Friday, November 29, 2013

Chicken and Hominy Stew


I had something like this at a very fancy wedding reception. I was initially put off by the squash, because usually things with squash in them are made too sweet for my taste (except for pie, and sometimes even then). But I changed my mind, and here is my version.

1 butternut squash
salt, pepper, olive oil

1 onion
1 carrot
2 celery ribs
1 or 2 garlic cloves
1 large or 2 small chicken thighs

dash of salt & olive oil

1 tsp cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1 pasilla pepper (less spicy) or 2 jalapeno peppers (more spicy)
1 chili in adobo

1 can hominy

More salt to taste

Peel, seed, and slice the squash into pieces about 1/2" thick. Toss with salt, pepper and olive oil, and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 until a little brown around the edges. This will take a while, so in the meantime,

Chop the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Saute them on medium heat with a dash of oil and salt in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Mine is about a gallon size. When the onions are starting to go transparent, add the chicken. It's fine to use frozen, I always do. Poke the chicken to the bottom of the pan and let it brown a little, then fill the pot about 1/2 way up with water. Bring to a boil, then add the cumin, oregano, and chop the peppers and add them too. Cook until the chicken is done through, then drain and add the hominy. Boil gently until the chicken is starting to fall apart and you can mash it into bits with a wooden spoon.

By this time the squash is probably done. Take about 1/3 of the cooked squash and coarsely chop it. The rest can be used for something else. Add the chopped squash to the soup, taste for salt, and cook until the soup has thickened slightly and all the flavors have blended, about 15-20 minutes.

You should really eat this with tortillas and fresh cilantro, but I didn't have the energy to make tortillas today, and I was out of cilantro. More thoughts:

1. The original version of this used port rather than chicken, and I think I like that better. If you use pork, use a nice fatty cut.
2. You have to use enough salt. All the veggies add a lot of natural sugars, and the salt balances it out.
3. Skip the carrot? I ended up thinking it was unnecessary with the squash.
4. Consider using a different squash. Butternut is very easy to use, but it is quite sweet, which increases the need for salt. Kabocha or Hubbard squash might be a better fit.

I am still computerless, so I have no photos, but I got a message from Office Max saying my order has shipped, so I am excited.

*12/8/13 I now am have computer! So Excite. Picture enabled!

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