When you shoot lots of game birds, you get to eat lots of game birds. This is a twist on a New Mexican staple, Posole, a hearty and comforting soup which is a personal favorite. I am guessing it will become a favorite of yours as well.
SERVINGS: 4 - 8
- 4 cups canned whole hominy (from three 15-ounce cans); may use 1 1/2 cups dried hominy, soaked in water overnight
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (or use fat renderings from 3 or 4 strips of bacon which you use to make bacon bits)
- 1 1/4 pounds quail (pheasant or chicken)
- 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)
- 1 Chipotle medium/fine chop (1-4 spoons of adobo sauce to taste)
- 1 cup Hatch (New Mexico green) chili peppers, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
- 4 cups homemade or no-salt-added chicken broth
- Kosher salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Garnish with some shredded cheddar blend, Monterrey Jack, crumbled Queso Fresco, a few chopped green onions and some freshly made bacon bits and maybe some pork carnitas if you happen so have some...
If using canned hominy, pour it into a colander, rinse it with water and allow it to drain. If using dried hominy, place it in a 6-quart pot and cover with water by 3 inches. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 2 hours, adjusting the heat to keep the water barely bubbling around the edges and adding water as needed. The hominy is done when the kernels have softened and begun to burst.
Heat the peppercorns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently and watching carefully to prevent burning. When the mixture is fragrant and lightly browned, after 1 to 2 minutes, transfer it to a spice grinder and grind into a coarse powder. If you must, use pre-ground spices and toast with care.
Make some homemade bacon bits using 3 or 4 strips of bacon chopped and carefully rendered. Reserve a few tablespoons of the fat, or heat the oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the quail pieces in batches and cook on all sides until browned, transferring the finished pieces to a plate or bowl as you go.
When all of the quail has browned, add the onion, garlic and chilies to the stock pot. Cook until the vegetables are softened and begin to brown slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the ground spices and the chicken pieces (along with any accumulated juices); cook for 1 minute, to heat through and to make the spices fragrant.
Add the cooked posole and broth. Bring the broth to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the liquid is barely bubbling around the edges. If using canned hominy, cook for 10 to 15 minutes; if using dried hominy, cook for about 1 hour. The soup is done when the hominy is completely cooked through. Taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed. Garnish with shredded cheese.
Serve with warmed, lightly toasted, fresh tortillas on the side.
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