This chicken posole is darn close to authentic Mexican posole and combines chicken and hominy in a broth made from charred tomato and chiles. Mexican magnificence that’s muy delicious.
This chicken posole is darn close to authentic Mexican posole and combines chicken and hominy in a broth made from charred tomato and chiles. If you’ve got some time to spare, by all means, make it from scratch with dried hominy that you soaked overnight and chicken stock that you make from scratch and let every step fill your house with ridiculously enticing aromas. If you need to get dinner on the table pronto, you can still partake of this Mexican magnificence, just substitute canned hominy and rotisserie chicken and the stew will be ready in just over an hour. Either way, it’s muy delicious.–Angie Zoobkoff
☞ Table of Contents
For the hominy and beans
- 1 1/2 cups dried white hominy
- 1 1/2 cups dried pinto, cranberry, Jacob’s cattle, or other hearty dried beans
- 1/4 medium white onion
- Sea salt
- 6 black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
For the charred tomato and chile paste
- 6 dried guajillo or New Mexican chiles stemmed, halved lengthwise, and seeded
- 2 large tomatoes
For the soup
- 3 tablespoons mild olive oil
- 1 medium white onion thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 2 large garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup crushed canned tomatoes with their juice
- 2 1/2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano or substitute 2 1/2 teaspoons regular dried oregano or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 cups homemade chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
- 4 cups shredded cooked chicken (it can be leftover roast chicken, poached chicken, grilled chicken, or rotisserie chicken)
For the pickled radishes (optional)
- 2 to 3 large radishes sliced paper thin
- 1/4 cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup cold water
- Sea salt
- 1 ripe but not mushy avocado cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) cubes
- 1/2 cup packed chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 to 2 limes cut into 8 to 12 wedges
- 1 cup sour cream
- 8 corn tortillas warmed or cut in strips and fried in oil or toasted in a dry skillet until crisp
- Tomatoes diced or cut into wedges (optional)
Make the hominy and beans
- Place the hominy in a large bowl, add enough cold water to cover by 3 inches (7.5 cm), and soak overnight. If using beans, place them in a second large bowl, add enough cold water to cover by 3 inches (7.5 cm), and soak overnight.
- Drain the hominy and transfer it to a large stockpot. Add enough fresh cold water to cover by 3 inches (7.5 cm) and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low, add the onion, and simmer gently until the hominy is tender but not soft and “pops” or begins to open like a flower, 1 1/2 to 2 1/4 hours. Pour the hominy into a colander placed over a bowl. Reserve the cooking liquid. Remove and discard the onion.
- Meanwhile, drain the beans and transfer them to a second large stockpot. Add enough fresh cold water to cover and season with salt. Add the peppercorns and bay leaf and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer gently until just tender, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Drain the beans and discard the bay leaf.
Make the charred tomato and chile sauce
- Preheat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Using tongs, cook the halved chiles in batches of 3 or 4 at a time, for about 30 seconds per side, or until they just start to smoke. Be careful not to burn the chiles or they’ll become bitter. Transfer all the toasted chiles to a bowl, add enough boiling water to cover, and let soak for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Place the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and broil, flipping the tomatoes as needed, until the skin is almost totally blackened on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Core the tomato.
- Drain the chiles, reserving the chile soaking water. In a blender, combine the soaked chiles, 1/2 cup reserved chile soaking water, and the tomatoes and purée until smooth. (You can cover and refrigerate the chile purée overnight.)
Make the soup
- In a large stock pot over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, and tomato-chile purée, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Add the cooked hominy and 2 cups reserved hominy cooking liquid. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to medium-low, add the cooked beans, and simmer gently for about 45 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and simmer until slightly thickened, 5 to 15 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
Make the pickled radishes (optional)
- While the soup is simmering, place the sliced radishes in a nonreactive bowl or glass jar, add the vinegar and water, and season with salt. You want to make sure the radishes are completely submerged. Let soak for 10 minutes and then drain. (You can cover and refrigerate the pickled radishes for up to 1 week.)
- Ladle the soup into mugs or bowls and serve along with the pickled radishes, if using, as well as whatever garnishes are desired, including avocado, cilantro, lime, sour cream, tortillas, and tomatoes.
