Monday, November 29, 2010

Mexican Hominy Lime Soup, Olé

(I didn’t get many pictures of the cooking process, but I couldn’t deny readers this recipe because it is SO YUMMY.) 

Exactly one year ago from yesterday, I was in Cozumel, Mexico cheering on my BFF Travis in his first Ironman triathlon (congrats to all of the 2010 finishers!). Spectating at an Ironman is no small feat. It involves anywhere from 10-17 hours (in this case, 12) of running around in the heat trying to catch a 5 second glimpse of your racer. But believe me, your racer needs those 5 seconds, so you just do it. As spectating locations go, however, I certainly can’t complain about Cozumel. I was lucky enough to get a tropical vacation out of the deal (other popular Ironman locales include Kentucky and Idaho). 

As part of this vacation, we rented a condo with our parents and hired a local cook to come in and prepare our meals. Sounds so lavish, right?! It was actually much cheaper than eating out every night and so much more delicious than making our own food. Our cook, Sylvia, was amazing (e-mail me if you're ever in the Yucatán neighborhood and looking for a cook). My dad ate so much, I thought we might have to get his stomach pumped - which would not have been my first time in a Mexican hospital (story for another day). 

One of my family's favorite dishes was a super-spicy chicken soup. Unfortunately, between our zero knowledge of Spanish and Sylvia’s minimal English, we never really found out what else was in the soup. I recently came across a Martha Stewart recipe for Green-Chile Pozole, which kind of resembled Sylvia's homemade spicy soup and as I was home visiting my parents, I thought I would treat them to a little reminder of Mexico. And since it was two days after Thanksgiving, it was the perfect opportunity to use our leftover turkey bits.

"Pozole" or "posole" describes a traditional kind of Mexican soup made with corn and meat. The Martha Stewart recipe called for a number of ingredients that were not readily accessible, so I concocted a simplified version that used the same key ingredient: hominy. Hominy is dried kernels of corn that have been boiled in water and soaked in lime until they swell, so that the hulls and germs can be removed. You might find ground hominy, especially in the south, but for this pozole, you want whole hominy or "big" hominy (the soaked kernels resemble chickpeas in size and texture). If your grocery store has an international aisle, check there first. Otherwise, look near the canned beans and veggies.

My pozole ended up tasting different from Sylvia's beloved soup, but I daresay . . . it was equally good. It lacked the extreme spiciness (because I didn't use habaneros, only jalapeños), but the flavor was incredible. When I took the lid off the pot after a couple hours on the stove, it had that smell that you can only find in a really good Mexican restaurant (sweet and spicy and limaliscious). If you like real Mexican food, you have GOT to make this dish. Garnish with diced jalapenos, fresh avocado, feta or cotija cheese, and extra lime slices for squeezing.

If you want to do a vegetarian version, just swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock, skip the meat, and use 2 onions and 2 cans of hominy.

Mexican Hominy Lime Soup

Serves 5-6 as a main course

olive oil
1 medium white or Spanish onion
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
64 oz. (2 qts.) chicken stock
1 15 oz. can of hominy, drained but not rinsed
1 tbs. oregano (use Mexican oregano if you happen to have it)
juice from 3 limes
1 bunch of cilantro
1 small can of diced green chilies
a few shakes of salt
12-16 oz. cooked, shredded chicken or turkey

Suggested garnishes
extra diced jalapeños
sliced avocado
crumbled feta cheese or cotija cheese
extra lime wedges for squeezing
tortilla chips

Prepare cilantro by rinsing the leaves thoroughly and chopping off the top 3 to 4 inches of the bunch (discard the bottom or save for other use). Roughly chop the leaves and stems and set aside (should be around a cup of chopped cilantro). 

Heat 3-4 tbs. of olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Slice onion and add to pot. Cook onions for 5-6 minutes, adding oil as needed to keep the onions from burning. Add jalapeños and garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Add chicken stock, hominy, oregano, lime juice, cilantro, chilies, salt and meat. Reduce heat to low. Cook for at least one hour on low heat, stirring occasionally. Most delicious if cooked for 3-4 hours.


  1. limaliscious??? i love it! we should forward this to miriam.

  2. yum! can't believe i missed out on this soup TWICE!

  3. Hi Katie, I stumbled upon sharedbites and was inspired to make this soup. YUMO!! I loved it! Keep the recipes coming, along with the crafty tips and illustrations :)


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