Posole

This is a very good, hearty stew from Mexico. To be correct you should use two different types of dried chilies - the guajillo and the arbol, which is similar to the hot cayenne chili - freshly ground for the seasoning mix, rather than a chili powder that contains other spices. The stew is made the day before you eat it.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless lamb shoulder or leg, all visible fat removed, cut into 1-in cubes
  • 1 lb boneless pork shoulder, fat removed, cut into 1-in cubes
  • 2 thick slices of bacon, diced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 lb green bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 tsp saffron threads
  • 1 lb spicy sausages, such as Polish kielbasa or even the Italian pissano sausage, cut into 1-in pieces
  • 10 oz mild air-dried chorizo, cut into 1-in pieces
  • 20 mild fresh chili peppers, coarsely chopped
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced 2 lb canned white hominy (2 cans), drained
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • A handful of whole fresh cilantro leaves

For the seasoning mix

  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper

Method

Put the ingredients for the seasoning mix in a small bowl. Put the cubed lamb and pork into another bowl and sprinkle 4 teaspoons of the seasoning mix over the meat. Work in with your hands, then set aside.

Fry the bacon in a large covered pot over a high heat until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Drain off all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat, then add half the onions, half the green peppers, and the saffron to the pot. Cover again and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-6 minutes or until the vegetables begin to brown. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the seasoning mix, and scrape the bottom of the pan with a metal spatula to mix in all the sediments.

Push the vegetables and bacon to one side of the pot, and add all the sausages to the cleared space. Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the sausage pieces are browned on all sides. Remove the sausages with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels.

Add the cubed pork and lamb to the pot, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is browned. Stir the chopped chilies into the vegetables and cook for a further 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix the meat into the vegetables, then add the rest of the seasoning mix and the chicken stock. Mix thoroughly, scraping the bottom of the pan where necessary to clean. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Stir in the garlic and the rest of the onions and green peppers, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. Add the hominy and the reserved sausages. Cover, turn up the heat, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Add the chopped cilantro, cover again, and continue cooking until the meat is very tender - about 30-45 minutes longer. Stir in the whole cilantro leaves, cover, and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, then refrigerate overnight.

The next day, skim the fat from the top of the stew, then reheat slowly on a low heat. Serve in bowls, with bread.

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