French lentil and hominy chili, from Giada de Laurentis, courtesy of Food Network.
Hominy and beans are a natural pairing–not only do they share a long culinary history, but processing both results in a product with a similar, soft texture that easily absorbs flavor in stews. This particular chili is not only vegetarian, but is also borrows traditional ingredients usually found with posole–cilantro, lime, avocado, cotja cheese, which makes for an interesting flavor combination. For us, we prefer to substitute a hard fall cider for the brown ale, which lightens the overall dish.
Note that you will need to soak your lentils for quite sometime (8-14 hours, or overnight if you prefer), which means you also have time to make your own hominy! Continue reading
Jose Garces lists this as one of his favorite recipes. This is what he has to say:
When my mom makes this dish in the springtime, she uses fresh garbanzo and fava beans as well as the English peas. If you spy either or both of these at your local farm[er’s] market or Latin grocery, snap them up and add them to the mix: shucking, blanching, and peeling them is a bit of a hassle, but they are fine things (cosas finas), for sure. English peas are often available in supermarkets year-rough; note that when peas are in season, the pea pods tend to produce more per pod and the peas themselves are often larger, so you may not need to buy the full two pounds called for to end up with cups of shelled peas. Also, the size of the peas themselves will be larger when they’re in season. Canned hominy is stocked in [some] supermarkets.
While samp is another name for hominy, it also denotes a regional take on the dish. If hominy is associated with the South, then samp is associated with New England. Surprisingly enough, both names originate from the Algonquin language. Just how “nixtamalization” is a Spanish interpretation of a Nahuatl word, “samp” and “hominy” are English interpretations of Algonquin words.
This recipe comes from Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey, originally published in the New York Times.
This is what James Beard had to say about this recipe:
I adore this combination of hominy, chilies, and sour cream, and serve it with barbecued or broiled meats.
You may or may not know this, but barbecuing was another Indian culinary tradition that was later adopted by American colonists and settlers. Perhaps, then, it’s no surprise these two dishes pair well! Continue reading
Before embarking on your own culinary hominy adventure, you first need to find dried hominy. Of course, you can always grow it yourself, but that requires months of planning which you may or may not have already done.
In case you haven’t grown your own, here are some of the places I’ve had the most success finding dried hominy (in order of personal preference): Continue reading
Hominy stew with bitter green and sausage.
This is a recipe my husband and I devised. The idea was to construct a flavor profile that tasted like the South–not the deep-fried South we’re all familiar with, but the deep woods South. The ingredients are similar to those native to the area–bitter greens, onions and garlic (similar to wild garlic and ramps), mushrooms, and of course, hominy. The first pot we made of this stew was huge, and fed us for about a week!
Four quarts of homemade lye made from hickory and water oak ash (separately).
A note of caution: lye is caustic, and though the first batch of woodash lye you make will not be as strong as commercial lye, it should still be respected and handled with extreme care. Properly label your materials, wear rubber gloves when handling, and always keep out of the reach of children and your pets! And if you get any one your skin, run that area under cold water until it no longer feels slippery (that slippery feeling is the lye corroding your skin!).
One of the most important ingredients for making traditional hominy is woodash lye. While both commercial lye and pickling lime can be used to remove the hulls and to nixtamalize your kernels, I think they have a subtle yet different flavor from woodash lye. I think maize that has been soaked then cooked in the latter tastes woody–that should come as no real surprise. Using either pickling lime or commercial, food grade lye creates a distinct alkaline taste, but lacks that subtle woody flavor. Continue reading
Posole (or pozole) is a traditional American Southwest and Mexican stew made with whole kernel hominy. After soaking dried maize kernels in an alkaline solution overnight, the kernels are rinsed and rubbed until the pericarp (hull) is removed. In order to simply rub away the hulls, you have to soak the kernels in a pretty strong alkaline solution–if it’s not strong enough, the hulls will not rub off, but if it’s too strong, you’ll lose the germ in the process as well–that’s where a great deal of the nutrition lies. This recipe, from Bon Appetit, calls for a can of white hominy. Juanita’s Mexican-style Hominy works well, and as always, you can also make your own! Continue reading