Today finds me rather upset with myself, seeing as it’s another Sunday Supper, but one I’m unable to officially participate in. Last weekend I made and photographed this lovely recipe, specifically for today’s Sunday Supper, and then thanks to a high-octane work trip for my other job, completely forgot to sign up in time. Go me…
But, since I have the purty pictures and all, I thought I would still share today’s Slow Cooker menu. (That’s the #SS theme today – Slow Cookers. And one of my favorite things in my kitchen, which ensures some extra bummed-out-ness for me that I’m not technically participating. Oh well, life happens, doesn’t it?)
So let’s talk about the ingredient that makes pozole a pozole: hominy. I couldn’t stand, and this cannot possibly be overstated, could not stand hominy as a child. Now, one of the running themes on this blog is my triumph over childhood picky eating, and my triumph is probably at least in part due to the fact that my parents simply didn’t tolerate the behavior. I had to eat what was on my plate, and if I dug in my heels and refused, I went to bed hungry.
Picky eater that I was, the first time I was served hominy, of course I was highly skeptical. It was a peculiar looking veggie with (to me at least) a highly repulsive smell. Of course I voiced my objections and of course they were met with a nonchalant, “eat it anyway.” So I took a bite, and literally chucked my up, right at the dinner table. It tasted that gross to me. From that point on, hominy was placed in a special category all its own – my parents never again told me to “eat it anyway.”
So then I grew up, and became a grown-up who still vividly recalled that fateful hominy incident, but also a grown-up who learned about pozole. A Mexican soup/stew that always looks delicious, but isn’t pozole without the addition of hominy. What to do?
Solution: dried hominy. I gave it a try and found it to have blessedly little in common with its canned cousin. It doesn’t smell bad and tastes wonderful. Of course it is more time consuming, but unsurprisingly well worth it to me personally. I’m giving directions for using dried, but if canned doesn’t bother you, then of course feel free. I hope y’all enjoy it!
Source: adapted from The Mexican Slow Cooker by Deborah Schneider
12 oz. dried hominy
2 whole bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
1 medium onion, peeled and halved, with root end intact
1 tbs kosher salt
1 tbs ground cumin
4 cups chicken stock
5 cups water
4 sprigs cilantro
½ cup raw pepitas, roasted
6-8 tomatillos, husked and washed
1 cup diced white onion
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
2 serrano chiles, stemmed
1 small bunch fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges, for serving
Chopped Hass avocado, for serving
Place the hominy in a large bowl and cover with water by about 4 inches. Set aside at room temperature at least 4 hours, and up to overnight.
In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine the chicken, garlic, onion, salt, cumin, chicken stock, and water. Drain the hominy well and add it to the slow cooker. Let it cook on LOW for 4 hours, until the chicken is tender and cooked through but not falling apart. Remove the chicken and let cool. Add the cilantro sprigs to the slow cooker. Discard the chicken bones and skin and shred the meat into pieces. Store in a food storage container in the refrigerator.
After you have removed the chicken and added the cilantro, let the soup cook for another 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make the Salsa Verde. Place the tomatillos in a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain and place in a blender, along with the pepitas, onion, garlic clove, serranos, and cilantro. Add ½ cup broth from the slow cooker and puree, scraping down the sides as needed, until very smooth. Pour the salsa into the empty pot you used for the tomatillos and cook over medium to medium-low heat until the sauce is thickened, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir the salsa into the soup and let it go at least another 3 hours, or until the hominy is done. You know the hominy is done when it bursts and is very tender with a soft chew to it. Taste the soup for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Add the shredded chicken into the slow cooker for about 30 minutes to warm back through, then ladle into bowls. Serve with lime wedges and avocado.