Tuesday, 7 April 2009
At first this soup seems mild, almost bland and disappointing, but as you continue to eat, it becomes moreish and intoxicating. We made a huge batch and between three of us we devoured the entire pot within minutes, greedily going back for seconds and thirds.
Afterwards we all agreed that the first mouthful seemed dull but the last mouthful left us wanting still more. It had a ravenous effect on all of us and we declared the recipe a delicious success. A triumph!
Cooking this pozole also fulfilled two 2009 Food Challenge by ticking off yet another Mexican recipe (one of the cuisines I have set out to explore this year) and also cooking with hominy.
Pozole Verde (Hominy, Tomatillo & Pepita Stew)
Variation on recipe by Serious Eats. Serves 3 – 4.
800g can hominy
800ml canned tomatillos (green tomatoes)
1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 serrano chillies, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped white onion
½ cup chopped fresh coriander
¼ cup vegetable stock
1 teaspoon salt
3 radishes, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried epazote (or oregano)
2 limes, cut into wedges
1. Dry toast the pumpkin seeds in a large skillet over medium high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until seeds are lightly browned. Remove and let cool for a minute. Then grind in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
2. In a blender add the tomatillos, coriander, chillies, salt, onion and stock. Process until smooth.
3. Heat the tomatillo mixture in a large pot. Sprinkle in the ground pumpkin seeds. Stir constantly until mixture has thickened, around 7 minutes.
4. Add the hominy along with its liquid. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 30 minutes.
5. When the hominy is tender, season to taste. Ladle soup into bowls and top with radishes, a sprinkling of epazote and a squeeze of lime juice.
Hominy, also known as nixtamal, is dried corn kernels which have been treated with an alkali, a process known as nixtamalisation.
In Mexico people use lime-water (calcium hydroxide) and in the US wood ash was used to create lye-water (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide solution). The process removed the germ and the hard outer hull from the kernels, allowing easier digestion.
The process also changes the nutritional value of the corn, allowing the body to more easily absorb certain nutrients such as Vitamin B, amino acids, calcium and phosphorus.
Nixtamalisation was used as early as 1500 BCE in Guatemala. The fact that the kernels were dried meant they could be soaked and processed any time and many native people in Central and North America relied on hominy as an integral food source.
Hominy is my theme ingredient for Weekend Herb Blogging, this week hosted by Chriesi from Almond Corner.