Go for a classic: The Shed restaurant's posole stew (from Oh By Golly, December 2021). Photograph by Douglas Merriam.
The Shed opened in 1953 and still thrives near the Santa Fe Plaza. This recipe originally appeared in New Mexico Magazine’s 1978 cookbook The Best of New Mexico Kitchens and is reprinted with permission from UNM Press, which still publishes the book. My notes on how to modify it follow.
1 pound lean pork shoulder
2 pounds frozen posole (hominy)
Juice of one lime
2 tablespoons coarse red chile powder
3 cloves garlic
¼ teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons salt
Makes 16 servings
Cook the pork in a pressure cooker, with water to cover, for 20 minutes. Reduce pressure under cold water. Open pot and add posole, lime juice, and chile. Add water—about twice as much as the amount of posole. Cook for 45 minutes under pressure. Reduce pressure under cold water.
Remove the pork and cut up. Put posole, pork, garlic, oregano, and salt in a large heavy covered pot and simmer 1–3 hours, or until hominy kernels have burst and are soft but not mushy. Serve alone or as a side dish. Freezes well.
Note: These times are set for Santa Fe’s higher altitude. At lower altitudes, where the boiling point is higher, you may wish to try shorter cooking times at first.
I had a feeling that modern pressure cookers are much more efficient than the one used during the development of this recipe, and I expect the restaurant made large batches of posole, which would extend the stovetop cooking time. My Fissler six-quart pressure cooker had the posole almost ready to serve after 45 minutes, and I only needed 20 minutes on the stovetop. Tasting is the best way to tell; as the recipe says, the kernels should be tender but not mushy.
Don’t trim any fat from the shoulder; it will lend more flavor to the dish.
The 3 tablespoons of salt made it way too salty for me. Start with 2 teaspoons and go from there.
I recommend more oregano, using Mexican oregano, at least 1 teaspoon.
For the red chile powder, look for chile caribe; you’ll find the Los Chileros brand in most grocery stores.
Finally, ask Santa for a pressure cooker or Instant Pot! At my 7,000-foot elevation, you almost have to use one to speed up the cooking time. (You lose about 1 degree off the boiling point for every 500 feet above sea level.)