Pork and Hominy Stew with Green Chile and a Poached Egg
I am purposely not calling this posole, because I know how much shit I'm going to get from any New Mexicans who read the recipe. "Kale!?" They will scream. "Pomegranates?!? A POACHED EGG??" But stay with me, purists, just for a moment. Traditional posole suffers from what my friend Paul from San Franciso used to call, The Pancake Theory. You know how it is with pancakes? Such a romantic notion on a weekend morning... they smell so good when you're making them, the first bite is delcious... but then after that it's just the same bite, over and over again. So. Boring.
But with my poso- pork and hominy stew--I add more vegetables and fresh garnishes, so not only is it more interesting, but healthier! Add the poached egg, and you won't have to eat again 'til next Thursday.
Please note, you should start this dish the day -- or ideally, two days-before you'd like to eat it... but the very least, know that it takes a minimum of 5 hours. A great Sunday Supper, because you get to enjoy the amazing aromas wafting through your house all day!
For 6 servings plus leftovers for breakfast
3 cups dried posole, (blue corn, if you can get it), also called dried hominy
3 sweet bell peppers-- red, orange, yellow, or a mix
3 spicy peppers like poblanos, serranos or jalapenos... or if you are lucky enough to get them, Hatch green chiles
sunflower oil (enough to sear the meat and coat the peppers)
2 tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning, or kosher salt and freshly-cracked pepper
2 large onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
3 tablespoons fresh "woody" herbs like thyme, oregano, rosemary, marjoram, or a mix
10 cups chicken stock (if not homemade, then a good quality, like either Trader Joe's brand or Swanson's Natural Goodness)
3 cups of cubed fall squash, like butternut, acorn, or your favorite
6 cups of kale leaves, preferably from Wake Robin Farm, any fibrous stalks removed, and rough-chopped
2 avocados, diced and sprinkled with kosher salt
1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds
handful of fresh "soft" herbs, like scallions, basil, mint, tarragon, cilantro or a mix, chopped
6 super-fresh eggs (the fresher they are, the easier they poach)
Corn or Flour tortillas for serving alongside
If you have planned ahead, soak the posole overnight in water to cover. If you haven't planned ahead, do the quick(er)-soak method: Put posole in a stock pot, and cover with water by a few inches. Bring to a boil, and cook for 2 minutes. Then turn off water, and let the posole soak for a couple hours. Then drain and rinse. Set aside.
While the posole is soaking, cut the pork into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Season with Montreal Steak seasoning (or salt and pepper). Set a few paper towels on a baking sheet, and spread out the pork cubes in a single layer. Cover with a few more paper towels and put in the fridge for a couple hours or overnight (Doing this ahead not only gives the seasoning a chance to penetrate the meat, but also dries out its surface, so you get a nice crust when you sear. Dumping crowded, wet meat into the pot would boil it, not sear it).
Also while the posole is soaking, roast the peppers: Coat all the peppers with a little oil, then put them under the broiler and turn occasionally until the skin is evenly charred on all sides. Put in a bowl covered with plastic wrap to let steam for 10-15 minutes, then peel, seed and rough chop. Set aside.
When the posole is fully-soaked and ready to cook, brown the pork: Heat the sunflower oil in a stock pot or dutch oven until screaming hot. Add the pork in batches, so that there is space around each cube. Let the pork develop a nice caramelized crust on one side (about 3-4 minutes), then flip. Once the meat is browned on all sides, drain on more paper towels, and repeat until all the meat is browned.
Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat, leaving as many "brown bits" (aka FLAVOR!) in the bottom of the pot. Add the onions, and saute until translucent. Add the garlic, then the meat and posole, then the stock, herbs and bay leaves. Bring to a boil briefly, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour or so, then add peppers and cook another hour. Then add squash and cook until the squash is cooked through (but not mushy), and the posole is "popped"and tender, but still a little chewy-- about a half hour more.
Add more stock (or water) if the stew gets too reduced- it should look brothy and clear, not thick.
If you have the luxury of making this a day or so ahead, refrigerate overnight. The fat will congeal and rise to the top, which you can then scrape off and discard. But if you are making this the same day you are serving it, just try and spoon off as much grease as you can.
Keep the stew warm (or re-warm it) while you poach the eggs. The best, foolproof way to poach an egg is availble to view here.
In 6 bowls, add a handful of kale leaves. Ladle the stew over the kale to wilt it slightly, then slide a poached egg on top. Garnish with diced avocado, pomegranate seeds, fresh soft herbs and a squeeze of lime.
Sop up any juices with warm buttered tortillas. If you'd like to make your own homemade tortillas, check out a great recipe here.