I have a t-shirt that says “Hecho en Mexico.” While some Mexicans are pasty white and have ocean blue eyes, I am not one of them, at least not by birth. Growing up, Tex-Mex Tacos constituted my repertoire of Mexican food. After a year and a half in Southern California, my culinary and cultural boundaries were blown to pieces.
I loved the traditional sopes, enchiladas, burritos, taquitos, tostadas, arroz con leche, horchata, carne asada, pozole, etc. I lived those 18 months in bliss, food heaven. However, when I came home, I was in shock. I initially tried to survive by dosing everything in Tapatio (Hot Sauce). Eventually, I realized that I was going to have to learn how to cook authentic Mexican food or suffer for the rest of my life.
A few days ago I found a recipe for Pozole for a crock pot (two of my favourite things! Yipee!) It was delicious! The husband’s response says it all: “You should keep that recipe!” Before we get to the recipe part, let me share with you some disgusting history of the soup/ stew Pozole.
Apparently, “pozole was made to be consumed on special events. The conjunction of corn (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars because the ancient Mexicans believed that the gods made humans out of cornmeal dough. According to research by the National Institute of Anthropology and History and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, on these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human. After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with corn. The meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat, as it “tasted very similar”, according to a Spanish priest.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posole)
While that little tidbit of information might be unappealing, Pozole certainly is not.
- – 2 lbs shoulder chuck pork, fat trimmed, and chopped in 1/2″ pieces
- 2 tbsp oil olive
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 can oven roasted chilies (7 oz)
- 2 cans white hominy (15 oz)
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup minced chopped cilantro
Heat oil in a skillet on medium-high. Brown meat in portions. Add to the slow cooker. Add all ingredients through cumin. Stir. Heat on low for 5-6 hours. Add salt, pepper and cilantro. Cook for another hour. Laddle soup into bowls. Serve with shredded lettuce, chopped onions, cilantro, lime wedges and heated corn tortillas. (Sometimes it is served with radishes too, but I don’t like radishes.)
(It is red or green depending on whether you use red or green chilies)
Even though it’s not technically soup season (and this particular soup would be great in the fall or winter), I made soup tonight because no matter what time of year it is, when you wake up with a sore throat, it’s time for some simple and classic soup.
Growing up, Yellow Split-Pea Soup was not a traditional remedy in my house. In fact, before today, I’d never had a split-pea soup before. Let me tell you from whence my inspiration came: Last weekend, I was sick. Not sore throat sick, but gross, throwing-up/ fever sick. As such, I stayed home and watched Disney movies for an entire day. Rescuers Down Under was one of the movies that I managed to stay awake through. (I promise, I’m getting to the soup part.) Well, there comes a point in the movie where Bianca and Bernard (mice) are dining at a fancy restaurant before they find out about Cody. Anyways, a pea falls on the ground in the human restaurant and an ant (cockroach?) Sends it to the insect chef who says “Pea Soup!” So, when I was perusing one of my cookbooks the other day and came across this recipe, I added it onto my list of things to make without taking into account at all the fact that nobody wants to eat soup in the middle of an excruciatingly hot summer. Oh well.
Yellow Split-Pea Soup (adapted from Better Homes Cookbook)
- two cups (1lbs) yellow split-peas (rinsed)
- 1/2 barley
- 8 cups chicken stock (you can use water or a mixture of stock and water)
- 1Tbsp chicken bouillon granules
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups celery, chopped
- 2 cups carrot, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 cup cooked ham, cubed
- Kosher salt to taste
In a large saucepan, combine peas, barley, liquid, bouillon and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Once it boils, lower heat and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add veggies. Bring to a boil. Once it boils, lower heat, and let simmer for another 30 minutes (or until the veggies and the barley are tender). Add ham and pepper. Cook for 5 more minutes, or until the ham is heater through. Season with salt. Serve with a slice of fresh bread.