Grand Canyon POSOLE Recipe
by AzRA Guide Will Spaziani
At AzRA we spell Posole with an ‘s’. However, in some circles folks spell it with a ‘z’. We prefer to put our heart and ‘soul’ into every meal that gets prepared on our Grand Canyon river trips, so we spell it with an ‘s’. Pronouncing this word can be a difficult thing. Go ahead and say it out loud: ‘po-soul-aye’.
Posole: Southwestern Roots
By definition, Posole is a thick soup originating from Mexico and the U.S. Southwest, made with pork or chicken, hominy, garlic, corn, and green chile peppers. Posole is a classic AzRA meal that guests and guides have been enjoying for decades. In this month’s blog, I’ll give the reader a list of ingredients, a general flow to preparing the meal, and hopefully encourage many of you to try it at home!
Our ingredients are simple and reflect Posole’s Southwestern roots. For the soup’s base we use onions, fresh garlic, green chilis, hominy, corn, chicken broth, limes, and many spices. Longtime AzRA guide Chad Tucker suggests ‘everything red’ from our extensive river spice box. My advice to you at home would be to think ‘Southwest’ when selecting your spices. We prefer to make our Grand Canyon style Posole with chicken, instead of pork. Finally, we serve Posole with shredded jack cheese, sour cream, crispy tortilla strips, and a big beautiful chunk of cornbread.
List of Grand Canyon POSOLE Ingredients
Quantities and ratios are all up to you, but we’ve tried to add some suggestions:
Olive Oil-enough to coat the bottom of your pan to sauté
Fresh Garlic-2 heads
All the ‘red’ spices-1 tsp or so of each
Whole Green Chilis (soup)-1 small can or more if you like the added spice
Assorted Beans-1 can of 2 different types of beans
Hominy-1 can at least. 2 if you want to add some more
Chicken Broth-32 oz is a good start, may need more depending on how thick/thin you want it
Limes-for garnish, so as many as you’d like!
Chicken Breasts (or thighs)-2-3 would work great
Shredder Jack Cheese
Crispy Tortilla Strips
‘Green Chili’ Cornbread
Salt & Pepper
Chopping onions to a medium size chunk is a tedious job, and it’s step one in making the soup’s broth (Grandma says running your knife under hot water helps prevent tears). Next, add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Then saute in the onions and garlic, adding ‘everything red’ from your spice collection. Basic suggestions would be chili powder, cayenne, paprika, and crushed red pepper. Once your soup base saute has browned, deglaze your large pot by slowly adding chicken broth. The purpose of deglazing is to slowly pull all those flavors off the bottom of your pot. Finally, to finish your soup, add whole green chilis, hominy, assorted beans, corn, and lime juice.
Adding Some Meat
If you prefer your POSOLE vegetarian: Great! If not, you’ll likely want to add some meat (we use chicken). Sear your meat in a separate pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper over medium to high heat. After getting a nice brown on both sides of the meat, you’ll cut it into strips, and add it to your soup. It’s okay if the chicken is a little pink on the inside, it will finish cooking in the soup. Allow the complete soup to simmer for a little while before serving. As stated earlier, we like to serve our POSOLE with a big chunk of corn bread, shredded cheddar jack cheese, sour cream, and crispy tortilla strips. YUM!
Dutch Oven Cornbread
Our Green Chili Cornbread is really quite easy. We use a simple cornbread mix, then mix in chopped green chilis. You can bake cornbread in the oven, or for bonus points, use charcoal and a dutch oven. Please see AzRA’s January Food BLOG for plenty of tips and hints on Dutch Oven Baking with charcoal.
About the Author
AzRA guide Will Spaziani was raised in New Jersey. His family is in the restaurant business, specializing in Italian food. Will has cooked meals in river camps across the Western United States, and New Zealand. In the Grand Canyon, he enjoys shade, naps after lunch, short hikes to big waterfalls, and running fun lines through the rapids.