In July, Maezy began asking for posole. My foodie five year old loves dishes I never heard of until I was at least 25–things like baba ghanoush, hummus, kombucha, Bragg’s liquid aminos and of course posole (to name a few of her favorites). She shares her love of this Mexican stew with her father, who makes a huge pot of posole each January. We invite friends over to share in the feast, often accompanied by an ice skating or sledding excursion out in the frozen desert.This year, he caved, and made posole at the first hint of cold weather in October, due to Maezy’s relentless pleadings.
Posole is filled with diverse flavors and textures. Spencer says he loves it because no one bite tastes exactly the same. Before he became a certified “soil geek,” and as a family we became deeply invested in regenerating soils through our work on the land, making posole was a lot easier. In fact, shopping for all our homemade Mexican cuisine was pretty simple. Every store has a wide variety of corn tortillas, hominy and tortilla chips. But…most are not organic. Which means they may be made from GMO-corn and produced in a way that strips the soil of life, is dependent on fertilizers and pesticides and surely grown as a monocrop–all of which aid in desertification of the land instead of building healthy soil and biodiversity. So now that only organic corn is allowed in our kitchen, getting the supplies for my husband and daughter’s favorite winter dish proved to be a challenge, but one that turned out to be surprisingly easy to make, delicious and a great lesson in traditional cooking.
Organic hominy is not sold on Amazon…
Thus it must not exist right? Even organic tortillas are hard to find (and the sprouted, frozen ones make my daughter look like a puppy gnawing on a bone when she bites into a taco made with these tortillas…soft they are not!). So I rolled up my sleeves and got to searching. I found a helpful Mother Earth News article on ancient corn (fascinating how traditional cultures knew how to make the nutrients in grains bio-available through a lot of hard work and patience) and how to make something called Nixtamal. I went back to Amazon and found the ingredients I’d need: organic corn kernels and pickling lime. In two days, they arrived and we set to work making our own nixtamal/hominy. Fed up with the quality of organic tortillas I ordered some organic corn masa (ground, dried hominy) and we resurrected the tortilla press my mother-in-law gave me and we started to make our own tortillas on taco night (doesn’t everyone have a taco night once a week?). Maezy calls it our “family tortilla factory.” I roll the dough into balls, she presses it on the tortilla press and Spencer cooks them on the big cast iron pan. It is a fun way to cook together and so easy. I was shocked at how easy making tortillas and hominy are–no need to buy store bought that are made with GMO corn, preservatives and a dull taste. Homemade hominy and tortillas are amazingly flavorful and the whole house smells like a tortilla factory–an added bonus. I eat cassava flour tortillas (there is also a handy tortilla recipe on the back of the Otto’s Cassava Flour bag), which taste like heaven after not eating anything that resembles a tortilla for more than two years as I sort out my food intolerances and hormonal disregulation. Highly recommend these as well.
How to make organic hominy for posole (or other uses)
Our recipe here is based on the article we found in Mother Earth News on how to make nixtamal. It takes time, but is so easy!
1.5 cups organic corn kernels
2 tablespoons pickling lime
1. In a stainless steel pot, cover the corn with water, add the lime (be careful with the lime, it isn’t good to inhale it or get it on your skin). Simmer for 30 minutes. Do not boil! Boiling will give a bitter taste so keep it at a simmer only.
2. Remove from heat and let the pot of corn stand overnight
3. Strain the corn using a colander, rub the kernels with your fingers, removing the outer shell.
4. Add the corn back to the clean pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Add salt to taste. Let simmer for about 45 minutes.
5. We let the corn continue to soak until we were ready to add it to the posole the next day. This extended soaking is not needed. The corn should be ready after cooling. Let your eye be the judge, if it looks like hominy, it is ready .