Various Limes


Indeed, today brings Chicken Posole, as well as the limes that make it so delectable a soup.  There’s the citrus, of course, which contributes a vibrant zing, a sweetly tangy melody that boosts the other flavors.  The fruit’s qualities are familiar and require little additional elaboration.

However, another sort of lime is significant too.  It is the agent, the alkaline, that transforms humble corn into something wonderful.  Hominy is one word for it:POZOLE

Of course, in Mexico and elsewhere it’s called pozole, or “posole,” as today’s recipe spells it, and it makes one of the country’s most beloved soups.  This inspires enough enthusiasm, in fact, to draw respect from an “Anglo” (and New England, at that) publication, Cook’s Country, which celebrates the preparation in its February/March 2016 issue.

Traditionally, corn was soaked in water mixed with wood ash (the alkaline, or “lime” mentioned earlier).  This softens the kernels and dissolves the corn’s outer layer, which makes the corn swell, and also greatly increases its nutritional value to humans.  It’s the same process used to make masa, the “dough” of which tortillas – and tortilla chips! – is made.

More relevant to today’s story is the pozole which simmers in chicken stock and joins cilantro, shredded chicken, Mexican oregano and other seasonings to create a flavorful, satisfying meal.  The cilantro and oregano bring fresh herbal notes to the pot and help to lighten the broth’s richness. letting it work splendidly as a smooth soup.

Then, of course, there are the limes whose juices are squeezed into the broth.  This makes the bowl sparkle and gives it an intriguingly tropical lilt.  Lime makes the pozole, and limes make the soup.  They’re well-represented in this recipe and they elevate it to culinary legend.

*****

Chicken Posole

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped (*1)
  • salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (*2)
  • 6 cup chicken broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans hominy, rinsed
  • 1 (4-ounce) diced green chiles, drained, and brine reserved
  • 1 (2 and 1/2-pound) rotisserie chicken, bones and skin removed, then shredded (*3)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Heat oil in a stockpot set over medium heat, until the oil shimmers.  Add the onion and salt lightly.  Cook covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about five minutes.  Stir in the garlic and the oregano and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in the broth, the hominy and the chiles and cook until the hominy softens, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the chicken and cook until heated through, about a minute.  Turn off heat and stir in the cilantro and reserved chile brine.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, dish out individual portions, and serve.

NOTES:

1 – Three shallots would be just dandy, too.  Of course, you were aware of my bias going into this recipe.

2 – If you have Mexican oregano, use it.  Naturally. Mexican oregano is more aromatic, more flavorful, than is “regular” oregano.  If you use standard oregano, that’s fine.  Don’t let pretentious cooks like me discourage you.

3 – Rotisserie chicken is more than adequate; it’s what the recipe mandates, after all.  Still (there’s always a “still” with me, isn’t there?), it’s too “prepared,” too “processed” for my taste.  OK, for my pride.

To preserve my self-esteem, I marinated two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a cup of tomatillo salsa verde.   After letting the chicken refrigerate for two hours, I then let it warm to room temperature before putting it beneath the broiler for fifteen minutes, flipping it halfway through.

It’s more homemade this way, and the mild herbal spiciness better matches the Chicken Posole than does rotisserie chicken.  That’s what I think, at least.

 

9 thoughts on “Various Limes

    1. Interesting combination. I’ve heard of lychees before, but I’ve never had one. As they play prominently in your suggested alternative, Kate, I likely am missing out on something.

      As a confirmed poultry fiend (sorry), naturally I’d prefer it with chicken, but when I try if sans-bird, I definitely would stock up on the pozole. Yes, it’s that good. When I created this recipe I bought an extra can of pozole. That, along wit some ground pepper, chopped garlic and cilantro, was my lunch today. Often, this whole vegetarian thing isn’t too bad. Though I’m sure you’d disagree ; )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been vegetarian longer than you’ve been alive, am very healthy with no meds … even if you don’t become veg I suggest people cut back on their meat intake!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agreed, Kate, and increasing the fruit/veg input remains an ideal toward which I strive.

        I hope the blog maintains your interest, as vegan fare (or near-vegan, save only the butter) will continues to show up from time-to-time. Desserts, mainly, but perhaps an entrée or two is in store…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. sadly I eat a very simple fare … I am not vegan, did it for 12 years but not sure it’s healthy for a lifetime!
        You have a good thought process and write well that’s why I’m trying to encourage you to present more than recipes 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Thanks, Kate! Much appreciated, though what would the topic be? “Their offense sucks this year. They need to recruit a good running back in the next draft.” Meh, maybe not.

        One of this blog’s original followers is married to a pescatarian. When he told me, I never had heard the term before, though since then, I’ve gathered it’s quite the thing. Anyway, the couple often visits Spain, and his wife’s diet does allow her to enjoy some of the seafood paellas. Not the jamon iberico though, which is pity. Still, when you have a wonderful paella in front of you, who cares?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. May adulthood rekindle that enthusiasm!

      I’d heard of the pork version before, but can a genuine poultry fiend prefer it with anything other than chicken?

      Of course, for me, pozole was the surprise ingredient, the understudy who wins “Best Actress.” As mentioned in response to another comment, a can of pozole, complimented with cilantro and appropriate spices, became the next day’s lunch.

      Anyway, thanks for your continued curiosity and interest, Jennifer! The best, I hope, is yet to be.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s