Sunday, October 29, 2006

Kung Fu Cooking Lesson

Cranky made posole today from some leftover braised pork and a bunch of little ingredients that needed to be eaten up.
It was nothing fancy; the chicken broth was store-bought and the hominy was canned.
He got all the ingredients out, but he still wanted me to tell him how to proceed.
"Should I use half this chicken broth or the whole carton?" he asked.
The question stopped me. I finally said, "Wisdom, little shaolin scholar. The soup will know how much it needs."
OK, that's not really what I said. I said, "Just pour it in the pot until it's the right amount." I mean, isn't that obviously the answer?
Then he opened and rinsed the hominy and proceded to dump it into the broth.
"Patience, my valorous apprentice. Weren't you going to cook your onions and peppers in the broth first?" I asked. "That hominy is already cooked."
He couldn't wait to get the pork in there, either, but I held him off. Sometimes a pot of soup is not just a bubbling cauldron.
"Timing, Grasshopper. The pork has been cut into small pieces and will begin to fall apart."
Finally it all started to come together, and the beauty of waiting to add ingredients to the pot became perfectly clear.
When the vegetables were barely tender, he added the pork and some cubed, cooked winter squash to heat up. Then he added some chopped tomato just to warm through, not to cook.
He dished the soup and laid sliced avocados and torn cilantro over the top, and with a final, deft blow of his partly empty fist, showered it with a nice squirt of crouching lime.
This simple dish was magnificent, and so much of its success was from the timing of ingredients, the contrast in temperatures, and the layering of flavors.
(The hominy was none the worse for the extra simmering.)
Good work, Cranky.


Stacie said...

for a minute there I almost forgot the country of orgin for the posole... is that an asian delicacy? Love love love the Kung Fu link!

Anita said...

I think Cranky and Cameron are related. :) (It's a little maddening when they do it all wrong and it still comes out wonderful, isn't it?)

kudzu said...

Well, would you please send himself right over? I could use a little posole tonight, after the sudden change in temps and early darkness and all of that. You are so lucky, lady!

Did you get to Point Reyes for the market?

Sam said...

less than 24 hours ago a friend was explaining to me how she made posole. (she actually used rancho gordo, not canned), but I had to confess my ignorance to her. I'd never heard of posole. Now if Cranky had thought to make this dish yesterday, then I would'nt have looked so stupid infront of my friends, would I? So please ask him if he would mind being more timely next time. *wink*

otherwise, looks like a very good job!

Kalyn said...

My sister-in-law is from New Mexico and she makes wonderful posole, but Cranky's version sounds just as good. Wish I could have some.

Dagny said...

Gotta love the posole. Now I might just have to take a stab at it.

cookiecrumb said...

Stacie: All the while I was writing this, I kept thinking of how carefully you have to do your mise en place for Pad Thai - an Asian delicacy - and add ingredients at just the right time.

Anita: I used to get all twitchy when I "let" Cranky cook. He's quite a natural, actually, but he's a little rushed.

Kudzu: You'd have loved how this posole dragged the last of summer into a pot of winter. Goin' to Point Reyes Saturday.

Sam: Bad Cranky! Truth is, our version is just made up. It's posole because I say it is.

Kalyn: See above. I'm sure there are more authentic versions.

Dagny: This is easy, and the hominy is so mouth-filling.

KathyF said...

Has there been some kind of reimergence of posole in the U.S. lately? Because I've gotten a ton of hits lately for my post on Posole Soup, all of a sudden. Did some famous chef mention it on TV?

cookiecrumb said...

KathyF: I don't know. It's just something we do around here to make a fast meal with ingredients in the house. We also do a similar thing but take it in a different direction and call it Minestrone. :D
(And both are SO adaptable to vegetarian tastes.)

sher said...

I love hominy. If I can get it freshly made--perfect. But, I mostly use the canned stuff and it makes me a happy camper indeed. Your soup sounds delicious!

cookiecrumb said...

Sher: I bought a bag of Peruvian dried hominy yesterday at my local Latino market. Haven't tried it yet. The label suggests eating it as a bar snack!! Yes!! (South American edamame.) What kind do you use, or more to the point, where do you get it?

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