Monday, January 14, 2013

Posole Verde de Pollo

I'm not sure why I decided, on a January day that was supposed to be headed to nearly 70F, to make posole, a hearty Mexican soup, for dinner. But I'm glad I did. The day didn't turn out to be all that anyway: up on top of the hill at Linden where we spent the day, it was cool, damp, and fogged in. Good soup weather. And a good day to have dinner waiting in the slow cooker when we got back home.

I make all kinds of posole, from thick and heavy chile-laced fiery pork stews, to light and almost ethereal soups of amazing flavor. It was this latter I was aiming for in making a green posole with chicken.

Roasting Poblanos
The day before, I charred my poblanos, peeled, seeded, and chopped them. It is not necessary to roast poblanos or even skin them beforehand, but I like them better that way. I am always careful with poblanos for their heat is unpredictable. Some are totally mild; some will hurt you. I've found that in winter when our poblanos come from very far south, they can be extremely spicy.

Roasting Tomatillos and Garlic
Also the day before, I made a green tomatillo sauce by roasting tomatillos and garlic on a sheet tray until the tops of the tomatillos were nicely blackened. Then into the blender with the lot.

Posole Ingredients
I was going to start my posole with dried hominy, but oddly enough, I couldn't find any at the market, so I grabbed a can of hominy. From the hominy clockwise: oregano, avocado leaves, tomatillo-roasted garlic sauce, green onion, cilantro, lime, roasted and diced poblanos, and an onion. What you don't see: 4 big chicken leg quarters and a bottle of cheap Mexican beer that was leftover from some party last summer. What else can you do with flavorless lager but cook with it?

Posole Verde de Pollo
Everything went into the slow cooker, then I poured the Sol beer over and added water to cover. I added maybe a teaspoon of salt at this point and set it to cooking. Six or seven hours later when we got back home, I fished out the chicken thighs, deboned them, added the meat back to the posole, and adjusted the salt. I served it with a lime wedge, fresh cilantro leaves, and sliced green onions. I would have topped each bowl with slices of avocado except that the avocado I thought was on the counter ended up in Ann's egg salad earlier in the week.

If I want a thicker stew rather than a thinner stew, I will sometimes stick the immersion blender into the soup and blitz up some of the hominy. Other times, I will add a little masa to the cooking soup. This time, I just wanted a thin soup. Delicious and easy to make with almost no clean up, because I had the foresight to roast the poblanos and make the salsa verde the day before.

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