Thursday, May 5, 2011


For “Cinco de Mayo”, I turn to an old friend.

He and I grew up together in New York City and were forever trying to discover good authentic Mexican food, and, not to mention, good Mexican beer to go with it.

One day he wandered in with this -


Beautiful label, dark bottle, an air of mystery.

Could this even be imported during the ’80’s without NAFTA??

The questions abounded.

The only available “brands” at that time were Tecate and Dos Equis,

This was New York City. A haven for many emigrés; so, why were there no more than two flavours of Mexican beer to be found?

 Both of those other brands were good, but what was this "Pacifico"?

Amber in colour and loaded with flavour, honey and flowers. Smooth and flowing.

How could this even be beer?

The real question was what to do with this nectar besides simply enjoy it on Cinco de Mayo?

One of my friend's "surprise" meals (you know the kind; put every viable leftover from the fridge into a skillet ad add some soy sauce, an egg, sauté, and "SURPRISE!" it's actually good?) was clearly not an option.

This beer deserved more.

Photo : Sian Kennedy

Holiday Pork Posole

Recipe after the Jump

Holiday Pork Posole

Ingredients :

  • 4 medium onions, divided
  • 7 tablespoons xtra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 4 tablespoons ancho chile powder,* divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican), divided
  • 1 6-to 6 1/2-pound bone-in pork shoulder (Boston butt), cut into 4- to 5-inch pieces, some meat left on bone
  • 5 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 7-ounce cans diced green chiles, drained
  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 15-ounce cans golden or white hominy, drained
  • 4 limes, each cut into 4 wedges
  • Thinly sliced green onion
  • Chopped fresh cilantro


Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and move the rack to the middle.

Thinly slice 2 onions.

Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy large ovenproof pot (a Le Creuset enameled cast iron Dutch oven works best) over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onions to the pot and sauté until onions begin to soften, about 3 minutes.

Add 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oregano; stir to coat.

Sprinkle the pork with salt and add it to the pot.

Add 5 cups of the broth. Bring to boil.

Cover the pot and transfer it to oven.

Braise the pork until tender enough to shred easily, about 2 hours or maybe more, depending on your oven.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pork to large bowl. Pour the remaining juices into another large bowl. Refrigerate separately uncovered until cool, then cover and keep chilled overnight.

After the overnight chill, skim the solidified fat from the top of the juices using a spoon and discard. Keep the remaining "jelly" and let it come to room temperature.

Chop the pork into 1/2-inch cubes, discarding any excess fat.

Thinly slice the remaining 2 onions.

Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat (the same one you used the day before).

Add the onions; sauté until soft, stirring often, about 7 minutes.

Add the remaining 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ancho chile powder, remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oregano, diced chiles, garlic, and cumin; stir 30 seconds.

Add the pork cubes, reserved juices (the room temperature "jelly"), and drained hominy.

Bring to boil; reduce heat to low.

Cover the pot with the lid slightly ajar and simmer for about 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. If the sauce becomes too thick, add more broth to thin it out.

Ladle posole into bowls. Garnish with lime wedges, green onion, and cilantro.

Serve with a tall chilled glass of Pacifico beer.

* Available in the spice section of many supermarkets and at Latin markets.

NOTE : This entire dish can be made up to two days ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until ready for service. Simply reheat. It only gets better.

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