I thought that once I got Diana Kennedy’s book for my birthday it would encourage a small Mexican revolution in my cooking. Sadly it hasn’t due to the just how meat-based the cooking is. It’s not that you can;t substitute; Theresa and I spend large parts of our time working out how to recreate classic dishes in a meat free way. But the Mexican way of cooking is pretty simple, relying on the flavour of the meat, combined with pretty basic seasonings to impart the flavour. It’s the other way around with our usual go-to’s; tofu and tempeh do not lend flavour, rather you flavour them by adding them to a sauce or marinade. So I’ve been a little stuck. Nevertheless, there are recipes, and a bit of playing around and ingenuity does make veganizing-possible, pretty good in fact.
This recipe relies on a good stock, tomatillos and pumpkin seeds to give flavour to the rather bland hominy. Not easy to find, it also takes ages to cook. However, the texture is really unusual and somehow very comforting in the mouth. It’s closest comparison would be like a soggy, chewy popcorn, but only a nice version of that. It also takes on flavour brilliantly as it has little of it’s own, so it’s the perfect vehicle for bulking out soups and stews. Basically it’s a lime-cured and dried corn. You can find it here if you’re based in the UK. If you’re in the US, you’re more likely to see it around, if you’re elsewhere, other than Mexico, maybe just look at the soup as curiosity..
1 cup hominy
2 tbs olive oil
1 stick celery
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (toasted, then ground)
1 cup stock (or water)
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
juice of 1 lime
1 large handful of fresh coriander (roughly chopped)
sour cream/cashew cream
1. Bring the hominy and 6 cups of water to the boil the night before you plan to cook it. When it boils, turn off, cover and leave overnight.
2. The next day, drain the hominy and refresh the water. If using a pressure cooker, add 3 cups of water and cook for 30 minutes. Let the pressure drop, open and check if soft. You may need to cook for up to 1 hour. If you plan to cook the hominy in a regular pan, add 6 cups of water and partially cover. Simmer for 2 1/2-3 hrs, checking for softness after 2.
3. When the hominy has finally softened, set aside, reserving 2 cups of the cooking broth.
4. Blend the tomatillos to a puree.
5.Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the celery until it softens. Add the tomatillo puree, ground pumpkin seeds, cumin and stock, hominy and a cup of the hominy-broth. Simmer for 30 minutes, partially covered. Check for consistency and adjust with the remaining cooking-broth if desired.
Note: With this step, if you have time and inclination, use a slow cooker to cook the pozole. It lends a deeper ricer flavour.
6. Add the lime-juice and fresh coriander, serve hot and pass the garnishes.