The New Year Dish

The first of every year we try to cook something special, something traditional, and something that takes all day. This year it was Pozole (Poe–soul–ee). We learned to make it in New Mexico. It’s derived from an ancient native American dish. Pozole is the Mexican-Spanish word for what in the south we call hominy. This is essentially corn kernels, with the outer skin boiled off in an alkaline solution. It looks a little like garbanzos. The rest of the dish is pork and chili. The pork is cut up into small bite-size cubes and boiled after browning in oil and then the pozole is added to the pot with some water to cover. The final addition is the chili. Now, I have a mixed family. By that I mean we have devoted chili heads, who as Bill says, have cauterized their taste buds. Then, we have civilians who have zero tolerance for spiciness. Unfortunately I was put in command of adding the chili. I strove for that rich red color in the sauce, with the aroma you smell when you drive by your favorite Mexican restaurant. It was inedibly hot! I mean, Sallie thought it was great, but we couldn’t serve it to the family. So I made a second pot. For this batch I used store-bought chili powder, guaranteed mild (why bother-right?) and I toned it down. The comment I heard was, “good, but spicy Grandpa! “

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