Wanted to try Anson Mills polenta, but they have a four-bag minimum per order. So, I ordered two bags of polenta, a bag of hominy, and a bag of farro — with no real plan for what to do with them. Sometimes I have a sudden whim, but then a new idea springs to mind and the former is quickly forgotten. Have way too many ideas floating around, but, in time, I do eventually get to them. When I came across this green hominy soup, I remembered that I had some hominy on hand, perfect!
Hominy is maize (or corn) that has been soaked in a lye or lime solution to soften its tough outer hull. After simmering, the kernels puff up and pop open, resulting in a chewy texture. You can find canned hominy, but I prefer it dried (similar to the difference between dried and canned beans, the canned ones lose their texture and tend to be somewhat mushy).
You prepare hominy just as you would dried beans. An overnight soak in the refrigerator, followed by a slow simmer for about three hours until the hominy is tender and the kernels pop open. To save time, you can cook the hominy in advance; the rest of the soup is a snap to prepare.
While green pozole is traditionally made with pork broth and pork, this version is made with shrimp stock (since I had just made a big batch; you can find the recipe for shrimp stock here) and a combination of shrimp and clams. The original recipe called for clam broth, clams, and crab meat. I absolutely love crab, though it’s not crab season here in Maryland, so will have to keep a version with crab in mind for a later date. Of course, there’s also the red version of pozole to try…
Not a seafood lover, try this soup with chicken stock and shredded chicken.
I’ve tackled the polenta and the hominy, now I just need to figure out what to do with the farro. Any ideas?
Green Hominy Soup
Adapted from Jose Garces
Serves 4 (can easily double)
Preparing the Hominy
2 cups dried hominy
Rinse and drain the hominy. Place it in a deep container and cover with enough cold water to completely submerge the hominy. Soak the hominy, covered, in the refrigerator overnight.
To cook the hominy, rinse and drain the soaked hominy and combine it in a stockpot with cold water to cover by 8 to 10 inches. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to low and simmer, partly covered, until the hominy is tender and opens up into blossoms, about three hours. Reserve two cups of the cooking liquid, set aside. Drain the hominy of all remaining liquid.
Note: You can cook the hominy in advance. Store the cooked hominy and cooking liquid separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to three days.
Finishing the Soup
1 quart of shrimp (recipe here), chicken, or clam broth (refer to Jose’s recipe for clam broth)
1 white onion, diced
6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound tomatillos, husked and washed
½ poblano chile, seeded and roughly chopped
2 serrano chiles (seeded if you desire less heat), sliced
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 dozen fresh littleneck clams, scrubbed to remove all dirt and sediment
1 pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 small head green cabbage, finely shredded
1 avocado, cubed
onion, finely diced
fresh cilantro, chopped
Combine the shrimp, clam, or chicken broth, reserved 2 cups of hominy cooking liquid, and cooked hominy in a stockpot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the onions, garlic, tomatillos, poblano and serrano chiles, and dried oregano in a blender and purée the mixture until it is very smooth. Add the cilantro and continue puréeing until the cilantro is completely incorporated and the mixture is vibrant green. Slowly add the oil in a thin stream until the purée is emulsified. Season to taste with salt.
Add the purée to the hominy and cook 5-10 minutes. Add the clams to the soup and cook just until the they open. Discard any that don’t open. Add the shrimp and the cabbage and cook a few minutes longer until the shrimp are cooked through. Season to taste with salt.
Ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls and top with the suggested garnishes.