New Mexico Red Chile Posole features earthy and smoky New Mexico red chile powder to build the flavorful foundation for this warming stew of tender pork and hominy. This posole recipe will have you hooked on New Mexico red chile!
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks – About Chimayo Red Chile
New Mexicans fondly refer to home as their “Land of Enchantment.” “Enchanting” accurately describes the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of northern New Mexico. Within a fertile valley just 24 miles north of Santa Fe lies the picturesque village of Chimayo, New Mexico.
This lovely, verdant valley provides a brilliant contrast to the stark beauty of the high desert surrounding it. Its fertile soil produces the renowned heirloom red chile – Capsicum anuum “Chimayo.”
My husband Mark and I first vacationed in the high desert country surrounding Taos, New Mexico about eleven years ago. We returned every year until we moved to Texas in 2015, but were thrilled to spend a week there in 2017.
Prior to that first trip, we had previously enjoyed commercially marketed Chimayo red chile, but our first locally purchased chile was “life changing” (my favorite food expression.) 🙂 We drove many miles on a dirt road from Dixon to Chimayo, and then down to Espagnola to meet Señor Steve for a pound of his spectacular Chimayo red chile.
His red chile was amazing! We’ve since purchased chile from other local farmers, and it never disappoints! The combination of soil, extreme weather conditions, and frequent drought produces the special balance of heat and flavor that characterizes Chimayo red chile. One distinct difference is the fact that farm-grown red chile is sun-dried rather than oven-dried…
🍲 Can I Make Red Chile Posole in My Instant Pot or Slow Cooker?
I’ve made this dish successfully in a slow cooker, on my gas stove, and in my pressure cooker. Specific instructions for the Instant Pot can be found at Instant Pot Red Chile Posole.
The process for cooking in the slow cooker is not much different than stove top or Instant Pot. The pork needs to be seared and garlic and onion sautéed prior to going into the slow cooker. Don’t skip this important step! Caramelization of the pork cubes brings depth of flavor not obtained by adding raw pork to the pot…
Your red chile posole will require about 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low to achieve tender results.
🌽 Posole Versus Hominy
I will approach this confusing topic from the perspective of a New Mexican, although it’s a “thing” in McAllen as well. In New Mexico, “posole” is both an ingredient and a dish. YEP!
Without getting too technical about the process, the difference between corn and posole (aka hominy) is a process called nixtamalization. The corn is soaked in an alkaline bath of calcium hydroxide (lime).
Nixtamalization removes the outer shells of the kernels, allowing them to swell. It prevents the corn from sprouting, making long-term storage possible. If you’ve ever had a corn tortilla, you’ve had nixtamalized corn.
📋 Ingredients Notes
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- posole/hominy – I prefer to use frozen posole, but I can’t always get it. Dried and canned are fine. Keep in mind the posole/hominy must be cooked prior to adding it to the stew.
- boneless pork – Pork loin is my “go to,” as it’s lean and easy to cube. Boneless pork chops are another good option. I have not tried boneless pork shoulder due to it’s fat content. Pork tenderloin is fine, but it’s more expensive, and doesn’t require the same amount of cooking time to become tender.
- onion – red, yellow, white, sweet
- ground cumin
- chicken broth/stock
- New Mexico red chile – There is no substitute for New Mexico red chile. It comes in “mild” to “extra hot.” Choose accordingly. Ancho and guajillo powder will work, but the flavor is different. They are Mexican red chiles, and I can’t speak to the heat level with the amount specified in the recipe. Avoid generic “chili powder” as it is a spice blend that includes many ingredients.
- beer – Choose a “clean” lager like Corona. You can omit if gluten is an issue or you prefer to cook without alcohol.
- Mexican oregano
- bay leaves
- garnishes – cilantro, lime wedges, avocado, scallions, cheese (I like cotija)
I prefer to use frozen posole (hominy) or dried, but if they are not available, canned hominy works fine. You will need to add the canned hominy no more than 30 minutes prior to serving or it will get mushy.
Good quality chicken broth/stock is important. Whenever possible, I use homemade stock, but there are some very good prepared products on the market. I particularly like Trader Joe’s Organic, Cage-Free Chicken Broth.
Chimayo red chile is probably a “medium” level heat, and the flavor is rich and intense. Chimayo Chile Brothers is a source I’ve used to ship chile. If nothing else will do, this red chile is worth the expense.
