Home for the Holidays 2003

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The Chef
Peter Hoffman of Savoy

Serves 8 to 10

5 cups dried posole kernels or 4 quarts canned hominy (9 15-ounce cans)
8 ounces pork shoulder
8 ounces pork neck bones or vertebrae
1 small chicken
1/3 cup dried oregano
4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 pound tomatillos, husked and washed
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
6 serrano chilies, seeded
2 ½ cups pumpkin seeds, toasted in a skillet
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

Salad condiments: 1 cup diced red onion; 2 ripe avocados, peeled and cut into small chunks; 4 limes, quartered; 12 corn tortillas, fried until crisp and broken into pieces; 8 radishes, sliced thin

Cooking Instructions
If using dried posole corn, place the posole in a large pot in about 6 quarts of unsalted water, and cook for 3 to 4 hours, until the corn has softened. (May be done the night before; allow the posole to cool in the cooking broth overnight. Salt should be added when the kernels are nearly tender.)

Add the pork shoulder, bones, chicken, oregano, and garlic to the pot of posole. Bring to a boil, and skim off the foam. (If using canned hominy, place the kernels and their liquid in a large pot with the pork, chicken, oregano, and garlic, along with 7½ cups of water, to cover the meat.) Cover the pot, and simmer for 2 hours more, until the meat is tender and comes apart easily. Remove the meat from the liquid. Continue cooking the hominy if necessary, until the kernels are fully flowered and open. When the pork and chicken are cool enough to handle, pull the meat off the bones, and shred it.

Cook the tomatillos in 2 cups of the broth until they are soft. Transfer them to a blender and add the yellow onion, chilies, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Purée, adding more broth if necessary. Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the tomatillo mixture, and stir constantly until the mixture is cooked and begins to brown a little. Pour the purée into the soup, and cook for another hour on a low heat, stirring from time to time, to make sure that the soup is not sticking to the pot and burning.

Season well with salt. Just before serving, return the shredded meat to the soup, and reheat. (The flavor of the soup will improve if kept overnight.) Serve sprinkled with the salad condiments.

Best With
Suggested menu: Crispy salads—sliced cabbage, carrot, and jícama; escarole-and-frisée salad with cilantro dressing; Pork-and-chicken posole; Apple tart with goat’s-milk-caramel sauce.

Photograph by William Meppem