Earthy, smoky, and vibrant Chimayo, New Mexico red chile powder provides the flavorful foundation for this warming stew of tender pork and hominy. New Mexico Red Chile Posole will have you hooked on red chile!
I promised my readers and myself to post a minimum of once a week, and in my first month, I've already broken that promise! I have been in California taking care of my sister following a mastectomy and complications.
My focus has been on helping my sister recover, and blogging had to wait. I have enjoyed talking with her, though, about the content of this post, as she has been the lucky recipient of a bag of Chimayo red chile on many occasions!
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 four years ago. We have returned every year, and dreamed of retiring there.
Prior to that 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.
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.
Making New Mexico Red Chile Posole
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.
About Posole (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.
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.
Posole Cooking Steps
- Brown pork cubes, onion, garlic, cumin. Meanwhile, in a second large pot cook frozen or dried posole (skip if using canned).
- Add broth to pork, and bring to a simmer. Mix red chile and water, add to the pork and broth mixture along with the oregano.
- Simmer until pork and posole are tender. When pork and posole are tender, drain posole and add to the pork.
- Simmer about 30 minutes to combine all flavors.
NOTE: 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.
Posole Tips and FAQ
Can I freeze red chile posole? 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.
We can't do hot, spicy foods (kids?). Can we still enjoy posole? 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.
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!
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. 😀
Recommended Cooking Tools and Pantry Items:
- Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven
- Wusthof Santoku Knife
- Butcher Block Cutting Board
- Chimayo Red Chile Powder
- Dried Hominy
Disclaimer: If you purchase from Amazon through my website, I may receive a small compensation. This helps to offset the costs of my blog. 🙂
- 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
- 1/2 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!
I probably use more red chile, but I add to taste. Proceed cautiously, as you don't want to get it too spicy!
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 preparation method.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 398 calories; 30 g protein; 64 g carbohydrates; 15 g fat.
We exercise restraint and portion control at Andersen casa. If you typically eat large portions, this may suit 6 rather than 8. Macros do not include garnishes!
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 398Total Fat: 8gCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 36g