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Hominy Heaven

Posted Mar 20 2013 10:10am

Coffee-Spiked Mexican Pozole

If you happened to catch me on the local Fox morning show this week, you probably saw me cooking with coffee in the station’s studio kitchen. One of the recipes I made was coffee-spiked pozole. Yep, I said coffee. It goes beyond the cup! I created this recipe because I wanted to infuse this traditional Mexican stew with a hint of mole. Since mole usually features coffee as one of its main (and most influential) ingredients, I just stirred some brewed coffee into the pozole to create a subtle backdrop of flavor. It’s a great way to expand your coffee-drinking into soup-slurping!

One of the many beauties about pozole is that — just like with American chili — you can taste and tweak as you go. That means you can add more coffee if you’d like that flavor to pop out more. Keep in mind that dark-roast coffee is more flavorful than light-roast coffee, so if you’re using dark-roast coffee, start with my suggested amount of 1/2 cup of brewed coffee per batch of pozole and taste the stew before adding any more. (Interesting side note: although dark-roast coffee is more flavorful, light-roast coffee actually has more caffeine. That’s because caffeine dissipates with heat; longer- and hotter-roasted beans contain less caffeine at the end of the process.)

Of course, you can also play with the amount of veggies and toppings you add. Really like beans? Perhaps you’d like to add more than one kind. Don’t like beans so much? Skip them and add chopped bell peppers or zucchini instead. It’s entirely up to you. The one ingredient that’s a must-have, though, is the hominy. Seeing as pozole means hominy in Spanish, you can’t have pozole without the hominy! I prefer yellow hominy over white hominy, but either one works. Look for it in the canned-veggie aisle or the Mexican section of your local supermarket.

Coffee-Spiked Mexican Pozole

Makes enough for 4 hearty servings, especially if you include all of the toppings.

1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cups chicken broth, preferably made from free-range chickens
1/2 cup brewed coffee
28 oz. can of tomatoes
15 oz. can of black beans (my favorite brand of beans is Eden since they use BPA-free cans)
1 T. chili powder
1 sweet potato, peeled, flesh cut into 1? cubes
15 oz. can of hominy (I prefer yellow, but white works, too)

Optional toppings

Plain whole-milk Greek yogurt (my favorite brand is Fage)
Chopped cilantro
Lime wedges
Thinly sliced cabbage
Chopped avocado

Drizzle a splash of extra-virgin olive oil into a large soup pot. Add onions and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the onions are soft but not yet brown. Add garlic, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for another 2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant and soft. Pour in chicken broth, coffee, the tomatoes, and the beans. (Seeing as Eden beans are canned in BPA-free cans with sea salt and a pinch of digestion-enhancing seaweed, I add the contents of the entire can.) Stir in the chili powder and bring to a boil.

Add the sweet potato, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and let the squash cook for 10 minutes. Poke a piece to see if it has reached its desired tenderness. (I like mine a bit chewy.) If you’d like to add more chili powder or a dash of sea salt, now’s a good time to do that, too.

Stir in hominy, simmer for another minute to heat everything through, and serve. Garnish with any or all of the optional toppings. Leftover pozole can be refrigerated for up to 5 days — like all tomato-based soups and sauces, the flavor deepens upon standing. In fact, you may like it even better the next day. Pozole is also an excellent candidate for freezing and then having for dinner whenever you’d like.

Enjoy!

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