Just in time for Cinco de Mayo ... Vegetable Posole Verde.
I tried posole at an amazing Mexican restaurant while living in Nashville, Tennessee years ago. I've always wanted to make it at home, but had never attempted it until this week. Posole (or pozole) is a soup or stew (originating in Mexico) traditionally made with hominy as a main ingredient. It is often made using pork, but I decided to try it without any meat after watching Rachael Ray make this soup on her show recently without meat. The base of the soup is a combination of roasted poblano peppers, tomatillos and chicken stock (vegetable stock can be used to make this a vegetarian soup). The addition of roasted corn, hominy, onions, garlic and spices results in a flavorful, yet delicate soup that is best topped with avocado, cilantro, sliced radishes and a good squeeze of lime.
This is an incredibly healthy and good-for-you soup. It is light, yet abundant in flavor.
I had never worked with tomatillos before working on this recipe. Don't be afraid of them. They can be found in most supermarkets these days in the produce section. (Tomatillos are what salsa verde is made with.) They look like green tomatoes covered in a papery skin. Just remove the papery skin and halve the tomatillos for this recipe. They are easy to work with and are a must for this soup!
Also, don't be intimidated by the various steps in this recipe. They are all simple and easy. You'll, basically, be roasting the veggies first, blending them up and combining everything in one pot at the end.
And, because you're not using any meat in this soup, it is quite economical.
Yields 4 - 6 servings.
2 - 3 poblano peppers
1 - 2 ears corn on the cob4 - 6 medium tomatillos, peeled and halved
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large onion, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
6 cups vegetable or chicken stock, divided
Handful of fresh cilantro
3 15.5-ounce cans hominy, drained (I used a combination of both yellow and white)
Juice of 1 lime
Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Topping Options - sliced radishes, chopped avocado (dressed with lime juice to prevent discoloring), additional fresh cilantro, lime wedges for squeezing, sliced scallions and tortilla chips
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Toss tomatillos with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast on a foil-lined baking sheet cut-side down in oven for 10 minutes initially. After 10 minutes, remove from oven and place the onion and garlic (unpeeled) onto the same baking sheet. Toss onion and garlic with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with cumin.
Place sheet pan back into oven and roast for another 10 - 15 minutes or until tomatillos are slightly charred.
Meanwhile, rub corn with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Roast corn and poblano peppers until charred on either a grill pan or over an open flame on a gas stove. Peppers should be quite blistered.
Immediately place charred peppers into a plastic storage bag and seal completely. Allow to rest until cooled.
Once cooled, peel off skin (the edge of a sharp knife works well for this). Remove seeds and stems, then coarsely chop. Set aside.
Cut corn from cob. Set aside.
Remove and discard peels from garlic.
Combine tomatillos, onions, garlic, chopped peppers, a small handful of cilantro, the lime juice and 1/2 cup of the stock in a blender. Blend until smooth.
Pour mixture into large soup pot.
Add in remaining 5 1/2 cups stock. Add in drained hominy and corn. Add in red pepper flakes, if using.
NOTE: Here is what hominy looks like after draining:
Simmer over medium heat for 20 - 30 minutes to combine flavors. Taste. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
Serve with suggested garnishments.
NOTE: I cut up some soft corn tortillas into strips and baked them in a 350 degree oven. I coated them with a little non-stick spray and sprinkled on some kosher salt prior to baking for about 10 minutes (toss partway through baking). We dipped them and crushed them into our soup.