Instant Posole without a can

Posole is the name of the corn and the traditional stew

Posole is one of the best additions to my food life from my time in New Mexico. Posole is also known as hominy, but if you have only tasted canned hominy, don’t stop reading. There is no comparison between the canned product and soaking and cooking the dried corn at home. It takes a lot of time to complete, but almost none of that time demands your attention, especially if you use a crock pot.

Note: I’m going to cover cooking and freezing posole in this post, but here is a recipe for a quick version of the traditional dish:  Paula’s Posole. Simply substitute your cooked corn for the canned hominy in the recipe.

In some areas, your first challenge will be to find posole in dry form. If you are not in an area where Mexican grocery supplies are available, try your local bulk food store. It should be labelled either dry posole or hominy, and will look like large dried corn.

posole or hominy
Dry posole or hominy

Soaking posole for crock pot cooking
Posole soaking in crock pot. I soak, then drain, then cook, all in the crock pot.

To reduce cooking time, soak the posole in a large amount of water overnight. Another route I use is to soak it in the morning, and cook overnight. Whichever works better for your schedule is fine, as long as you soak for 6-8 hours.

Drain the water, and add new water. Cook in a crock pot overnight, or all day. If I am around, I start my crock pot at high, and turn it to low after an hour or so. You can cook the entire time on low, it will just take a little longer.

Cooked posole/hominy
Posole, cooked and drained

If you don’t have a crock pot, or are in a hurry for the posole, you can cook on the stovetop in a large pot. Bring to a boil after soaking, turn down the heat and simmer for 2-3 hours. Watch for the kernals to burst to tell when it is done. I like posole when at least half the kernals have burst. It will still be chewy — that’s what makes posole so good.

Note: If you are cooking posole for one meal, you can brown your meat (see recipe above), and add the soaked posole to cook along with the meat.

Once the posole is cooked, you have a ready supply for future meals. I try to keep a stock of cooked posole in my freezer. I’m such a fan, that I love posole with a little butter, salt and pepper, so my freezer supply allows me to enjoy this unique taste and texture often.

Posole ready to freeze
Posole in sandwich bags for freezing

To freeze, simply cool the posole, and freeze dry on cookie sheets, or directly into bags. I use ordinary sandwich bags to freeze (on a cookie sheet for nice flat packages), and then put all my bags of posole into a larger freezer bag. Not only does this save money (freezer bags are expensive), but also helps to keep your freezer organized.

Note: Because I use fewer, large freezer bags, I tend to rinse them out and reuse. They are easier to wash, and I don’t need to do it often.

To use the posole, simply take a package from the freezer, and heat, or use in a recipe. I package my posole in single-serving packages, which allows me to grab one bag just for me, or many when I am feeding more people.

Give posole a try. Although it takes close to 24 hours to complete, I doubt that I spend 15 minutes of my time to restock my supply — including washing the pot. And try this with other grains, as well. I use exactly the same method for pot barley, dry chick peas and many dry beans.


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