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Blue corn posole stew

3 lbs. (1.5 kg) lamb or pork roast, trimmed of fat and cut into 1 inch (2 cm x 2 cm) cubes
l large onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vegetable oil (or render the trimmed fat or saute some bacon)
2-8 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 cups (240-480 ml) dry white wine (optional)
2 cans, about 10-1/2 oz (315 ml) each, condensed chicken stock or equivalent
2 quarts (2 liters) water, enough to cover posole, add more as needed

21 oz. (588 g) of dry blue corn posole
or 24 oz. (.75 kg) fresh white nixtamal (about 1/2 the standard pk; the rest may be frozen for later use.)
or 3 cans, about 29 oz. (800 g) each, of yellow or white hominy (maiz blanco)

8 oz. (224 g) canned diced mild green chilies
or 2-4 fresh mild, long green chilies, seeded and finely chopped

6-12 juniper berries, mashed (or substitute a crushed bay leaf)
1 tablespoon (20 ml) oregano
salt to taste, or use 1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped parsley or cilantro
lime or lemon wedges

In a 6- to 8- quart (6-8 liter) pan, cook the onion in the oil until soft, stirring often.

Add the water, chicken stock, white wine and juniper berries. Bring to a rolling boil and add the dry posole or fresh nixtamal. Simmer slowly on low heat for 3 to 4 hours. Add more liquid if necessary.
(If you are using canned hominy, skip this step. Cook the meat as instructed below with the liquids and seasonings, using just enough water to cover the meat. Add the canned hominy with the parsley and cilantro. Heat to serving temperature.)

When the posole kernels start to split open, add the meat cubes, garlic, green chilies and oregano and cook on low heat for about 1 hour longer, until the meat is no longer pink in the center. If you like more salt, add a chicken bouillon cube or salt to taste.

Add the parsley or cilantro just before serving. Serve with lime or lemon wedges. French style bread and a green salad go well with Posole.

The meat can be roasted separately, cubed and added at the last minute for fuller flavor. Try the method in Slow-roast lamb.

Posole can be made without meat. Blue corn is the best choice, as it has a firmer texture and more distinctive flavor.

Made with less liquid, it is served in New Mexico as a side dish with breakfast eggs or with lunch.

The American Indians developed corn as a staple crop, as well as many ways to preserve and serve it. Hominy, or nixtamal, is corn which has been soaked overnight in water and baking soda, boiled, hulled, boiled and boiled again. Although this stew can be made with canned hominy, or better with fresh white nixtamal available in groceries in the American Southwest and Mexico; the best is made with blue corn from New Mexico. There it is often sold under the name "posole" or "pozole".

The first time I tasted posole was on a late, icy January night at San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico when my friend took me to dinner at her friends' house while we waited for the Animal Dance to began at dawn. The dancers emerged over the hilltop at the first light accompanied by a drumming chorus of older men and the kiva priests. It was very cold, very beautiful and the stew in our bellies helped keep us warm.

The Zuni also serve this stew in the Shalako houses during the winter ceremony. Later, I would eat it at my Hopi friend's homes or at the Second Mesa cafe where it is sometimes sold under it's Hopi name, nöqkwivi.

American Indian Food and Lore, 150 Authentic Recipes
by Carolyn Niethammer, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., New York, 1974. Excellent botanical and ethnographical information plus recipes for both wild and cultivated plants. The section on corn includes a recipe for hominy on p.140.

NativeSeeds.org for native beans, chilies, mole powders, hot chocolate with chili mixes, sweets, salsas, corn products (including posole).

Recipe toc or browse Alamos lime pie | Blue corn posole stew | Boiled peanuts or soybeans | Chargrilled Atlantic salmon | Chocolate sour cream cake | Chutneys | Curried pumpkin soup | Eggplant parmesan | Flo Chang's fish recipes | Lemon basil salsa | Pasepa Swann's Fiji curry | Picadillo chili dip | Pie crust | Sepik River patrol curry | Slow-roast lamb | Smoked salmon soufflé with dill | Spice pumpkin pie | Sweet potato spread | Sweet rice | Tamale pie | Winter squash: acorn maple | Winter squash: butternut ginger


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