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Hominy Stew & Corn Tortillas with Lois Ellen Frank

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Hominy Corn Harvest Stew

© By Lois Ellen Frank, Ph.D.

Serves 6 to 8 as a main course

Posole when eaten alone is a simple, rustic stew common throughout many Native communities and made in a variety of different ways. The word posole is the Spanish word for a hominy stew. Made from dried hominy corn, vegetables, spices, and dried red chile, this stew is usually cooked in large quantities. Posole can be found in three colors of corn, white, blue, and red with white being the most common. It is usually sold dried in the Mexican food section of your grocery store. Posole is customarily eaten all throughout the year and when a hearty meal in cold weather is welcome. This is one of my favorite versions of the stew.

2 cups dried hominy corn, (white, blue, or red)
6 quarts water
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 zucchini squash, cut into half-moon wedges
2 yellow squash, cut into half-moon wedges
4 tomatoes, diced
4 dried New Mexico red chile pods, seeded, stemmed and torn into 12 pieces
1 Tablespoon New Mexico red chile powder, mild
2 bay leaves
4 cups water from cooked posole
1 teaspoon azafran (Native American saffron)
2 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves, finely chopped (or dried Mexican Oregano)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (optional)

Soak the dried hominy overnight in 1 quart of water.

The following day, drain and discard the water. Place the hominy corn in a large pot filled with the remaining 5 quarts of water. The water should cover the hominy by at least 3-inches; if it does not add a little more water.
Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the kernels burst and are puffy and tender, when tasted. Add water during cooking, if needed. Drain the hominy corn, keeping the hominy corn water, and set aside. You should have approximately 4 cups of water left after draining the hominy corn. White corn tends to puff the most.
Or you can cook the hominy corn in a slow cooker for 6 to 8 hours (overnight) on low after it has reached a boil. For every 2 cups of dried hominy corn I use 6 cups of water in the slow cooker or crock-pot.

In a separate 6-quart pot, heat the olive oil over medium to high heat and sauté the onion until clear, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic, zucchini squash, yellow squash, and tomatoes, and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add the posole, red chile pods, bay leaves, vegetable broth, water from the cooked posole, and azafran. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the oregano, thyme, and salt, and continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes. For a thicker stew, I remove several cups of the stew and blend, returning to the stew pot once blended. Serve hot in large soup bowls as a main course with warm bread.

Note: You can also cook your hominy corn in a slow cooker overnight. Bring the hominy corn to boil covered with water, then reduce heat to low and let it slow cook overnight for approximately 6 to 8 hours. Remove from slow cooker and use according to the recipe.


Corn Tortillas

From the Taco Table Cookbook
© By Lois Ellen Frank, Ph.D.

Makes 16 corn tortillas

Corn tortillas are available in all supermarkets today and are certainly an option when making taco dishes, but I would really encourage all of you to make your own homemade corn tortillas, even if only once. I can almost guarantee, however, that once you’ve held the dough in your hands, and placed it onto a cooking comal or skillet and made into fresh warm, moist, corn tortillas you are sure to be a convert. I didn’t grow up making corn tortillas on a daily basis so when I started to make them from scratch it seemed a little bit foreign to me. But once I realized how easy it was to do, how delicious the tortillas were to eat, and how much I enjoyed the process, I now make corn tortillas all the time.
Both Alma Aguirre-Loya and Noe Cano grew up with mothers that made tortillas every day. Alma, who is from Northern Mexico, had either corn or flour tortillas on a daily basis, while Noe always only had corn tortillas. Alma continues today to make tortillas every day for her children, while Noe teaches how to make tortillas at the Santa Fe School of Cooking in Santa Fe, New Mexico in their cooking classes.

Below is the recipe as I was taught how to make corn tortillas from both Alma and Noe.

2 cups Fresh Corn Masa Flour or Maseca brand corn masa flour
1-teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups water

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the corn flour and water and mix together until you have formed a dough. You can do this with a spoon, but I always use my hands.

After the corn flour and water is completely mixed, using your hands form balls just smaller than a gold ball and set aside. Preheat your comal or cast-iron skillet so that it is hot.

In a tortilla press, place one ball in the center of the tortilla press and press together to make one corn tortilla. I use a plastic bag that I cut in half leaving a seam on one side so that I can place the corn masa ball inside the plastic so that it doesn’t stick to the tortilla press.

Remove the tortilla and place on the comal and cook the first side of the tortilla for 10 to 15 seconds, then turn over and cook for approximately 30 to 40 seconds, then turn over again and cook until it puffs and the tortilla is done.
Place the cooked tortilla in a kitchen towel inside a basket or bowl and prepare the next tortilla following the same steps. Stack the tortilla on top of each other to keep them warm inside the towel.

Serve warm with your favorite taco recipe.

Shopping for Ingredients

Many of the ingredients for our recipes are available directly from the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Shop Ala Cart or Purchase all the Ingredients as a Package.

Ingredients and Tools available at the School of Cooking

(6 oz.) - $8.00
(Mild 12 oz.) - $18.00
(White Posole:1.0 lb. can) - $10.00
(Blue Posole: 1.0 lb. can) - $10.00
(Azafran - 1 oz.) - $6.50
(Mexican Oregano - 1 oz.) - $5.75
(Tortilla (fine) grind 14 oz. can ) - $10.00
(12" across) - $40.00
(14" across) - $56.00
- $48.95
Total Cost: $213.2

Other Ingredients

  • Olive oil, onion, garlic, zucchini squash, yellow squash, tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano leaves, thyme leaves, salt, kosher salt