Let It Snow!
Well, the Blizzard of 2010 is over. Supposedly, it was the 10th biggest storm in Boston’s history. Honestly, it didn’t seem that bad. Granted, it was happened on a weekend when we had nowhere we had to be. It snowed a lot and got extremely windy. But, on the whole, I’m not sure it seemed like “Top 10”. We got around 15 inches here in Lexington. That was more than the 7 inches my sister got outside of Philadelphia, and less than the nearly 2 feet my sister-in-law got in Northern New Jersey. The end result was a cozy day spent inside.
One of Howard’s activities of the day (besides several rounds of shoveling and snowblowing the driveway) was to organize our extra freezer space. We have a full-sized freezer unit in the basement. To quote Howard, “it is way too full”. He contends that, as long as we didn’t lose power, we could probably live off its contents for at least a year. He might be exaggerating, but not by much. Post-organizing, he told me there was almost a full shelf of homemade tomatillo sauce, some of it dating back to 2005.
As a result of his good-natured teasing, it seemed appropriate to make a dinner from the stockpile in my frozen larder, featuring, naturally, some tomatillo sauce.
I made an old favorite, Quick Posole, using a frozen packet of pulled pork from a summertime smoking along with a quart of homemade chicken stock (also frozen). I like this recipe because it’s a sort of mix-and-match deal, depending on what’s at hand. The original recipe used chicken, freshly poached. Black beans or another variety can easily be substituted for the hominy. I’ve also made it with a red cooked salsa instead of the green tomatillo sort.
I think one of my favorite things about it is that it is thickened with ground toasted pumpkin seeds. I toast the pumpkin seeds in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, then let them cool off. I use a coffee grinder (which I’ve never used for coffee, just spices and other non-coffee items) to transform the seeds into a nut flour. I’m not sure whether the flavor is noticable, but I think it’s a cool ingredient to add.
Here’s how you do it:
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 cups tomatillo sauce or cooked red salsa
4 cups chicken broth
½ cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted and ground
2 (15-16 oz) cans hominy, drained and rinsed
1½ cups shredded chicken or pulled pork
Note: If you start with uncooked chicken (1 breast or 2 thighs should yield the 1½ cups needed), poach the chicken for about 20 minutes in the chicken broth you will use for the posole. Cool the chicken and shred.
Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the sauce. Be careful, it will spatter. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until thickened. Add pumpkin seeds and 1 cup of chicken broth. Simmer for 5 more minutes. Add chicken or pork, hominy, and the remaining 3 cups of broth. Simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro.