My housemate has recently rediscovered her crockpot (not to be confused with the similarly addictive household appliance, the crackpipe) and I couldn't wait to give it a try. I had a go at recreating a dish we had at Back Forty a couple Sundays ago, called pozole. It's basically a Mexican soup/stew made with pork and white hominy (which is a fun word to say). Hominy, also called pozole/posole, gives the dish its name - it's a kind of puffed white corn, in which the kernels are processed to have the bran and germ removed. The Back Forty pozole was made with pork on the bone, which I wanted to use, but all the recipes I found online called for boneless pork rib, and that was what my butcher recommended, and so it goes.
This is the basic recipe I used, but I'll write it out here with the tweaks I made (metric system, how I miss you):
POZOLE (serves 5/6 people)
3 lbs diced boneless pork
2 brown onions, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 big teaspoon cumin
1 big teaspoon fresh thyme
a few oregano leaves
1 29 ounce tin of diced tomatoes
1 29 ounce tin of white hominy
1 4 ounce tin of chopped green chilli peppers
Brown the pork and fry the onion until it's translucent, then throw all the ingredients into a crock pot and leave it on low. The recipe said for 5-6 hours, but I think mine cooked for about eight by the time everyone turned up for dinner. By then the pork was flaking apart when poked with a wooden spoon, which is the effect I was hoping for. Now I am the whitest wuss alive when it comes to chilli, but even I felt like this could have used more heat. We threw in a big slug of chipotle sauce, which helped. But my advice would be that if you know and love chillies (I am a novice), go nuts. That said, the pozole still had a lovely flavour and aroma.
The beauty of pozole is it can be a really comforting, warming stew; but you can also change it up with some fresh sides. This is the kind of Mexican food I love, all about colour and sharing and fragrant herbs and sharp citrus lightening the hearty meat dishes. So alongside the red-orange polka dot pozole I served blue corn tortillas; fresh green avocado, lime wedges and chopped cilantro (coriander); and a bright purple slaw.
The slaw was perhaps the big win of the night, one that will definitely be wheeled out again in the future. I ripped it off wholesale from my favourite food blog, Smitten Kitchen. Basically you just finely shred a red cabbage, halve and finely slice a red onion, and toss it all with a green onion dressing. To make the dressing, blend a cup of chopped green onions with some red wine vinegar, a dollop of mayo, a big glug of olive oil and some salt and pepper. The recipe calls for two serrano chillis - I just threw in some jalapenos and it could definitely have handled more heat.
I love this view across the rooftop from my kitchen window to the church down the street...