figured it was past time for a big pot of posole.Mrs J eats hers with crushed nacho chips but I like to go with the traditional garnishes, sans cilantro because reasons. Posole as I made it here is a pork stew with hominy spiced with a sauce made from dried chilies. I soaked the chilies in hot water and then liquified them in a blender. Push the raw sauce through a sieve and saute the result in a shallow pan with a bit of oil to bring out the flavors. Stir it into the pork broth.
I found a frozen block of posole in the nether reaches of the big freezer and decided today was a good day for it. That’s Monterey jack in the bowl with a few nacho chips. On the platter is an array of traditional garnishes. Colorful! Delicious, too.
Or pasole, or maybe pozole. I’ve spelled it all three ways. Good stuff. Here is a link to a previous post with a recipe. I put up a big chunk of roasted pork in a mason jar last year and used it in today’s dish.
I fried some tortilla wedges for a side to go with some black bean salsa and pico de gallo. These are flour tortillas, I didn’t have any made of corn. The flour ones toasted up very nice. Drain on paper towels or a rack and season them while still hot. I used the Tex-Mex seasoning I favor, and several with plain salt for the Missus.
Pico is a simple but tasty mix of chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. Or, if you hate cilantro like we do, flat leaf parsley. The salsa is easy, rinse a can of black beans, add some corn, diced onions and whatever else sounds good to you, I sliced some jalapenos. The salsa and the pico are both finished with a splash of lime juice. Salt to taste.
You’ll remember me talking about the yummy puree that was made from the onions and dried chilies and added back to the chicken stock for the pozole last night.
Things didn’t go quite as smoothly as all that. I invited Mrs J to sample the broth and she indicated displeasure by singing my beard with a small roar. She usually controls the flame better than that.
So I ladled much of the broth into a smaller sauce pot and replaced it with fresh broth. This left me with a fair amount of broth that was surplus but too tasty to toss away. I simmered it for a long time as I pondered how to preserve it and it must have reduced to about a third or less when I had one of those “Aha!” moments:
I stuck that into the big freezer overnight and ended up with these:
I gathered those into a plastic freezer bag and tossed them right back into the freezer. Mmm…these are going to taste good in any number of things.
Rather than try to freeze the leftover soup we thought to try to can the stuff. Have had spotty success with things like pea soup and ham ‘n beans. I suppose reading the canning recommendations on times and temps would have been useful.
Most if not all of the failures we have suffered are as a result of winging it, extrapolating from canning tomato sauces and the like. Low acid foods just aren’t suitable for water bath methods. I won’t bother to link to the canning tables but for veggies and meats a pressure canner is a must, and the times are much longer than I would have guessed. 90 minutes at 10#, and that is after a good 10 minutes and longer at a full boil with the little weight off the vent, blowing all the air out. Again, I’m not going to link any “how to” sites, just Google them up–most states have official guidelines and I’ll bet there are multiple federal agencies all too happy to tell you all you need to know.
Anyway, I gave these babies the full hour and a half with the “rocker” weight dancing atop the cooker lid. This morning they all look fine. I found this explanation of “headspace” to be useful.
Yeah, yeah. Been there and done that.
Deal with it. This is seriously good stuff. I did make this batch a bit differently than the last few. I used the counter top roaster to cook the pork and added a bunch of onions and dried peppers to the pan with the meat. Cleaned a head of garlic and slipped most of the head into slits cut here and there on the roast. Took the powdered dried peppers I made a while back and gave everything inside the pan a good dusting with that, along with some onion powder and plenty of ground black pepper. Poured in a good quart of chicken stock and turned it on to 350. I shoved a temperature probe into the sweet spot and set it to beep when it got to 165. Worked like a charm.
I took the cooked roast out and set it to cool on a board and then strained the peppers and onions and other solids from the juices left in the pan. Ladle off the fat from the good stuff or do as I did–put the bowl into the freezer until the fat hardens and you can lift it out.
Drag out the blender and dump in the solids you strained from the drippings and the defatted juices and pulse to puree, add chicken stock or water to make it thin enough to pour back into the pot. Those chilies and cooked onions with a few cloves of cooked garlic make a super duper flavoring. I enhanced mine with a few chipotles in adobo sauce. The juice of a lime will work well in there.
Shred or chop the pork when it is cool enough to handle. Peel off the fat and gristly parts. Dump the meat into a big stock pot, add some hominy, a few more onions cut up into largish pieces, add enough chicken stock to cover well. Add the puree of peppers and onions and bring the pot to a simmer, keep it there for at least an hour, longer is better. Give the broth a taste and adjust for salt and heat. Add more pureed chipotles, perhaps with some red pepper flakes or whole dried chilies. Knock yourself out. I like a good bit of oregano in mine, I put in a good tablespoon-that’s in 5 quarts or so, maybe 6, of soup.
TaMara reminds me that I’ve been remiss–I haven’t really said much about this sauce although I’ve mentioned using it. I put some on the leftover frittata this morning that I converted into a breakfast burrito, and it is the stuff that makes the pozole really pop.
The dried peppers are (from the left) pasillas, anchos, and New Mexico chilies. None of them are really hot, the pasillas are a touch warmer then the anchos, and the New Mexico chilies maybe a tad warmer than the pasillas. The other ingredients are lime juice, garlic, and dried oregano. Feel free to substitute other peppers for these-you can mix and match to control the heat of the final product. Like it very hot? Add some dried habaneros or the like.
Tear the peppers into smaller bits, lose the stems and seeds, put them into a sauce pan and cover with water. Simmer for 15 minutes or so, then dump them into a blender. The batch I made today had an entire head of garlic in it. Add some lime juice and the oregano and puree. Add more water if it’s too thick. Taste and add salt if needed, perhaps some more lime juice. I have added tomato salsa to batches of it before. Some olive oil in there wouldn’t hurt anything.
This sauce is great on enchiladas, tacos, fajitas, and burritos. Mix some with sour cream to make a dandy South Western dip for chips. And, as I mentioned above, it’s just super in pozole.
I put up those skunk pics and mused that Jack or another of the pups would tangle with one of them. Brought that on myself, I guess. Jack got skunked last night. Fortunately Mrs J keeps the right stuff on hand to kill the stink and the boy was soon deodorized.
Made some pozole today with a quart of the roast pork I put up in Mason jars. I’m finding that method as handy as freezing.
The pozole is simple enough to put together. I dumped the pork into a fair sized sauce pot and added some chicken broth. Tossed in some diced onions and cloves of garlic, and a couple of cloves of ..er..cloves. Now add a bit of oregano and a few grinds of black pepper and the addition that really makes this dish–some sauce made from dried chili peppers. Anchos work fine, as would any of the large dried red chilies. I have some New Mexico chilies in this batch as well as a couple of dried pasillas.
To make the sauce, tear the chilies into smaller pieces, remove the seeds and the membranes and the stems. Soak these in broth or water, you can bring them to a simmer in a sauce pan to hurry the process. Use enough liquid to cover but not much more. When they soften dump everything into a blender, add a few cloves of garlic, a touch of oregano, and a splash of lime juice. Run the blender to puree and then dump that into the pot with the pork. Add a can of white hominy and then set everything to simmer for a couple of hours.
Serve the pozole with any of a number of garnishes: shredded cabbage, radishes, shredded cheeses, nacho chips, green chili peppers, pickled or fresh jalapeno slices, or whatever strikes your fancy.