po⋅so⋅le /poʊˈsoʊleɪ, pɒ-; Sp. pɔˈsɔlɛ/ Show Spelled Pronuncia[poh-soh-ley, po-; Sp. paw-saw-le] –noun Mexican Cookery. a thick, stewlike soup of pork or chicken, hominy, mild chili peppers, and coriander leaves: traditionally served at Christmas and often favored as a hangover remedy. (from dictionary.com)
My only exposure to posole was back in college. My roommate Laura had gone home for the weekend and came back with a big container of it. She talked about spending an entire day working on it with her boyfriend's Hispanic grandmother. They started out with pork, hominy, fresh tomatoes and chili peppers, and they simmered, simmered, and simmered some more. She was kind enough to share some of the leftovers, and I was instantly in love (obviously my pre-veggie days). I can still remember the complex flavors -- smokey and spicy, strewn with tasty kernels of hominy. Since then I have wanted to meet an Hispanic grandmother that could teach me how to make this traditional stew.
Fast forward six years, and I'm waist deep in food blogs when I randomly find a meatless version of this stew by The Vegan Mouse, and my tasty memories came flooding back to me. The book that she found the recipe in featured butternut squash, but she opted to use the zucchini that she had on hand. You know how much I love butternut squash so I wanted to revert back to that, but without access to the original recipe I came up with my own. I did follow in her footsteps with the addition of collard greens and red bell pepper, which rounded out this stew perfectly.
I've made this stew twice, and the first time I used 2 tbsp fresh jalapenos, but the second go around I decided to go with guajillo chiles. Guajillo chiles are very common in Mexico and are also one of the more mild of the hot chiles, so I deducted that this chile has most likely been used in many of the authentic-grandma-simmered versions of this stew. That I cannot confirm, but I can tell you that it was delicious. It is a little more work, so if you are short on time go for the jalapenos, which are also delicious. (If you decide to go with jalapenos, dice them and add them into the pot at the same time as the onion and garlic.)
Posole Stew with Butternut Squash and Collard Greens
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tbsp cumin
1-1/2 tbsp oregano
1-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
2 bay leaves
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and chopped into large bite sized pieces4 leaves of collard greens, center rib removed and chopped
3 14oz cans hominy
6 cups water
3 tbsp guajillo chile paste*
6 tbsp tomato paste
2 Not-Beef bouillonjuice of 1/2 lime
salt and pepper to taste
Heat olive oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and saute for about 10 minutes, or until the onions and peppers have softened. Stir in spices and saute for another minute stirring constantly.
Next stir in squash, greens, hominy, and water and turn up heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling lower heat to medium low and stir in chile paste, tomato paste, bouillon cubes and stir until well incorporated. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is just tender, or to your liking (check it often, you don't want mushy squash).
Remove bay leaves. Stir in lime juice, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
*Start with dried guajillo chiles, and make your own paste. Great instructions can be found here.