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
© Casa Chimayo Restaurant Recipe author: Helen Cordova
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.
Serves: 6 to 8
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: varies from 1½ to 3 hrs, depending on type of posole (hominy) selected.
Total Time: varies, depending on posole used (see note below).
3 lbs. pork shoulder
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp salt or to taste
10 to 12 Casa Chimayo Red Chile pods, (Note: the more pods, the more intense the flavor and heat of the chile).
2 cups broth, or enough to allow pods to puree easily in blender (Do not fill blender more than halfway with hot liquid).
4 cloves fresh, peeled garlic
Salt to taste
1 lb. posole, dried or frozen. Canned hominy may be substituted if dried or frozen are not available; add it in the last 15 minutes of cooking to preserve texture.
1 onion, quartered
1 tsp salt
You will essentially be preparing this recipe in three stages: pork, chile, and posole. These are then combined into the final posole.
Step 1 – Prepare Pork:
Place pork shoulder in a pot and cover with water.
Add 1 tsp salt, cumin, bay leaf and onion.
Bring to a boil uncovered and then then cook, covered, over medium heat until tender and falling off the bone; about 1½ hrs.
Remove meat from broth and let cool; reserve broth for later.Pull meat from bones and cut into small bite size pieces, set aside.
Step 2 – Prepare Chile:
Place rinsed chile pods, stems and seeds removed in 2 cups of hot broth and let soak about 20 minutes, or until soft.
Place broth, pods, and garlic in blender and blend until smooth. Add salt to taste and set aside.
Step 3 – Prepare Posole:
If using dried posole let soak overnight, then proceed to next. If frozen, defrost thoroughly then proceed to next step.
Drain and rinse posole.
Place posole in a cooking pot and cover with water. Use approx. 2 parts water to 1 part posole.
Add onion and salt
Bring to a boil on the stove, then lower heat and simmer until posole has started to “bloom” (about 1 to 1½ hrs). The posole will swell and start to resemble popcorn, but will still be chewy. At this point add the pork, chile, and any remaining broth into the posole and let it finish cooking. The key to a successful posole is watching for it to finish “blooming”. Posole is fully cooked when it has opened completely, and is tender when chewed.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve in bowl and place garnishes on the table so that each can do their own. Garnish are optional and may include: sliced limes, chopped fresh cilantro, finely chopped onion, oregano, cubed avocado, or grated cheese.
Note: Total cooking time for this dish will vary greatly, depending on which kind of posole you select (canned, frozen, or dried). Best estimate would be anywhere from 2-4 hrs. Just remember, dried posole will take the longest @ 3 hours, frozen will shorten cooking time somewhat, and canned will be the shortest at taking about 1½ hours.
Do you have a favorite Santa Fe recipes to share? We’d love to hear from you.