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Vegetarian Posole

December 30, 2009

One of the gifts I got for Christmas was some Rancho Gordo beans,  and if you love beans and love to cook like I do, it’s

vegetarian posole

one of the first gifts you’ll use.  I poked around on the Rancho Gordo site to find some recipes to use Rosa de Castilla beans and stumbled upon a recipe for vegetarian posole, which is a Mexican soup typically with pork and hominy (a dried corn).   I had originally planned on tweaking the recipe a bit, but ended up using it pretty much as printed and was glad I did, because it was amazing.  A lot of that is due to the special beans, which impart a really rich flavor you can’t always get with typical store bought beans.  The garnishes were another big factor in the flavor- I added fresh lime, radishes, cilantro, avocado and queso fresco to the top, which was a great foil for the rich soup.  Don’t skimp on the garnishes.  It’s really the total package.  This would be a great New Year’s Day meal because it’s simple, inexpensive food, much like Hoppin’ John.   You could substitute dried pintos for the Rosa de Castillas, or canned for a really quick recipe.  This recipe is slightly adapted from Native Seeds/SEARCH and serves 4.

Ingredients:

1 c dried Rosa de Castilla beans, dried pintos or 1 14 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 15 oz can white or yellow hominy, drained and rinsed

1 T vegetable oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 1/2 t chili powder (not the supermarket variety.  Use a pure chili powder such as ancho)

3/4 t oregano, preferably Mexican

1 1/2 t whole cumin seeds (or you could use 3/4 t ground)

1 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes

3 small zucchini, sliced 1/4″ thick, or 2 medium, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4″ thick

4 oz fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 1 1/2″ lengths

1 vegetable bullion cube (you can also use stock, but be careful that the soup doesn’t get too watery)

2 T cilantro

Garnishes:

2 large radishes, cut into matchsticks

1 ripe avocado, diced

Fresh cilantro leaves

Lime wedges

1 c crumbled queso fresco (or cotija or monterey jack)

Warm corn tortillas

Directions:

For dry beans: soak beans overnight in cool water, or quick soak by covering beans with 1″ water, bringing to a boil and let sit off heat for 1 hour.  Drain and rinse beans and cover with 1″ fresh water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer on low for 20-30 minutes (or up to an hour, depending on the freshness of your beans).  Add 1/2 t salt halfway through cooking.

While beans are cooking, heat vegetable oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add onion, garlic, chili powder, oregano and cumin seeds and cook for 7 minutes, until onion is softened by not browned, lowering heat if necessary.  Add tomatoes and zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.  Add cooked beans and their liquid, hominy,  green beans and buillion and bring to a boil.  Add more liquid if necessary and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.  Stir in cilantro and season with salt, if necessary.  Ladle soup into bowls and serve with garnishes.

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