Posole is pure New Mexican comfort food. While it’s served at family dinners throughout the year, it’s considered a holiday dish showing up on many family tables at Christmas and New Years. The corn based dish is rich and spicy and has been made in New Mexican families for generations. Roberto Timoteo Cordova, owner of Casa Chimayó Restaurant in Santa Fe, can trace his New Mexican roots back to 1598. His ancestors arrived with Juan de Oñate and the first Spaniards to settle here. They arrived in Chimayó in 1695 after the Spanish returned at the end of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. At that time, they also settled in Truchas and Cordova further up the High Road to Taos.
Cordova is passionate about his family’s history, including the culinary part. His restaurant serves what he calls “las comidas de las abuelas” (the food of the grandmothers). He calls it “authentic” New Mexican food. The recipes have been passed down in his family. He shares his grandmother Teresita’s (“or Grandma Tita as she was known to us”) posole recipe here. Should you have too much holiday cheer, he says it’s a great hangover cure. ¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!
Casa Chimayo’s Posole
Posole is a very traditional dish around the holidays in Northern New Mexico. It is a rich and hearty dish that sticks to your ribs, and warms you up from the inside out.
1 lb. posole – fresh or frozen (canned hominy may be substituted if posole not available)
1 onion, quartered
1 tsp salt
2 lb. pork shoulder
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
6 to 8 chile pods
2 cups broth (from the cooked pork)
Soak posole overnight. Drain and rinse posole, then place it in a cooking pot and cover with water. Use approximately two parts water to one part posole. Add the onion and salt. Bring to a boil on the stove, then lower heat and simmer until posole has started to “bloom”, about 1 ½-2 hrs. The posole will swell and start to resemble popcorn, but will still be chewy.
Place pork shoulder in another pot and cover with water. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then cook over medium heat until tender and falling off the bone. Remove meat from broth and let cool. Remove meat from bones and pull apart into small pieces, set aside.
Place rinsed chile pods, stems removed in about two cups of hot broth (from the cooked pork) and let them soak about 20 minutes, or until soft. Note: Remove the seeds if you want a milder chile. Place broth and chile pods in blender and blend until smooth.
Combining the posole, pork and chile:
When the posole is at the chewy point, add the pork, chile, and any remaining broth to the posole and let it finish cooking (total cooking time about 4-6 hours). Stir the posole mixture periodically, adding hot water if necessary. Do not allow it to dry out, Taste and adjust salt and pepper to taste. The key to a successful posole is watching for it to finish “blooming”. Posole is fully cooked when it has completely opened and is tender when chewed.
Serve in bowl and place garnish on the table so that each can do their own. Garnish may include: sliced limes, chopped cilantro, finely chopped onion, oregano, cubed avocado, or grated cheese.
Do you have a favorite Santa Fe recipes to share? We’d love to hear from you.