How To Make Quick Chicken PosoleIf you don’t have the time to soak and simmer dried hominy and make your own stock and roast your own chicken, rest assured, this recipe can easily be made with a couple shortcuts. Skip steps 1 to 3 in the recipe above and instead start at step 4. In place of the cooked hominy, simply toss in a can of rinsed and drained hominy (you can use either a 16 1 /2-ounce or 30-ounce can, depending on how much you like hominy) and add an additional 2 cups chicken broth in place of the hominy cooking liquid. If using beans, you’ll want to use about a 14 1/2- to 16-ounce can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained. And rely on store-bought chicken broth and rotisserie chicken.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
For convenience sake, I used canned hominy for this chicken posole. I hadn’t eaten hominy since a was a child, so I’ve never prepared it, so Bush’s Golden Hominy won out! I also used Bush’s Pinto Beans to keep the hominy from feeling slighted. The guajillo chiles were a breeze to cook. I used my grandmother’s cast iron skillet and cooked the halved and seeded chiles for about 30 seconds on each side. The exhaust fan helps a lot in the step…but it’s over pretty quickly. (The smell of the chiles was comforting to me—call me crazy, but it smells like chocolate!) While the chiles were soaking in the water, I charred the tomatoes. After they cooled, I cored them and threw them in my Vita-Mix along with the cooled soaked chiles. I added 1/2 cup liquid from the chiles and whirled them up into a smooth sauce. I covered this tightly in a container and refrigerated it. I used basic store brand canned tomatoes that I just squished with my hand. I also used a rotisserie chicken. The smell of these ingredients filled the kitchen with a warm aroma. I simmered this on medium-low for about an hour. I added chopped cilantro and cubed avocado as garnishes. The posole is spicy from the chiles but not hot. It’s a great meal for a rainy winter day. This is definitely a keeper…not hard at all and came together pretty quickly! This would be a great vegetarian soup if veggie stock was used. Maybe a sprinkle of pepper jack cheese would be a great garnish too…and a big slice of cornbread on the side.
Pozole (or posole) always warms my heart. I don’t mind making a long version to get the really great flavor of the hominy that only comes from starting from prepared dried hominy. You start the night before, spend a few minutes to start the beans and hominy soaking, and then the rest of the recipe can be completed the next day. You could also do some of the other steps the day before to make the final cooking go quicker or just make this a weekend project on a day when you’re able to tend to a series of simple components. I roasted a chicken and then removed the meat from the bones, which I used for my chicken stock, in the morning while I was cooking the pozole and the beans. I served the completed posole that evening, and for several days afterwards, trying different garnishes.
Doing some steps in parallel, most of this took the better part of a day, but nothing was super labor intensive. You can shorten this process by buying a roasted chicken (that’ll provide you some extra chicken meat for another project) and using stock from the freezer or purchased and still have a good result. Using a 9-inch cast iron skillet, the chiles started smoking at 30 to 40 seconds initially, and quicker as the pan got a little hotter, so I only did 3 to 4 chile pieces at a time to keep control and avoid scorching. The sauce buzzed up quickly with the charred tomatoes. Don’t toss the extra chile soaking liquid—it’s a handy way to adjust the heat and liquid in the resulting soup if you want it a little hotter.
Although I was a bit curious to find beans included in pozole, they worked very nicely with the chicken. The first serving we garnished with avocado and the pickled radishes (nice bright note) and some tortilla strips. Another day (and pozole is always better the second or third day, I think), I served it with diced tomato, cilantro, and a bit of sour cream plus narrowly sliced tortilla strips (they curl up nicely with you toast them in a cast iron pan if you make them skinny strips). The only real adjustment I think the recipe needs is more heat (either from more chiles or use all the liquid from soaking) and a little more time cooking. Winter soul food.
The cheater’s version of this chicken posole recipe is easy to throw together and was flavorful and comforting. You can stop on your way home from work, pick up a roast chicken, a can of hominy, a can of beans, and some tomatoes. I always keep a selection of dried peppers in our pantry, so I didn’t have any problem getting this made. Soaking the peppers took the longest, but that worked out very well because during the 30 minutes while I waited for those peppers, I prepped everything else. I particularly liked the deep color and richness of the broth. This recipe deserves to be made.
I made the “cheater’s” version of this recipe. It’s hard to know if the dish compares to the original since I didn’t make the full version first and I’m not all that familiar with posole in general, but I thought the cheater version was delicious. My end result was a just-spicy-enough soup with a thin, tomato-based broth and hearty serving of chicken and vegetables that was reminiscent of a Mexican tortilla soup.
I made a few judgement calls. I didn’t have to soak and boil the hominy and beans so I didn’t have any hominy cooking liquid, so instead I kept the liquid from the canned hominy, hoping that might deliver a similar effect. I couldn’t find the dried peppers called for in the recipe. I ended up taking a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce and 1/2 cup water and adding that to the blender instead of the dried peppers and their cooking water. I was preparing this for my family who can’t take too much heat so I thought one pepper was plenty but this could easily be adjusted, adding more peppers depending on how hot you like it. More peppers would, of course, help make the soup thicker, too. At the end of the day, my cheater’s version came together quickly and was tasty. I’d make it again. I used Goya hominy, canned low-sodium chicken broth, and a rotisserie chicken.
Originally published January 29, 2017