CHICKEN POSOLE (MEXICAN STEW)
[poh-soh-ley, po-; Spanish paw-saw-le]
For everyone who thinks that “food storage” means sacrificing all the fresh ingredients, think again! This beautifully fresh Mexican chicken stew is like a soup and salad together in one vibrant bowl. Lovely colors, creamy plus crispy textures, super healthful and packed with vegetables, and flat out fun to eat, this is not your typical taco soup.
Chicken stock, pickled cabbage, canned hominy, and pumpkin seeds are the storage ingredients.
Here’s what my three-month supply looks like for this recipe! (I store both the white and red varieties of the pickled cabbage, or sauerkraut, because I like to have options. Red is our favorite.)
Ready? First step is to rough chop onions, celery, and carrots and toss them into a crock pot. No need to peel those carrots. Love that.
Next, rinse and spice a whole chicken and place it right on top of the chopped veggies.
Load on piles of quartered tomatillos and peeled garlic cloves.
Cover with the lid, turn heat to high, and cook for 5 hours. See how easy that was? Wack, smack, fill it up Jack!
After 5 hours it’s going to look something like this. And yes, you can cook the chicken and vegetables on low if you have or need more time. Probably 7-8 hours on low heat would be sufficient to fully cook the chicken and stew the vegetables.
Then transfer the whole chicken to another dish for deboning. This shot of the cooked chicken still intact basically never happens. After simmering for 5 hours, surrounded in stewing vegetables, this chicken takes “fall-of-the-bone-tender” to a whole. new. level. Key is to be fast. Real fast.
Remove all the meat and loosely shred. Leaving the chicken in pieces that are…substantial, gives a heartier quality to the soup, more stew like.
And remember how I didn’t add any additional water or broth to the crock pot? H-ya. Surprising how much broth is created in the cooking process. Liquid gold.
It only takes minutes to puree the cooking broth and veggies into a smooth as silk soup base. I love my stick blender. If you don’t happen to have one a regular blender will work fine for this step. Just remember to blend your slightly cooled broth and veggies in very small batches so that you don’t spend the next hour, or two, wiping down your kitchen cupboards. I just know.
Add the cans of drained hominy and thin with the chicken stock. You could also substitute with 2 cups of water and 3 chicken bouillon cubes if that’s what you have in your storage.
Last of all, I add the chicken back into the crock pot so that it will get nice and hot while I prepare all the yummy toppings.
After ladling the soup into individual bowls, top with fresh diced tomato, avocado, thin sliced radishes, cilantro leaves, a bit of sour cream, roasted pumpkin seeds, and one wild scoop of pickled cabbage. I know that seems crazy-odd, and fresh shredded cabbage is another great option, but the tang from the canned/pickled stuff is pretty amazing. Ever heard of adding a shot of balsamic vinegar to a really nice soup? This is the same deal and it totally works.
2 onions, rough chopped
1/2 bunch celery, rough chopped
4 large carrots, rough chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
12 tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
1 whole chicken
salt and pepper
2-3 bay leaves
2 cans white hominy, drained
1 17 oz. chicken stock or broth
roasted pumpkin seeds
1 jar red pickled cabbage (12 oz.)
Rough chop the onion, celery, and carrots, and place in a large crock pot. Rinse whole chicken and place on top of veggies. Season with salt and pepper and bay leaves. Peel, rinse, and quarter tomatillos. Distribute over the chicken and add peeled cloves of garlic. Cover crock pot with the lid and cook on high for 5 hours. Remove cooked chicken from stew and debone. Puree cooking liquid and stewed vegetables until smooth. Drain and add hominy. Add chicken stock. Add chicken pieces and heat soup while preparing toppings. Serve hot with garnishes added as desired to individual bowls. Enjoy!