Posole: A Fall & Winter Feast

Posole is a Halloween tradition among my close friends and family but it is delicious any time, especially in the cooler months. I love it on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Posole means two things, the hard corn also known as hominy and the soups and stews that call for it. Many Mexican restaurants, including in Sonoma County, offer it, typically on weekends, but it is also easy and rewarding to make it at home. Homemade versions can be far superior to commercial versions, sometimes because commercial versions are made with chicken breast, which takes on an unpleasant flavor when it goes through lengthy cooking and sometimes because it is simply too bland. The very best commercial version I’ve had was a posole blanco in a small cafe in Santa Fe. It was so simple yet so flavorful that it has become a touchstone for me.

Over the years, I have developed several versions: Posole Blanco, Posole Verde, Posole Rojo, and Seafood Posole. Now and then, I also enjoy Argentinian Hominy & Brisket Soup, which is similar to posole but not close enough to warrant the name.

Accompaniments are important to posole. There are always condiments, which range from chopped onion, chopped cilantro, shredded cabbage, sliced or julienned radishes, sliced avocado, and minced serranos to grated cheese, Mexican crema, salsa, hot sauce, and warm corn tortillas. I also love Cilantro Sauce on posole, especially with Posole Blanco or Posole Verde. Depending on how many people you are serving, you can select a few or offer all of them.

If you’re making posole for a big fete, you might want to serve other dishes, too. Sometimes I offer Queso Fundido, though you have to be careful, as it is so delicious guests sometimes eat too much and want nothing else. Small (using cocktail size corn tortillas) tacos, such as these Chorizo & Zucchini Tacos, make good appetizers, too, and chips with salsa and/or guacamole are always welcome.

When it comes to beverages, cold beer–my preference is Bohemia, my favorite Mexican Beer–is essential. For a nonalcoholic drink, agua fresca is both traditional and delicious.


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