Posole, C’s version

4 medium onions, divided
7 T. olive oil, divided
4 T. special seasoning (see recipe below) or ancho chili powder
2 T. plus 2 tsp. dried oregano, divided
6 to 6-1/2 pound bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt)*
5 cups (or more) of chicken broth (low sodium or not)
4 7-ounch cans green chilis (or more)
5 or more large garlic cloves, minced
3 Roma tomatoes, skin removed, seeded, and chopped
4 tsp. ground cumin
4 15-ounce cans golden or white hominy, drained
thinly sliced green onions
leafy lettuce, chiffonaded

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit December 2008

Special seasoning
2-1/2 T. paprika
2 T. salt
2 T. garlic powder
1 T. black pepper
1 T. cayenne pepper
1 T. dried oregano
1 T. dried thyme

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thinly slice two onions. Heat 4 T. oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions to pot and saute until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add 1 tsp. oregano to onions; rub pork with 1 T. plus 1 tsp. special seasoning and some salt. Put pork in pot and lightly brown all sides.

*  The original recipe calls for cutting the raw pork into 1/2 inch cubes and then braising it.  Although I do this for my pork tikka recipe, the two times I’ve made posole I’ve left the pork butt whole and then shredded and cut the pork and removed excess fat when it was done and had cooled.

Add 5 cups of broth, bring to boil. Cover and transfer to oven.

Braise pork until tender enough to shred easily, about 2 hours. Using slotted spoon, transfer pork to large bowl. Pour juice into another large bowl. Let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight. You should make the pork a day ahead to allow the fat to rise to the surface of the juice so it can easily be removed.

Discard fat from top of chilled juice; reserve juice. Chop pork into 1/2-inch cubes, discarding excess fat. Thinly slice remained 2 onions. Heat 3 T. oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions; saute until soft, stirring often, about 7 minutes. Add remaining 2 T. plus 2 tsp. special seasoning, 1 tsp. oregano, diced chilis, tomatoes, garlic, and cumin. Stir 30 seconds. Add pork, reserved juice, and hominy. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend adding more broth to thin, if you want.

Ladle into bowls. Place strips of lettuce on top and a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt, which are very optional. I served buttered tortillas with the posole. Heat a fry pan without oil to warm the tortillas and then butter them. But warm corn bread would be a good alternative.

Background:  When I frequently visited Anne Noggle in Albuquerque, her friend Jim Holbrook would make, not nearly often enough, as far as I was concerned, posole and share it with us. That was several years ago. Recently, I’ve been occasionally getting lunch from a food truck on the University of Hawaii campus, and posole is one of the dishes that they rotationally serve. I figured I could make a version of it. What I have here can’t come close to Jim’s (and likely other authentic and regionally situated posoles out there) but it’s as good, maybe better, than the food truck’s. Pearl likes it, and I had to fight Mike to keep him from eating it all.

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