The Ashram and is quite well known for bringing out a whole new you. It is a gift to myself for turning 40 this year. I will be gone from my family for 6 whole days. My twins will turn 3 this Saturday which means I haven't been without them for more than 24 hours in 3 years. Wow, I never thought about it that way. I guess I can't ever use the excuse of being lonely, the word exhaustion come to mind instead. Part of the retreat requires no caffeine, alcohol, sugar or loud music (just kidding on the last part). But in all seriousness I will be waking at 5:30am in the morning to practice my yoga, breakfast, long hikes through the hills with breath taking views of the ocean, lunch, massages, weight training, more yoga, dinner, group activities, then fall into bed around 9:30 pm. 6 days of this sounds like bliss while typing, but I'm a bit afraid of it all. Most days I am so exhausted by 5pm as the twins take so much of my chi, prana, energy, all of it. I've begun removing caffeine and sugar from my diet so far. The wine will go next week. It's no easy task, but I can already see the benefit in my eating patterns which brings us to our recipe.
Pozole or posole is a traditional Mexican stew made with hominy. This recipe does require a bit of work, but if you plan it right by soaking the beans and hominy the night before you can pull it off over a weekend and the payoff is well worth it. This recipe is made with chicken stock and chicken, but could easily be made vegan if you substitute veggie broth and omit the chicken all together. I imagine it would still taste divine.
Look for prepared or dry posole in your health food store or gourmet shop. I know both Rainbow Grocery and BiRite Market carry Rancho Gordo's brand which is an heirloom variety. You don't want to use the canned variety as it has a rubbery and gummy texture in my opinion. The beans I used were Good Mother Stallard, also a heirloom Rancho Gordo variety. These plump up nicely and provide a flavorful stock. You could substitute any pintolike bean for a similar flavor.
Recipe slightly adapted from Heirloom Beans, Rancho Gordo, Steve Sando and Vanessa Barrington
Serves 6 - 8
Here is what you will need:
1 medium white onion, quartered
2/3 cup dry hominy or posole (the name is interchangeable)
3 dried new mexico chiles
2 Tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves minced
1 1/2 tsp dried mexican oregano
4 cups homemade or purchased chicken broth
2 cups drained, cooked Good Mother Stallard beans (about 8 oz dried)
4 large tomatoes or a 28oz can San Marzano tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken
freshly ground pepper
corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced, for serving
1 lime, quartered for serving
1/2 chopped cilantro leaves for serving
Place beans and posole in separate medium stock pots or sauce pans, cover with water by 1 inch and let soak several hours or overnight.
Rinse and recover beans and posole with 2 inches of water. Cook beans until tender (about 1 - 3 hours) depending on how old they are. Boil them for the first 5 minutes and remove any scum which floats to the top. Then reduce to a gentle simmer. You will know they are close when the smell emits a deep bean aroma. I like to add a chopped up small onion and a garlic clove sautéed in 1Tbs olive oil to the pot to add additional flavor to the beans. You could also add a chopped up carrot and celery stick for more flavor. Add 1 tsp salt 15min prior to finish. Adding salt too early will only delay the cooking process. Once the beans start to taste tender is when I add it, go slowly as salt can take up to 15minute to penetrate the beans. For the posole, add 1 chopped onion quarter, and simmer over a medium low heat covered until tender, about 3 hours. Season with salt toward the end of cooking and add water as needed to keep the posole covered.
Slit the chiles and remove the seeds and stems. Heat a small, heavy skillet over medium high heat and toast the chiles until they puff slightly and emit a spicy fragrance, about 15 seconds per side. Watch closely as burnt chiles taste bitter. Place the chiles in a small bowl and cover with boiling water (I used a bit of the hominy stock). Let soak for 20 to 30 minutes.
In a blender, puree the chiles with enough of the soaking water to make a puree with the consistency of orange juice.
Cut 2 onion quarters into thin slices. In a large stock or soup pot heat oil over medium heat and add onions and garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, 2 - 3 minutes. Add the oregano, chicken broth, chili puree, and the tomatoes. Add the posole with 1 cup of it's cooking liquid. Bring to a boil and add a little salt if needed. Add the beans and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Add the chicken and stir to warm through. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut the remaining onion quarter into small dice, ladle the soup into deep bowls and top with onion, lime, avocado and cilantro.