Posole v NW

Some friends and I ate lunch at the food carts yesterday on Skidmore and Mississippi in NE Portland, and e. got posole. It was cold and rainy, with the sun peaking out every half hour, so a bowl of hot porky posole sounded perfect. But it was a disappointing posole. All heat, no salt, no garnish like radish or cilantro or pico de gallo or lime. Just a spicy bowl of flavorless hominy heated up so hot we couldn’t even taste the tastelessness. I could not justify the $4.50 we spent on this bowl of broth.20110508-121119.jpg

Here’s a version I’ve been making at home and occasionally for weekend brunch. This is a more stew-like recipe since I sauté a medium dice mirepoix with some red and green bell peppers, then stir in the chili powder and other spices, stock or water, and later on I add cooked pinto or vallarta beans and zucchini.

To finish it off I place a small handful of baby arugula on top like a nest for a perfect poached or fried egg. On the side you should have a small plate ready with your garnish: lime wedges, pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, radish (I like daikon or a pickled radish), pickled carrots, cilantro and cotija.

Keep in mind too that I’m using Rancho Gordo beans, hominy, oregano and chili powders. The spices are especially different from any store bought powder. Just make sure you’re not using a blend but pure red chile with no salt or any other ingredients mixed in.

Sauté these guys in a generous amount of olive oil till onions are nearly translucent:

1 carrot peeled, 1 onion, 1 stalk celery – medium dice

Then toss in:

1 red bell pepper & 1 green pepper, medium dice

4 cloves garlic thinly sliced

Sauté another minute or so, then stir in the following and fry for 30 seconds:

4 – 8 Tbsp Rancho Gordo Chili Powder… I like a spicier, red posole… And I mix the powder up with just enough water to make a sludge before cooking in the oil. Start with a little if you don’t like the spiciness.

One generous pinch mexican oregano

2 Tbsp freshly ground cumin

2 Tbsp tomato paste

Add and bring to boil:

2 quarts water, veggie stock, or chicken stock. I’ve used duck stock too – it’s delicious.

2- 3 C. cooked hominy

1 C. cooked pinto or vallarta beans (optional)

1 C. cooked garbonzos (optional)

Soon as it boils turn it down to a simmer for 20 minutes or so. The last five minutes go ahead and add one medium diced zucchini. This keeps it from being overcooked and soggy.

At this point add the salt to your liking. Sometimes I also will throw in a splash of vinegar for acid, but the lime garnish is just as good.


wedges of lime, pico de gallo, thinly shredded cabbage, daikon or other radish (pickled or raw), pickled carrots, cilantro and cotija.

nest of baby arugula with a poached or soft fried egg


I didn’t forget to add the pork. I wanted to say a few things about it first.

I like to brine a pork shoulder overnight, and braise it with chipotle and cinnamon for a few hours at 325 degrees. I make the vegetarian version of the posole because we actually do get a lot of veggies in the restaurant. When we get an order, I’ll quickly fry up a generous handful of the pulled pork in hot fat, season with salt and pepper, then place in the soup bowl before pouring the posole over it.

It might seem like a lot of steps, but damn is it worth it.

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