Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Vegetarian Pozole Rojo

Pozole is a Mexican stew traditionally made with pork and nixtamal (also known as hominy, a large variety of dried corn kernels treated with lime* to increase its nutritional value & make it more easily digested). Hominy is a bit tricky to get hold of in the UK (Coolchile sell the dried variety, which is what I'm using in this recipe). This is a vegetarian version of the classic red pozole, using pinto beans instead of pork.
This isn't a quick recipe. This is an extremely slow recipe. I'll no doubt blather about slow cooking another time.

Vegetarian Pozole Rojo (Vegetarian Red Pozole Stew)

2 cups dried hominy
2 cups Pinto beans (dried & checked over)

Here's the dried hominy & pinto beans in a bowl. Rinse & cover with cold water, and leave to soak overnight (see, told you it was slow!), or for 6 hours.

Next morning (or 6 hours later), drain the beans & hominy & rinse.

Here's a closer look at the hominy after its soaking. The kernels have doubled in size, and are starting to look a bit more tender and appetising. They also have a very distinctive smell. Put in a large pot & cover with water. Bring to the boil & then simmer until the beans have become very soft & the hominy has swollen & started to burst open. This can take anything from an hour to 3 hours, maybe even 4, depending on how fresh the hominy & beans were.
While the hominy is simmering, you'll need to make the chile sauce (yes, more work. But this will add lots of flavour, and make the pozole red. Instead of swampy grey. No picture of that here, is there?!)

Chile Sauce
3 Ancho Chiles, deseeded & chopped
3 Guadjillo Chiles, deseeded & chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1tbs oil
2 cups chopped tomatoes or passata

Heat the oil in a pan & fry the onion, garlic & chiles until softened. Add 2 cups of the cooking water from the pozole & leave to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat & pour into a blender or food processor & blitz until you have a smooth sauce. 1/2 an hour before the end of cooking, add this chile sauce & the chopped tomatoes or passata to the pozole & stir in.
Suddenly your distressingly grey stew is RED! Huzzah, for soon you will eat!
While the pozole has its last half hour of simmering, you'll need to prepare some garnishes.

Yes, garnishes. Half the glory that is pozole is the variety of garnishes you can scatter over your bowlful of stew (kind of like the Chinese Hotpot or Steamboat/Steambowl, where the stock is served with a wide variety of ingredients & condiments, so each serving is different). Shredded lettuce, spring onions, chopped red onion, lime wedges, avocado slices, tortilla strips, sliced radish, sour cream & coriander all make great toppings (radish is surprisingly nice. Avocado & lime is even better)

Om Nom Nom

*Not the citrus kind of lime, the other stuff. The earliest known use of this process is in Guatemala around 1200BC. Cherokee Indians used this method to make a fermented stew called *deep breath* Gv-No-He-Nv A-Ma-Gi-i.

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