This is my vegetable-based version of the traditional Mexican pozole — which I crave in every season! I roast fresh peppers with tomatillos and tomatoes, instead of using the traditional dried peppers for the spicy base, and I use hearty seasonal vegetables instead of pork. Using an organic chicken stock gives the stew a “meaty” feel and flavor when the weather is cold. I use a vegetable stock in the summer for a lighter version.
Hominy and Tri-Bean Stew
1 poblano chili pepper (you can use your favorite peppers instead of poblano and serrano)
2 serrano peppers
1 medium tomato
10 heirloom cherry tomatoes (varying sizes are fine)
2 zucchini (use your favorite vegetables according to the season)
1 bunch red chard
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock (I always make sure the stock is organic and gluten-free)
1 can hominy
1 can tri-beans (mixture of pinto, black and kidney beans)
1 can Garbanzo beans
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, cilantro
For the spicy pepper base:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the husks from the tomatillos and rinse along with the tomatoes and peppers.
Cut large tomatillos into halves or quarters for uniform size and cooking time.
Cut the large tomato in quarters and remove the pulp and seeds, leaving the flesh.
Cut the poblano and serrano peppers in half lengthwise and remove some (or all) of the seeds, setting aside half of a serrano pepper for use in the soup base.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to an oblong baking dish, add the peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos. Season with two tablespoons of sea salt, one tablespoon of cumin and bake uncovered for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove from oven and toss vegetables, coating them with the oil and seasoning, roast another 10 minutes and toss again. Cover with foil and roast another 40 minutes, checking after 20 minutes for doneness and to ensure the liquid is sufficient to finish the roasting process (add additional olive oil if needed).
The tomatoes and tomatillos should break down almost completely and the peppers should be soft and pliable. Allow them to cool.
Hold back half of the peppers and add everything else in a blender or food processor and liquefy. Add more peppers to the blender to reach your level of comfort with heat. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Set aside the spicy pepper base.
For the stew:
Rinse the chard and zucchini. Dice the halved serrano pepper, zucchini and the chard stems into uniform sized pieces, and set aside.
Chop the chard leaves roughly and set aside.
Open and drain the hominy, tri-beans, and garbanzo beans — don’t rinse; the residual liquid will act as a thickening agent in the stew. Set aside.
In a large Dutch oven (a heavy cooking pot with a 5-8 quart capacity, with a lid) heat two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, add the serrano pepper, zucchini and chard stems along with two tablespoons sea salt, one tablespoon of cayenne (or less if you prefer less heat), and one teaspoon of black pepper. Stir and cook uncovered until caramelized and tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the chard leaves and stir until reduced by half, then add the hominy, tri-beans and garbanzo beans. Stir and cook for an additional five minutes, allowing the flavors time to incorporate. Add 1/4 cup of water if the mixture is too dry. Taste for salt and adjust if needed.
Add one quart of the chicken or vegetable stock, stir, cover and bring to a boil. Add half of the spicy pepper base mixture, cover and bring to a boil.
Taste for heat and add more of the spicy pepper base to increase richness and spice, or add more stock if the spice level is too high.
Allow the stew to simmer for about 10 minutes and check for balance, adjusting as needed. Serve hot with your choice of garnishes.
Bringing it all together
Traditional pozole is garnished with shredded cabbage or lettuce, diced onion, slices of radish, oregano, limes and finely chopped dried chilies or chile powder. I like to garnish with Cotija cheese, tortilla strips, limes, radishes, cilantro, sour cream and avocado. I also like to have some of the spicy pepper base on hand to add to my bowl of stew, because I like more heat than my son and husband.
Last tip: Please wear gloves when handling hot peppers and their seeds, as their heat is transferred to your skin through the oils and can burn. Wash your knives and cutting surfaces to prevent the oils from transferring to other foods.
Tina Galhaut has been cooking, baking and living gluten-free these past four years, testing many recipes on her teenage son, Logan, until they are as good or better than the original. As wife, mother and co-owner of Z Bistro in North Carson, Tina and her chef husband Gilles offer many gluten-free selections on their menu. Contact Tina by email at email@example.com.