Saturday, January 22, 2011

Comfort Food: Pass The Pesole

I had forgotten just how good Pesole is. I use to eat it often when I lived in Mexico. The woman who lived beneath me made a huge pot of it a couple times a week and brought up bowls of soup for dinner.

Bless you Maria for pushing me through my introduction to Mexican food. I was young and was not likely to try anything different until you brought me a bowl of your Pesole.

It was Maria who taught me to appreciate a dish for what I could change. I never did, however, make a Pesole better than hers but this recipe is easy and really good.

I didn’t have hominy so I used white beans and it was still delicious.

I think a lot of the flavor (and artistry) comes from what you top the soup off with. I always say the higher the pile the better. You can really turn soup into a work of art just by accruing a lot of gorgeous, inventive toppings.

I will add this recipe to the growing number of soups that fuel me during the frigid Chicago winters. It’s minus 20 today and I can’t think of eating anything today but a hot bowl of fresh, homemade soup…especially when it’s Pesole!

Bon Appetit!

Chicken Pesole

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup tomato paste

3 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

4 cans (14.5 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth

4 cans (15 ounces each) white hominy, drained

6 3/4 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey meat (2 pounds)

Coarse salt and ground pepper

Assorted garnishes, such as diced avocado, thinly sliced radishes, tortilla chips and cilantro.

Heat oil in a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onions; cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, and oregano; cook, stirring constantly, until evenly distributed.

Add 4 cups water, broth, and hominy. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until fragrant, about 30 minutes. Stir in chicken; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until heated through. (When freezing, cool completely before transferring to airtight containers.)

To serve, divide among bowls, and garnish as desired.