Introduction: Hot Soup, Cold Beer
This great soup derives from sizzling Latino kitchens but goes well with cold beer from any region.
3 steps in the kitchen take about 2.5 hours total, of which 30-35 minutes is your work to:
put together the soup base
prep and add soup ingredients
prep the garnish
Some assembly required at the table.
This soup (minus the garnish) freezes really, really well. That is, it almost tastes better after a couple of weeks in the freezer. You prepare the garnish fresh with each serving.
Step 1: Assemble and Prep the Ingredients
These quantities yield about 6-8 servings. As you get familiar with this dish, you can really make it your own by customizing the chili paste and the garnishes, well, just about any element.
Pork or chicken, 3-4 lbs: slice into thick strips
Broth and/or water: enough on hand to cover the meat in the pot
Oregano, 2-3 tablespoons
Head of garlic: cloves are peeled and sliced
Dried ancho peppers,** 2 ozs
Hominy, 2 cans (14-16 ozs)
Salt & pepper to taste
Corn tortillas: sliced into strips and sauteed to crispy texture (step 3)
Limes, sliced into wedges
**About the chili paste (or, how hot is hot).
The first time you follow this recipe, use the ancho peppers. You get a great flavor and a deep, dark red color. But there's flexibility, and you can use different peppers and different pepper combos.
Step 2: The Soup Base
Gonna simmer the meat in water (or broth) to cover for about 1.5 hours until you can shred it with 2 forks. The cooking liquid is going to become the soup base. Here's how:
Place meat in a non-reactive pot and cover with water (half water/half broth works, too). Turn on a medium heat. Bring it to and maintain a slow boil.
Foam is going to collect at the surface early on. Skim it off with a slotted spoon. You might do this twice.
After the skimming, add the oregano, garlic, ground pepper, and let it go until the meat is thoroughly tender.
You can work on next step, processing the chili paste. Come back to the meat when it's done.
Lift it out of the liquid, shred it as pictured, and return it to the soup pot.
Step 3: The Soup, Continued
When you add back the shredded meat to the soup base, you're also going to add chili paste and hominy. Gonna cook for about another 30 minutes. Here's more:
Soak your dried peppers in some of the hot liquid from the pot to cover until they soften up. It doesn't take long. Put them in a blender with one onion and the liquid. Blend to paste consistency.
Open cans, drain, and rinse the hominy. You do not need the liquid from the can.
Add the chili paste and the hominy with the shredded meat.
Soup is going to simmer another 30 minutes while you prep the garnishes.
Step 4: The Home Stretch: Garnish and Serve
While the soup is simmering the last 30 minutes, your job is to prepare the garnish.
Slice the tortillas into strips. Saute them in a little hot oil. Turn them once. You want to achieve crispy texture.
Dice and chop the garnish: radishes, avocados, onions, cilantro, lettuce. Slice up limes.
By the time the soup is ready, you'll be setting the table.
Assembly is easy: layer the soup bowl with a few tortilla strips. Ladle out the soup. Top with the garnishes and a squeeze of lime. Pour a cold beer. And have a great meal.
Step 5: Open Source Dining
oops, did I say layer the tortilla strips, add soup, top with garnish?
Some people gotta have the strips on top with the garnish.
Make it your own!