Purple Posole Stew (subtitle: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover)

August 30, 2011

As someone who has indeed judged many a book by its cover when browsing bookstores, it’s kind of ironic that I’m asking you to look beyond the pictures of my purple posole stew, and take my word for it on the taste.  (It’s not like I don’t ever read the backs of and then buy ugly-covered books, and I always read the backs of attractively covered books before actually buying them). But, near non sequitur aside, almost none of the pictures I took while making this dish, and none of the pictures of the finished product were very attractive.  At all. The taste, however, was wonderful. I wanted to make use of the gorgeous purple posole I got a few weeks ago from Whole Foods, but wasn’t really thinking about how a stew that is kind of brownish would really look nicer with light-colored posole than it would with purple. Oh well. It was still cool eating purple posole. (Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while are familiar with my affinity for purple things).

I love posole – it’s hearty tasting, has a great toothy quality, and is very satisfying. Posole and hominy seem to be used interchangeably by most people, but a few searches turned up an explanation that the two are created using different alkaline components to treat the corn, as well as different types of corn. I’m not completely sure I’ve even eaten hominy, so I can only vouch for posole, but I can tell you, it’s awesome. The treatment used for either type results in less fiber than untreated corn, but the process makes niacin more readily available to the body, so in that respect, it’s more nutritious than sweet corn. Using dried posole takes more time than using canned, but it’s so worth it. There’s not a lot of labor involved at all, just waiting. You soak the posole overnight, and then cooking it takes at least two and a half hours. But I can promise you, your kitchen will smell fantastic.

Purple Posole Ingredients

Purple Posole Ingredients

I like to use poultry for posole stew, but you could certainly use pork, or even something more unique like elk.  I looked for skinless turkey thighs, but couldn’t find any, so I got chicken thighs instead, which worked quite well.   The extra bit of fat in the thighs allows the meat stand up to the long cooking time better than leaner breast meat would.  For heat, I had planned to use two poblano peppers, which I swear were labelled as ‘medium’ heat, but they very definitely weren’t hot when I touched a bit to my tongue. So I used them as a textural element only, and grabbed the three dried chipotle peppers I still had from Savory Spice Shop.  I broke them in a few pieces, then removed the seeds (the hottest part), and chopped them into smaller pieces. They added a perfect amount of heat, and brought a very nice smoky element to the stew. (You can always adjust the heat level to your liking by adding some cayenne, or using hotter peppers).  Below is the only attractive picture I took during the whole process – all the vegetables before I added the chicken, broth and water.   Drink it in, in all its beauty, because the next picture will be the not-so-great looking finished product.

Posole and Vegetables

Posole and Vegetables

Purple Posole Stew
serves 4-6

1 lb skinless chicken thighs, cut into ~ 1/2 inch cubes
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
5 c water
12 oz dried posole
3 c onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 poblano chilies, chopped
3 dried chipotle chilies, seeds removed and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

Soak the posole in water overnight. Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until posole is tender (around 2 and 1/2 hours).

Purple Posole Stew

Purple Posole Stew


6 Responses to “Purple Posole Stew (subtitle: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover)”

  1. Wow, I will have to seek out this purple posole. On the purple theme, I got purple potatoes from Cure Organic Farm this past weekend at the Farmers’ Market. I expected the color to be just on the skins, but it was all the way through. Makes for vivid mashed potatoes!

    • I LOVE the purple potatoes! I’ve gotten them from both 2Rs and Cure, and you had the same experience I did. I totally expected them to be a pale lavender, but they were purple all the way through. I love that!

      The posole at the Boulder Whole Foods is in one of the barrels at the end of the line of bulk rice, I think, fairly near the bulk vinegar. It is so incredibly gorgeous!

  2. Karen Says:

    What an interesting sounding dish…I’ll be on the lookout for purple pozole or regular for that matter.

  3. Michael Says:

    I found your blog while Googling Purple Hominy. It seems that you are calling the Purple Hominy ‘Posole’, i could be wrong but I think the stew made from various ingredients such as Pork, Dried New Mexico Red Chili, Onion and other spices is called Posole. Granted you can make a Posole from any other ingredients you like. I recently picked up a can of Teasdale Purple Hominy / Indian Corn and was searching the internet to see how other people have used this product.

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