Deep red, earthy, slightly smoky northern New Mexico red chile powder provides the amazing complexity in this Instant Pot Red Chile Posole. With lean pork, hominy, and a few pantry ingredients, it can be on your table in about an hour, but tastes like it cooked for hours!
This recipe first appeared on Pressure Cooking Today where I am a monthly contributor.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
I did not misspell "chile." In the 16th century, Spanish immigrants to the New Mexico area changed the indigenous name "chilli" to "chile." In 1983, Pete Domenici (long-term senator from New Mexico) made "chile" the official name of New Mexico's red and green chile peppers.
New Mexicans think of "chili" as a protein based dish with spices and with or without beans. That's your trivia for today. 🙂
FYI: Red chile powder is healthy. Capsaicin is a natural anti-inflammatory, fights stomach upset, and strengthens the immune system! For more information, see Spice It Up: 5 Benefits of Chili Powder. Remember, though, it's "chile" not "chili!" Lol.
🌶️ About Red Chile
Red chile varies both in heat level and flavor depending upon the region in which it grows, and whether it is oven dried or sun dried. Perhaps you've seen the little packets of red chile powder in the Mexican foods section of your local market?
The color may not be the intense reddish-brown color of the sun-dried red chile from northern New Mexico, but will still have plenty of flavor. I do my best to keep red chile from northern New Mexico in a vacuum-sealed jar in my pantry!
The chile culture in that part of the state is really interesting. The locals can taste a dish made with red chile and tell you whether it came from Chimayo or Dixon! My palate is not quite that well-developed. Lol. However, I can tell the difference between northern and southern New Mexico red chile. For more on red chile, see Chile: Red or Orange.
🍲 What is Posole?
I suppose that depends on who you ask! I will attempt to answer from the perspective of a New Mexican (home for 22 years). We think of "posole" as both an ingredient and a stew.
Posole/hominy is nixtamalized corn. At the risk of over-simplifying, corn is soaked in lye, which removes the outer hull of the corn. After the corn expands, it is dried, leaving a product that is more like a bean.
The process of nixtamalization allowed the indigenous people of Central and South America to preserve their corn for extended periods of time. It could then be used in making tortillas and stews like posole. For more information, see Hominy is Like Corn with Superpowers.
From a culinary perspective, canned hominy is inferior to dried or frozen posole. The dried or frozen posole maintains more of its earthy flavor and a slightly chewy texture that cannot be matched by the canned hominy. Do not forego making this red chile posole if you can't find it, though! You will still get a delicious result...
Remember: Posole is both an ingredient and a dish according to New Mexicans!~~ Tamara.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
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.
- frozen posole - I prefer frozen posole, but here in south Texas, it's hard to come by. I provide instructions for subbing canned hominy. I have also had good luck with dried and reconstituted posole. The texture and flavor of both frozen and dried is nuttier, earthier, and a little bit chewy (which we love!). However, you will not be disappointed using canned hominy.
- lean boneless pork - I use pork loin, but boneless pork chops or pork tenderloin are fine too. Pork tenderloin requires less cooking time to become tender.
- onion - red, yellow, or white
- ground cumin
- chicken broth/stock
- ground New Mexico red chile - There is no worthy substitute if you're making New Mexico red chile posole. You can use Mexican red chile - ancho, guajillo - but the flavor will be quite different. Run away from generic "chili powder." It's a spice blend with several ingredients.
- beer, optional - I keep Corona and "Coronitas" on hand for cooking. This posole uses 12 ounces, so the regular size is perfect. Substitute any clean flavored lager. You don't want hop-forward or malt-forward beers messing with the flavor. On the other hand, you can add extra broth/stock, and omit entirely.
- Mexican oregano
- bay leaves
🍲 Why Use My Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker?
I have made this dish on my gas stove, in a slow cooker, and in my Instant Pot. I prefer the results obtained using the pressure cooker, and it's almost always the method I use! The cubed pork gets tender in a fraction of the time, and it's easy to control the texture of the hominy.
- Prepare the frozen posole/hominy - Add the posole followed by water up to the fill line to the bowl of your Instant Pot. Pressurize for 15 minutes. After a quick pressure release, drain and rinse the posole, and set it aside. Note: Posole is both an ingredient and a dish. The photo at the right is an example of a widely available brand.
- Prepare the posole stew - Rinse and dry the inside of the pressure cooker. Add a bit of oil to the pot. Cook the cubed pork, garlic, and onion on medium-high heat if using a stove top model, and on the sauté setting if using an Instant Pot or similar. Cook until the pork is browned, and onions are soft. Add the cumin, Mexican oregano, bay leaves, broth and red chile, and beer (optional).
- Pressure cook the posole stew - Lock the lid, and cook on high on the "stew" setting (about 20 minutes in your cook top model). After releasing the pressure, add the COOKED posole/hominy back into the pressure cooker, and stir to combine and heat through.
- Serve with your preferred garnishes and enjoy!
- In many parts of the country (or world), canned hominy is the only option. Omit the first pressurization. Add the rinsed and drained hominy after the pork is tenderized.
- Dried hominy is another option, but it will require a pre-soak before cooking. After it is pre-soaked, treat it like frozen (step 1 above).
- Don't use generic "chili powder." This is a spice blend that has a lot of fillers - onion, garlic, salt, etc.
- There is no substitution for red chile powder, but you can use Mexican chile powders like guajillo and ancho.
- New Mexico red chile powder varies in heat level. If it's not marked, it's probably considered "medium."
- Beer is not gluten free! It is optional, and easily omitted. I only add it if I have beer on hand.
- This makes a large pot of posole, and leftovers freeze well. The posole will continue to absorb liquid, but you can add some broth or stock to the pot when you thaw and reheat it.
- Using a stove top pressure cooker? On a stovetop model, bring it to pressure on high, and then reduce heat to medium or low to keep the pressure.
Do you prefer to make your red chile posole on the stove? I've got you covered with New Mexico Red Chile Posole! For #MeatlessMondays? I've got a delicious Vegetarian Pumpkin Posole that's perfect for chilly fall days.
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