Do you own a slow cooker or crock pot? I do, at least now I do. I got one for Christmas, to be fair, ‘took’ it is probably a little more accurate. The wife, on one of her many Christmas shopping adventures came home with one meant to be a gift for someone else. I asked if it was for me and she said no. Once I hit her with my patented ‘what about me!?!’ look, I knew I was getting it. Yes, men can play women too, at least that is my impression, if I am wrong, then many thanks to the women who let us think that.
One pot meals, every culture has one and every mother knows one, every mother but mine. I assume that’s why, after 25 years of cooking professionally, I had never owned a crock pot. I knew what they were, I knew what they did, I knew how comforting the end result was. Yet I never had a meal tied to my childhood that told me I needed to own one, for that, I am comfortable blaming my mother.
In the 90’s, I shacked up with a girl from Santa Fe, she was all about the crock pot. It didn’t matter if it was winter or summer, she had something going. It was always good, and while I don’t remember the many dishes she made with it, I remember the posole. Posole is a staple of New Mexican cuisine and on most every dinner table at Christmas. Originating from across the border, ‘Pozole’ is dried corn cooked with meat (usually pork), chiles, herbs and spices. It is great as a side dish and also as a meal of it’s own, I have always enjoyed it during colder months.
I never got the recipe from ‘the girl from Santa Fe’, I wish I had now that I look back on it, it didn’t exactly end well, if you know what I mean. But considering I’m pretty swell in a kitchen, I put this little recipe together, inspired by snow and some seriously cold weather here in Denver.
½# pork butt, trimmed and cubed ½” x ½”
1 oz. olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced
6 oz. fresh tomatillo, peeled and diced
½ oz. fresh garlic, minced
3 Anaheim chiles, deseeded and diced
1 cup red chile sauce
~6 oz. dried new mexico red chiles
1 qt stock or water, preferably chicken/turkey
12 oz posole/dried hominy, rinsed
2 Tbs. fresh oregano, chopped
1. Start with the red chile sauce, remove the stems and seeds from the red chiles.
2. Place in a small pot with just enough water so the chiles start to float.
3. Place the chiles on high heat and boil for 30 minutes or until the chiles become tender.
4. Strain the chiles off while making sure to reserve the liquid.
5. Place the chiles in a blender and puree with just enough of the reserved liquid till smooth.
6. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, heat the oil and brown the pork over medium high heat.
7. Add the garlic and onions and cook till translucent.
8. Put the pork in your slow cooker.
9. Add the tomatillo, Anaheim chiles, posole, stock and chile sauce.
10. With the lid on securely, cook on low (a slow simmer) for 7 hours.
11. If you need to add a little liquid during the cooking process or at the end, a little water is fine.
12. Add the oregano and season to taste with kosher salt.
13. Garnish with shredded cabbage, Queso Asadero and serve with warm tortillas.
For all you GF’ers, guess what? Yes, this is gluten free. It’s funny how much more I think about that now, a year ago, I would never have mentioned that.