Probably about two years ago, I was introduced to the deliciousness that is pozole (or hominy). I have always like grits, but I had never had pozole in this form. As defined, “Hominy is a food made from kernels of corn which are soaked in an alkali solution of either lime or lye. The corrosive nature of the solution removes the hull and germ of the corn and causes the grain itself to puff up to about twice its normal size.” Apparently, it is fairly nutritious as well, which after hearing of the process you almost would not expect. However, it is rich in carbohydrates, low in fat, rich in fiber, and much less caloric than other grains and starches. I like the texture.
In any case, my mother saw a segment on the Today Show featuring Michael Lomonaco’s recipe for Turkey Pozole Soup. It ended up being way too spicy for her liking, but the flavor and heartiness stayed with me. Lately I had been craving some sort of Mexican style soup, so about two weeks ago I was playing around in my kitchen and I ended up modifying his recipe utilizing what was in my pantry and freezer (I had bought hominy a couple of weeks earlier). Since I work crazy hours, I do not keep a lot of fresh food in my apartment, I instead rely on my freezer and shelf-stable goods to whip up meals. It was a fun test of my skills, and I ended up loving the results.
Pantry Chicken Pozole Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound frozen chicken breasts, thawed and roughly cubed
1/3 cup dried chopped onion
1 tablespoon dried sliced garlic
1 quart turkey stock (can use chicken or vegetable stock/broth)
1 28 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 26 ounce box Pomi strained tomatoes
1 10 ounce can tomatoes with green chiles
1 29 ounce can hominy
1 tablespoon dried cilantro
1 packet True Lemon lemon powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon Cholulah hot sauce
Optional – shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and sour cream for garnish
In a stock pot, heat olive oil and add chicken, brown on all sides, about five minutes (don’t worry about fully cooking it, the chicken will cook while the soup is simmering). Add onion, garlic, and about a half cup of the stock to help reconstitute the seasonings. Cook for about two minutes. Add the rest of the stock, tomato products, hominy, and remaining seasonings. Bring ingredients to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired (I did not add any salt, as the tomatoes already have a good amount of sodium). Simmer for about half an hour. Soup can be served immediately, or can be cooled down and reheated. Serve with optional garnishes, if desired.