I was lucky enough to get to work with an amazing chef, talking flavors, tradition, and posole on my recent trip to New Mexico and I can’t wait to share some of that experience with you all.
Posole is a special dish, traditionally served between October and December in Mexico and places with a strong Mexican cultural influence. A simple stew made from pork and hominy; it’s a celebratory dish typically served for weddings, holidays like New Year’s Eve and other special occasions.
While we were in Albuquerque last month, I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with Jim Garcia, the VP of Operations for Sadies’s of New Mexico.
We made posole together and I’m excited to share his recipe with you today!
Jim gave me two tips for making great posole:
1.Cook the hominy long enough for the kernels to fully open and soften.
2. Do not add too many spices. You want to taste the pork and the hominy, not the spices. (This takes some restraint for spice lovers like myself but I promise you he’s right!)
Jim Garcia knows his stuff because this was hands-down the best posole I have ever tasted.
Posole, as we know it today, has Aztec origins. The dried corn (hominy) used in this recipe was considered sacred by the indigenous culture and therefore served on special occasions. Today, remnants of that tradition remain.
It’s common to make someone a batch of Posole on their birthday or serve this simple warming stew to family and loved ones on holidays, especially in the fall and winter.
It’s a comforting dish full if flavor from tender pork and mildly spiced with a touch of oregano, cumin and garlic powder.
It’s so easy to make good homemade posole with the right ingredients. You can use either canned homily or dried homily in this Posole Recipe. I had trouble finding dried homily when it was time to make this recipe at home so I brainstormed a way to make it with canned instead!
Both methods turned out well. While I’m sure a Posole purist might scoff at the idea of using canned kernels, I thought the flavor was very similar to the batch I tasted made with fresh. You don’t want to miss out on this delicious recipe just because you can’t find dried homily nearby!
If you’re using dried homily, start by simmering the dried corn in water until the kernels are soft and open. This took about 45 minutes for us. You then add olive oil, cubed pork shoulder, salt and spices and let the whole thing simmer for an hour.
To make this recipe with canned hominy, you can skip the step of simmering the kernels separately. Since canned homily is already cooked, simply add all the ingredients to boiling water and simmer for an hour or until the pork is tender and flavors are well combined.
Jim was right when he said good posole doesn’t need much spice. Simmering the pork and homily together results in a rich, thick stew where the pork and corn flavors really shine through.
This recipe includes a tablespoon of cumin but be careful not to add more than that. (Definitely, don’t measure over the pot!) Too much cumin will completely overpower the pork and corn and ruin the flavor balance of this dish.
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve with diced onion and red chile sauce on the side for topping. If you have the time, I highly recommend making your own New Mexico Red Chile Sauce to top this posole with! It’s worth the little bit of effort for the better flavor.
The original recipe Jim shared with me was created for their restaurant, so I’ve adapted it here for the home cook. As delicious as this posole is, I’m fairly certain most of us don’t need to make gigantic barrels of posole!
If you enjoy this soup, you might also enjoy Albondigas, another traditional Mexican soup recipe. I also love plenty of Mexican and Southwestern inspired stews, soups and chilis that aren’t quite as traditional but are still tasty, like Creamy Mexican Chicken and Corn Soup and Hearty Mexican Meat and Vegetable Stew.
- 16 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 29 ounce cans hominy drained or 1 lb dried hominy
- 1 1/2 lbs lean pork shoulder cut into 3/4" cubes
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin Jim's note: Use caution with the cumin, it can easily ruin the dish.
- 1 tablespoons ground oregano
- 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
- For serving: diced yellow or white onion and red chile sauce
- DIRECTIONS for using canned hominy: Bring the water to a boil and add all ingredients. Reduce to a low simmer and allow the soup to simmer for one hour.
- DIRECTIONS for using dried hominy: Bring the water to a simmer and add the hominy. Let it simmer for 45 minutes, until the kernels have softened and are bursting open. Add the meat and all of the spices. Simmer for one hour.
- Ladle into bowls and add onions and red chile to taste. I added a couple tablespoons of sauce to each bowl. Enjoy!
I've adapted the recipe slightly for the home cook. I'm fairly certain that the average family doesn't need restaurant size portions. The original recipe is made with dried hominy and I had a difficult time locating it in my area. So, I made a test batch with canned hominy and it was delicious as well. I'm including directions for both versions. I can not recommend strongly enough that you make your own red chile sauce. It is well-worth the effort and the taste can't be beat! If you aren't up for that, store-bought red sauce will work fine as well.
Sadie’s of New Mexico is a local landmark, well-known for exceptional food and standing room only locations. I took two of my nieces along with me to spend the afternoon with Jim.
While we were there, Jim roasted fresh green chile for us on the patio. The aroma was intoxicating and the chile was almost caramelized when he finished roasting it. This was like no green chile I’ve ever bought from the store.
We sampled at least a dozen items off the menu and I was impressed with every single dish we tasted. From the heat in the chile, to the salty margaritas, to the sweet Sopaipillas with a drizzle of honey, the offerings created a balanced and enjoyable restaurant experience.
The quality of the food combined with the care taken in the kitchen shows through in each recipe.
Sadie Koury opened the first Sadie’s restaurant 58 years ago and her little sister Betty Jo was her faithful shadow every day. Betty Jo Stafford is the heart of Sadie’s restaurant today.
This is evident in the way all of the employees speak of her. Betty is still in the restaurant five days a week, along with her sons Brian and William Stafford.
Sadie’s salsa and sauces are now sold in 12,000 locations throughout the United States. If you can find them in your area, buy them! Sadie’s salsa really is some of the best I’ve ever had.
Thank you to the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau for connecting me with Jim Garcia. I was not compensated in any way for this article. I’m sharing my experience simply because I had a wonderful time and I love the recipe!