Here’s a cooking tip: if you have something in your pantry that requires a long soak (dried beans, for example, or dried chickpeas), rip open the bag in the morning, pour them into a bowl and fill it up with water even if you have no idea what you’re going to do with them later in the day. What’s great about this approach is that it narrows the field for you after 5 o’clock; instead of choosing from endless recipes, you know you need to find one that features soaked-beans or chickpeas. It’s a win-win because you have a component that’s normally a pain in the butt and some direction for your dinner.
When I was packing up my old kitchen, last week, I found a bag of Rancho Gordo dried hominy.
I’d bought it almost a year earlier and never really knew what to do with it. I still didn’t know what to do with it when I found the bag, in the morning, but I decided to heed my own advice from the first paragraph. I cut open the bag, poured half of it into a bowl and filled that bowl with water. I’d figure out the rest later.
When later came, I Googled “hominy recipe” and one of the first things to come up was Melissa Clark’s recipe for Spicy Pork Stew with Hominy and Collard Greens. I was immediately sold because: (a) Melissa Clark recipes always impress; (b) I love anything braised; (c) it had a nice balance of ingredients (meat, starch, vegetable).
After buying all of the ingredients for it, I did something interesting. I poured vegetable oil into my Dutch oven and turned up the heat even before I unpacked the grocery bag. That way, by the time I cubed the pork shoulder, the oil would be so hot I’d get a really good sear. Sure enough: that’s also a good strategy.
Once your pork is seared, you cook onions in the same pan, working up all the good bits on the bottom.
Then the real flavors come out to play: garlic, chile powder, cumin, oregano, a bay leaf, and a cinnamon stick.
Wait, there’s more. There’s a chile in adobo (I used two) and beer.
It’s pork cooked in beer: I mean, c’mon.
You add everything back in, including the soaked hominy…
Cover with beer and water and then cook for 2 1/2 hours. I decided I wanted a really thick, rich stew rather than something soupy (this dish is based on pozole) so I kept the lid off for a lot of it. Towards the end, you add shredded collard greens.
And that’s all there is to it. The resulting stew, is killer. I mean, check it out.
The pork falls apart almost immediately and the hominy, which I don’t know much about, becomes tender–slightly sweet, slightly starchy, but a great textural component. And the stew itself has so much flavor from the chiles and all of those spices. It’s a grew summer braise because of the chiles; and it tastes even better the next day.
So the next time you find dried hominy in your pantry, soak it. Then you can have this for dinner.
Recipe: Melissa Clark’s Spicy Pork Stew with Hominy and Collard Greens
Summary: Based on the recipe published in The New York Times.
- 1 pound dried hominy
- 3 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 2-inch-square chunks
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons peanut or safflower oil
- 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon New Mexican chile powder (I used regular chile powder, which works fine)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (I used regular oregano, also fine)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 chipotle in adobo sauce (I used 2)
- 1 (12-ounce) bottle lager-style beer
- 2 pounds collard greens (about 2 bunches), center rib removed, leaves chopped
- Lime wedges, for serving
- Cilantro leaves, for serving
- Soak the hominy in plenty of water overnight or during the day for 8 hours or so. Drain.
- Season the pork all over with salt and black pepper. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear the meat in batches until well browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate. (If there’s a lot of fat in there, you can pour a little of it out, but leave enough to cook the onions.)
- Add the onion to the pot and cook until soft, 5 to 7 minutes (it’ll get a little color from the pork bits in the pan). Add the garlic, chile powder, cumin, oregano, bay leaf and cinnamon. Cook 1 minute. Return pork to pot. Stir in the chipotle, hominy, beer, 6 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer for about 1 to 1/2 hours more until meat and hominy are tender, adding water as needed if too thick. (I wanted it thick, so let most of the liquid evaporate.) Stir in collards for last 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf and cinnamon. Taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle into bowls; garnish with lime, cilantro and, if you want, avocado and radish.
I actually halved this recipe, which works just as well.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Cooking time: 2 hour(s) 30 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 8