Cold temperatures call for warming foods that take off the chill. Almost every cuisine has a hot soup that is a comfort food in every sense of the word. Whether it’s minestrone in Italy, miso soup in Japan or mulligatawny soup in India, a steaming bowl of soup can keep winter’s worst at bay.

One of Mexico’s traditional soups, posole, has made its way northward and is available in local Mexican restaurants, especially those featuring the food of Guerrero, a state on the Pacific coast of Mexico.

The term posole refers both to the soup and to its characteristic ingredient, de-hulled, dried corn kernels that have been rehydrated and

cooked until tender.

Dried posole corn, also called nixtamal, can be difficult to find in Texas and many cooks substitute canned hominy. Although hominy is slightly softer and chewier than dried posole corn, the long slow cooking that is necessary for making posole produces almost identical results with either type of corn.

Posole is a hearty soup, full of meat, corn and fragrant vegetables. Even picky eaters who think they don’t like hominy may be pleasantly surprised by how well it absorbs the soup’s flavors and how much the texture of the hominy adds to the soup.

While corn is a necessary ingredient in posole, the rest of the components are variable. The meat can be pork, chicken, turkey or a combination of meat.

Even more than the type of meat, posole variations are categorized by color. Red posole simmers in a chile-based broth, and green posole gets its hue from green chilies or tomatillos.

There’s even a white posole, a mild chicken-broth soup that’s not very different from American chicken noodle soup.

In New Mexico, posole is especially popular around the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Unlike New Mexico’s own chile stew, which seems to have a fan base evenly divided between the red and green varieties, most of the posole there is red, but the state’s Hatch chilies make an excellent green posole.

Both red and green posole end up being even more colorful than their names indicate, because posole is always served with an assortment of fresh vegetables to stir into each serving.

Sliced radishes, thin shreds of green cabbage, chopped onions and cilantro are the most common additions, but almost any vegetable can be added.

The accompanying vegetables, served in individual bowls or on a plate, should be sliced thin enough to wilt a bit when mixed into the hot soup, but not so small that they disappear. Lemon or lime wedges also are good accompaniments.

Like most soups, posole is even better a day or two after it’s made, when the flavors have completely melded. The cabbage, radishes and other vegetables should still be added at serving time, however.

Green Posole

  • 3 1⁄2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves OR 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1⁄2 pound tomatillos, husked and halved
  • 1 small onion, quartered
  • 1 poblano chile cored, seeded and quartered
  • 1-2 jalapeños, seeded and quartered
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves OR 2 teaspoons dried oregano or dried Mexican oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 15-ounce cans hominy, drained


  • Iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
  • Radishes, sliced
  • Onion, chopped
  • Avocado, diced
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
  • Lime wedges

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts or thighs, cover and simmer over very low heat until they’re tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and shred when cooled.

In a blender, combine the halved tomatillos with the quartered onion, poblanos and jalapeños, smashed garlic, chopped cilantro and oregano. Add 1⁄2 to 1 cup of the cooking liquid and purée until smooth. Season the tomatillo purée with salt and pepper.

In a large, deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the tomatillo purée and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce turns a deep green, about 12 minutes.

NOTE: The recipe can be prepared through this point and refrigerated and covered overnight.

Pour the green sauce into the cooking liquid in the casserole. Add the hominy and bring to a simmer over moderate heat.

Add the chicken, season, salt and pepper and cook just until heated through. Serve the posole in deep bowls, passing the lettuce, radishes, onion, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and lime wedges at the table.

(SOURCE: Recipe courtesy

Sprouts Farmers Market)

Red Chicken Posole


  • 1 whole chicken, quartered and skinned if desired
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • enough water to cover chicken, about 10 cups

Chile and posole base

  • 3 guajillo chilies
  • 3 pasilla chilies
  • 3 ancho chilies
  • 2 arbol chilies, optional
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 medium can of Mexican hominy or maiz pozolero blanco, drained


  • White cabbage, shredded
  • Radishes, sliced
  • Lime or lemon wedges
  • Onion, chopped
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado, diced
  • Crema or Mexican sour cream
  • Salsa or hot sauce
  • Tostadas


Boil the chicken, onion and water until the meat is soft and falling apart.

Drain the chicken, reserving the meat and broth in separate containers. You should have 8 cups of broth to use.

Set aside while you prepare the posole sauce base.

Chile and posole base

In a hot skillet, toast the chilies, being careful not to burn them. Add the garlic and onion and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. Let cool.

Once cooled, place the chilies, garlic, onion and 1 teaspoon of salt into a blender. You will need to add a tablespoon or two of water to help blend into smooth sauce.

Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and discard seeds and any remaining chunks.

In a large pot, heat the oil. Once the oil is warm, add the chile sauce and cook for a few minutes. Add the drained hominy, bay leaf, oregano and salt. Add the strained chicken broth. Allow to simmer, covered, for an hour over medium low heat and covered.

While the soup is simmering, remove the meat from the boiled chicken, discarding the bones and skins.

Shred the chicken meat then add it to the simmering posole. Continue simmering until ready to serve.

Serve topped with the suggested toppings.

(SOURCE: Recipe courtesy Bueno Foods)

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