A bowl of New Mexico Posole Soup, served in the best Italian restaurants.
There was an Italian cafe in Albuquerque, an all-you-could-eat buffet, that had pretty good Italian food, but that wasn't the reason I went so often. It was the posole soup, a spicy vegetarian version, that overshadowed the neighboring pizzas.
After a few visits, I managed to identify most of the ingredients, and recreated it at home. Using canned hominy, it's a cinch to make; dry posole, on the other hand, requires planning ahead. Plus my local Waitrose doesn't sell posole.
Do make fresh homemade flour tortillas to serve with it, though. The dough takes minutes to make in a food processor, and a few more minutes to roll out with a cold beer bottle. A Corona works beautifully, but here I used Old Speckled Hen.
Of course you can also serve Posole Soup with spaghetti. It wouldn't be unheard of.
For tortillas, flatten dough balls with a cold beer bottle. Don't use wine, as that would give them airs.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 zucchini, chopped into 1/2 inch dice
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups vegetable broth (plus more if necessary)
2 15 oz. cans hominy, drained
1 15 oz. can chopped tomatoes
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon oregano
1 to 4 minced chiles (see note)
salt and black pepper, to taste
Grill zucchini and onion in vegetable oil until soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic during the last minute of cooking. Meanwhile, heat broth in a large pot and add hominy (posole), pinto beans, and tomatoes (undrained). When the vegetables are soft, add to pot with hominy. Add oregano, chiles, salt and pepper and simmer for 20 minutes or longer, adding broth as needed for soup-like consistency.
NOTE: For the chiles, use any hot peppers you can find in your area—jalapenos, guajillo, serrano, etc. If using dried chiles (ancho, chipotle, etc.) soak in hot water first for 20 minutes, then chop. For best flavor when using fresh chiles, roast them over an open flame until charred, then remove skin and mince. (Avoid touching eyes!) Alternatively, place in a dry heavy skillet and cook over high heat until charred.
If you use dried posole, follow instructions on package (soak overnight) and proceed as above.
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2/3 cup very warm water
1 teaspoon salt
Combine flour, salt, oil and water and process a few seconds in food processor until dough gathers into a ball. Add more water or flour as needed (if it is dry more water, if too moist more flour). Divide dough in rough halves, then half again, then either half that or form three balls from each amount. (Between 8-12, depending on the size of tortilla you wish to make).
Flatten out the dough with a chilled beer bottle, approximately 6 inches. Cook over medium to medium high heat in a non-stick saute pan. Resist the urge to spray with cooking spray or oil the pan; the tortillas soak up the oil and turn ugly brown.