Sunday, February 23, 2014

Easiest Posole (with Pinto Beans) & Lots of Toppings for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

This Easiest Posole recipe comes from "It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great" by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen. This is the second of Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbooks and is based on recipes created for an elimination diet she went on based on health issues (no coffee, alcohol, dairy, sugar, shellfish, gluten or soy, no processed foods and only organic meats and fish). Wanting to still enjoy her food, Paltrow and chef/food writer/producer Julia Turshen came up with recipes that although she doesn't stick to everyday, since completing the diet, she still uses when she wants to eat healthier or revitalize. Although it's not a vegetarian or vegan cookbook, vegetables are predominant and recipes are coded as suitable for an elimination diet, vegan, or protein-packed and there are also menu suggestions for different weeks like A Body Builder Week, A Detox Week, A Family-Friendly Week, A Vegan Week, and a week of Just Great, Healthy, Everyday Eating. Although not looking for celebrity health advice--nor on any kind of elimination diet or detox, I am always looking for different veg-friendly healthy recipes that still taste great and the book seems to be full of them. There are a couple of non-processed condiment recipes in the back (Sriracha, Hoisin Sauce), that I am looking forward to trying too.

There is usually one recipe in a new (to me) cookbook that catches my fancy right away when I look through it. In this book it was the posole--a Mexican-style soup/stew made with hominy and usually some kind of meat like pork or chicken, chili peppers and garnishes.  Easiest Posole is meat-free/vegan and of course being addicted to soup toppings, I knew I had to make it. I did make a few small changes (noted in red below)--mainly adding pinto beans for more substance and taking a turn from one my favorites--tortilla soup and adding corn tortilla strips crisped up in oil to the garnishes. The result is a warming, tangy and slightly spicy bowl of soupy comfort topped with lots of goodies.   

Gwyneth says, "Julia came up with this recipe on an unseasonably cold day one summer when I craved something warm and comforting that still had light, ever-so-spicy flavors. The various fresh vegetable garnishes allow everyone to customize their posole however they choose."

Easiest Posole (with Beans) 
Adapted From "It's All Good" by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen
(Serves 4)

For the Posole:
6 tomatilloes, papery layers and stems discarded, roughly chopped
1 large red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 jalapenos, roughly chopped (seeds removed if you don't want it too spicy)
extra virgin olive oil
coarse sea salt
4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock (I used vegan mock-chicken broth)
3 large springs of cilantro (I coarsely chopped mine)
1 (28-oz) can hominy, drained and rinsed
(I added 1 (15-oz) can pinto beans)

For the garnish:
1 ripe avocado, diced
small handful of cilantro leaves, chopped
3 radishes thinly sliced (omitted)
1 lime, cut into wedges
(I added 1 jalapeno, roasted and diced) 
(I added 3 white corn tortillas, sliced thinly into strips and crisped in oil)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 

On a sheet pan or in a large baking dish toss the tomatillos, onions, and jalapeños with the olive oil to coast, and add a large pinch of salt. Roast for approximately 20 minutes, stirring a few times, until they’re soft and a little browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool. (I did mine on a grill pan, about 15 minutes total, turning until soft with grill marks on all sides)

Transfer vegetables to a powerful blender along with 1 cup of the stock and puree until completely smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large pot along with the rest of the stock, (pinto beans), cilantro, and hominy. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until flavors have blended. Season the soup to taste with sea salt if needed.

Serve posole with bowls of garnishes of choice and allow everyone to 'dress' their own posole.

Notes/Results: A really good bowl of soup. The broth, thickened by pureeing the grilled veggies is slightly tart and has great flavor. The slightly chewy hominy and beans add good texture, as do all of the garnishes (especially those tortilla strips!). I am sorry I didn't get the radishes as their slightly bitter crunch would have been nice. I stopped at the store last night after spending the day at a chocolate festival and then drinks/pupus with friends and my cell phone (with the ingredient list on it), had completely died. I think I actually did pretty well relying on my memory to get all of the other ingredients needed while coming down from a sugar and mojito-fueled 'high.' The other problem with ingredient shopping on a Saturday night is that all the really good avocados--the ones that are not too hard or not too ripe--have gone on to other people's tacos and guacamole bowls. This wasn't a great avocado but it did the job. This soup goes together quickly and easily and it's easy to chop all of the toppings while it simmers so you can get it on the table in about 30 minutes. Very tasty and satisfying, I would make this soup again.

A couple of good friends are waiting in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's see what they brought with them. 

Janet of The Taste Space shares this flavorful Black Bean Soup with Roasted Red Peppers, Lime and Cilantro and says, "This is an absolutely delicious soup. However, there is an asterisk. It tastes good because you coax all the goodness out of each ingredient individually. Translation: it is a bit labour-intensive but so worth it. Caramelize your onions and carrots. Roast your red bell pepper. Make your own Ancho chile puree. Freshly toast your cumin seeds. If you have the time, prepare your beans from scratch. Squirt on some lime juice and scatter cilantro throughout. Yeah. Take the time to tend to this soup and you will not be disappointed. In fact, I recommend you double the recipe so that you can freeze your bounty."

Pam of Sidewalk Shoes brings a tasty grain salad this week and says, "Look closely at the above photo.  There is something there that you rarely ever see in one of my food photos. What? Raw onions! I hate raw onions and have been known to spend an inordinate amount of time picking them out of dishes served at restaurants. ... But when I was looking for a side dish salad that included green beans, I was intrigued with Green Bean and Israeli Couscous Salad with Pickled Red Onions from Fine Cooking. I was intrigued because I adore pickles, remember The Summer of Pickles from 2009?  The recipe called for a quick pickle with a heated brine.  Would that be enough to turn them from hated to loved?  I’m happy to say that YES it would!!  They were wonderful.  Slightly tart, slightly sweet.  I loved them!"

Thanks to Pam and Janet for joining me this week. If you have a soup, salad or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the side bar for all of the details. 

Have a happy, healthy week!


  1. I adore hominy so I've yet to meet a posole that I didn't love! This sounds great!

  2. looks wonderful and really like the garnish

  3. Pam Armstrong GreerMarch 1, 2014 at 4:01 PM

    I love posole!

  4. Me too--it's great comfort food! ;-)

  5. Thanks Rebecca! ;-)

  6. Yes, hominy and posole are the best. ;-)


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