Is there anything better on a cold winter’s night than a warm bowl of chicken soup?
I think not.
The way the warm broth slips down your throat and warms you from the inside out. The steam from the bowl wafting up over your face, bathing you in the rich smells of chicken and vegetables. It simply can’t be beat.
While I LOVE a good chicken noodle, I also really love posole. (Do I really have to remind you of my obsession with Mexican food? I didn’t think so 😉 ).
There are different types of posole, but generally they include some sort of slow-simmered meat, a flavorful broth (either green and tomatillo based or red chile based), and tender grains of hominy.
It’s basically dried corn kernels that have been softened by soaking them in a mixture of lime or wood ash (or in modern times, sometime lye).
The process is called nixtamalization, and it results in tender white kernels that look sort of like mushy corn nuts. (appealing, I know)
But soaking the kernels in lime or ash also gives hominy a nutritional boost.
Without the soaking, our bodies cannot access the vitamin B3 (niacin) in the corn kernels. This is a problem for people who rely on corn as a major food source. They need every vitamin and mineral they can get!
Without enough niacin in the diet, a deficiency disease develops called pellagra. Signs of pellagra are the 3 “D’s”: Diarrhea, Dementia, & Dermatitis, and if untreated, can even lead to death!
Yes, this actually happened back in the day when American settlers tried to use corn as a staple in their diet without following the customs of the native people. Without soaking the corn first, they were unable to access and absorb the vitamin B3 (niacin) in their food and pellagra ran wild.
Thankfully, our modern diets are typically rich in niacin, and pellagra is now uncommon in America. Phew!
Ancient wisdom saves the day!
So anyways, back to my hominy soup.
I’m obsessed with green posole with shredded chicken and ALL the toppings.
I mean all.
This soup becomes a hearty meal once you top it with crunchy tortilla strips, sour cream and/or cheese, avocado, radish, cilantro, onion, lettuce, lime, and hot sauce.
The sour cream melts into the broth and makes it gorgeously light green and creamy, while the radish, lettuce, and tortilla strips give each bite texture and crunch. When you take a bite, the tangy broth makes your tastebuds dance and sing. You’ll start in, and 2 seconds later, wonder where all the soup went as you reach the bottom of the bowl.
It’s that good.
Perfect to enjoy family style on a cool winter’s night, or serve at a party for everyone to top their bowl to their liking. Have fun with it!
Green Posole with Shredded Chicken
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts
- 2 quarts chicken broth
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 lb fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved if large
- 1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 large poblano peppers, seeds, stem, and core removed, each cut into 4 pieces
- 1 small serrano pepper, seeds removed
- 1 small bunch cilantro, about 1/2 cup
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 50 oz canned hominy, drained
- Your choice of toppings: Shredded iceberg lettuce or cabbage, , thinly sliced radish or jicama, diced avocado, minced white onion, sour cream or crema, shredded monterey jack cheese or queso fresco, minced cilantro, crispy tortilla strips or crumbled tortilla chips, lime wedges, and Tapatio.
- Pour the chicken broth and water into a large enameled dutch oven. Add the chicken breasts and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts from the cooking liquid and place on a plate to cool. Keep the cooking liquid for later.
- While the chicken cools, add the tomatillos, onion, garlic, poblanos, serrano, cilantro, and oregano to the blender. Scoop 1 cup of the chicken cooking liquid into the blender as well. Pulse until combined, then blend until smooth.
- Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a large nonstick skillet and warm over medium heat. Add the tomatillo puree and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 or 15 minutes, until the sauce has turned dark green.
- As the sauce cooks, shred the chicken breasts and discard the skin and bones. Add the shredded chicken and the hominy to the pot with the chicken broth. When the tomatillo sauce is done simmering, pour it into the pot as well. Bring to a simmer, then ladle into bowls and top with all the toppings your heart desires!
Based on one of my favorite recipes: Mexican Chicken Pozole Verde by Anya Von Bremen.