🍲 Making New Mexico Red Chile Posole
- Prepare the posole – If you’re using frozen or dried, it needs to be pre-cooked. The frozen requires about 60 minutes on the stove or about 15 in a pressure cooker. If you’re using dried posole, you will need to pre-soak before cooking. Follow directions on package. You want “al dente,” not mushy! Skip step if using canned hominy. While posole/hominy cooks, start the pork.
- Prepare and cook the pork – Brown pork cubes, onion, garlic, cumin. Add beer (if using) to pork, and bring to a simmer. Whisk red chile and broth/stock together, add to the pork and broth mixture along with the oregano and bay leaves.
- Cook the posole – Simmer until pork and posole are tender. When pork and posole are tender, drain posole and add to the pork. Simmer until read to serve (up to 30 minutes) to combine all the flavors.
- Serve – Ladle posole into bowls. Garnish as desired!
YES! I am typically cooking for 2, but I make a big pot of posole, and freeze leftovers in meal-sized zip bags. When I thaw and re-heat it, I usually add a little additional broth/stock.
There are 2 main ways to control the heat level of your posole. 1. Use red chile powder specific to your taste buds and needs. You can find it in “mild,” “medium,” “hot,” and even “extra hot.” 2. You can vary the heat level by using more or less in your pot of posole. As I mention in the recipe card, 1/2 cup is a general guideline. I’ve had my New Mexico friends and family say it wasn’t enough. Lol. You can add but not subtract.
NOTE: When I am pressed for time, I use my pressure cooker. See Instant Pot Red Chile Posole.
We prefer boneless pork, but you can use beef or chicken as well. I will not speak to lamb as I’ve not tried it!
Don’t confuse New Mexico red chile powder (just ground red chiles) with the spice mix “chili powder.” They’re 2 very different ingredients. The spice mix has cumin, garlic, and other ingredients.
Cooking time varies according to chosen preparation method.
🧂 Useful Stuff
These are few items that I recommend that are related to this recipe, and either the same brand or similar to what I use in my own kitchen!
- Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Wusthof Santoku Knife
- Butcher Block Cutting Board
- Chimayo Red Chile Powder
- Dried Hominy
It is fall in the northern hemisphere – the perfect time to put on a pot of New Mexico Red Chile Posole! In fact, Red Chile Posole is a Christmas tradition in many New Mexico households. I do hope you’ll give it a try. 😀
Red Chile Posole
- 2 pounds boneless pork - loin, chops, tenderloin, roast, cubed
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 large onion - yellow or red, chopped
- 2 teaspoons cumin - to taste
- 3 cloves garlic - minced (or more to taste)
- 6 cups good quality chicken broth
- 1 32 ounce package frozen corn posole, such as Bueno
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup Chimayo red chile powder - (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- sea salt and ground pepper to taste
- lime wedges
- green onions - chopped
- Mexican oregano
- Add oil to a large pan (dutch oven). Bring to medium high heat. Add pork cubes, onion, cumin, and garlic. Sauté until pork is nicely browned. Meanwhile, in a second large pot (won’t need a lid), cover posole with water and bring to a boil. Add broth to pork, and bring to a simmer. Mix red chile and water, then add to the pork and broth mixture. Add the oregano. Stir well, and cover the pot. Keep the pot at a low simmer. You will need to check periodically, as covered pots have a tendency to boil over.
- The posole needs to cook about an hour (until tender but not mushy.) When it is done, remove from the heat and drain. I prefer to cook the posole separately so that it doesn’t absorb all the liquid in the pot with the pork. If you’ve substituted canned hominy for the frozen, you will skip this step. You will want to rinse the canned hominy to remove the starch. If you’ve purchased dry posole, follow the instructions on the package to re-hydrate.
- At this point, the pork should be somewhat tender. However, I prefer to cook the pork for at least 2 hours on the stove, or several hours in a slow cooker. I add the posole about 30 minutes prior to serving to keep it from slurping up the delicious red chile broth.
- When I am pressed for time, I use my pressure cooker. The pork and onions can be browned on the stove, broth and red chile added, then pressurize on high for about 45 minutes. Depressurize, add the cooked or canned posolé, return to a boil, and then serve.
- The posolé is delicious served with avocado, lime wedges, cilantro, Mexican oregano, and chopped green onion. I usually make a double batch and freeze the leftovers for a second meal. Yum!
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.