The holiday traditions I remember from growing up in New Mexico are Luminarias which are small paper sacks filled with sand with a small candle inside.  Throughout New Mexico luminarias are a special attraction all over the state and have become so popular that people travel great distances to see the displays.  Another tradition is having a steaming bowl of Posole Stew on Christmas Eve.  Posole comes from the cultures of Native Americans, Mexicans and Europeans and is known as a dish for celebrating life’s blessings.  Posole corn is the hard dry corn kernels otherwise known as hominy.  I still feel connected to New Mexico even though I no longer live there and count my blessings for all the traditions I grew up with.

My sister Kat gave me some dried blue corn posole that I’ve been saving for a special occasion.  Canned hominy can be used in place of going through the process of cooking the posole.  If you choose the canned route, skip the next few steps.

Rinse 2 cups of dried posole under running water.

In a large stockpot cover posole with 6 cups of water.  Bring water to a boil, cover pot and simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the kernels pop open.  I found it needed a little more time.

I cooked the entire bag of posole and only used about half of it.  The rest I put up in the freezer.

To get started, cut and trim a 2 1/2 pound pork roast into 1/2 inch cubes.  I seasoned the meat with smoked spanish paprika, mexican oregano, ground ancho chile and salt. A box of chicken stock will come later.

Dice one whole onion and mince 2 cloves of garlic on a microplane hand grater.  I roasted 2 poblano chiles in the oven, then peeled, seeded and chopped them.  If you are in a hurry, chop the poblano’s and cook them along with the onions.   I roasted them as a preference.

Mix together the salt, smoked spanish paprika, ancho chile, and oregano.  Sprinkle over the cut up pork and using your hands work it all together so that all the pieces of meat are coated with the seasoning.

That seasoning is going to sear into the meat and be really tasty.

Heat a dutch oven and drizzle with olive oil.

Place all the seasoned pork into the dutch oven.

As it starts to sizzle, stir it around.

Add the onion, garlic and poblano to the pot and pour stock over the top and stir.

Time to add the posole back into the pot.

Bring the stew just to a boil.

Turn the heat down and add a can of diced tomatoes.  I love the fire roasted tomatoes.

Cover the pot and simmer 30 minutes.

At this point I took a taste to see if it needed more spice.  I added a tablespoon more chili powder because we like it spicy. I put it back on the stove to simmer.  You can serve the stew at any time, but I like to let it simmer for at least a couple hours.  The pork will fall apart tender and the stew will be more flavorful.  Before I had a dutch oven, I would simmer this all day in the slow cooker.

Take another taste to see if it’s as good as it looks.

Smell the aroma . . . .

And ladle some into your favorite bowl.   A slice of sweet cornbread with ancho honey butter makes this meal complete.

Feliz Navidad!

Blue Corn Posole

3 tablespoons Ancho Chile Powder, plus additional 1 – 2 tablespoons to add later if desired
1 tablespoon dried Mexican Oregano
2 teaspoons Smoked Spanish Paprika
1 teaspoon Salt
2 1/2 pounds Pork Roast, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 – 2 tablespoon Olive Oil for drizzling
1 whole Onion, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, minced or grated on a microplane hand grater
2 Poblano Chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 (32 oz) box Chicken Stock
4 cups cooked Posole or 2 cans Hominy
1 (14.5 oz) can Fire Roasted Tomatoes

If using dried posole, rinse 2 cups posole under running water.  Transfer to a stockpot and add 6 cups cold water or enough to cover the posole.  Bring water to a boil, cover the pot and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the kernels pop open. **Note:  You may want to do this a day ahead

Blend together 3 tablespoons ancho chile powder, 1 tablespoon oregano, 2 teaspoons smoked paprika and 1 teaspoon salt.

Sprinkle spice blend over cut up pork, tossing well to coat all pieces.

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven or stockpot.  Over medium high heat add pork to the dutch oven and stir, browning meat on all sides.  Add the chopped onions, poblano peppers and garlic.  Pour the box of chicken stock over the pork mixture and stir.  Add the cooked posole or canned hominy to the mixture and bring to a boil.  Stir in 1 can of diced tomatoes and turn down the heat to a simmer.  Cover the pot and let simmer 30 minutes.  Taste the posole and if desired add additional 1 – 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder for a spicier stew.  Note* The stew can simmer on low for several hours if desired.  The longer is simmers the more tender the pork and more flavorful the stew will be.

Ladle into bowls and serve with Sweet Cornbread and Ancho Honey Butter.

Serves 6 – 8