Hominy: Feeding a Nation.
On a recent trip to NW Arkansas, I had the great privilege to teach a Master Class at Brightwater Culinary school during the 2019 ROOTS Festival. I decided to talk about Hominy for a variety of reasons, the main one being that it was a food I grew up with but never really understood.
As a child, I would watch my Big Momma make it by soaking dried corn kernels in a water solution until the corn swelled and burst out of it's hull. I now know that the water solution was a mixture of water and wood ash, (lye), and the process that made the corn kernels swell up was called Nixtamalization. This process also made the Niacin in the corn digestible-and therefore healthier.
Although I grew up eating it cooked with salt pork and onions I have found it in other dishes-Pozole Soup being one of my favorites.
This traditional Mexican soup is flavorful soup made up of chilis, tomatoes, onion, beans and yes-hominy! It's traditionally garnished with cojita cheese, fresh lime and cilantro; and lots of fresh vegetables.
Here's the recipe I made for the Brightwater Master Class.
Pozole (also spelled posole) is a soup or stew made in Mexico, dating back to pre-Columbian times. Traditional Pozole is made with lots of pork, but this vegetarian version is delicious and satisfying-but feel free to add pork, if you like.
Vegetarian Pozole Soup
Yields about 6 servings
Soup 1 dried guajillo chili, stem removed 1 dried ancho chili, stem removed 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 small red onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves, minced 3 cups tomatoes, diced 6 cups vegetable broth 1 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano 2 cups yellow or white hominy 1 cup cooked pinto beans Juice of 2 limes, about ¼ cup
Garnishes 2 limes, cut into wedges 4 radishes, sliced thin ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves ¼ cup diced red onion ½ cup aged Cojita cheese, crumbled 1 cup corn tortillas chips
Soak chilies in hot water for 20 minutes. Puree with a hand blender or food processor.
In a large stock pot, over low heat, sauté onion in olive oil until they begin to soften; about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook an
additional minute or two.
Add tomatoes (with any juice), vegetable broth, chili puree, salt and oregano and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Add hominy and pinto beans, bring to a boil and simmer for additional 5 minutes.
Add lime juice and adjust to taste with salt and additional chili puree.
Remove from heat and serve with garnish of choice.
Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Hill Booker @2018