Sunday, January 3, 2010

Posole - Corny Story Part II


When I first made hominy and then masa dough for tamales out of the hominy (see Corny Story), I had fun and it was delicious. Not wanting to trek around in strangers' cornfields, this time I sought a source of dried field corn for sale close to home.

I made a few calls and couldn't find any wholesale yellow corn for sale. Finally I recalled that a local outfit sold corn stoves, and I called them and they said they had 50 lb. bags of corn for fuel. I meant to go by there and get some.

But the other day at the hardware store, the real old one that has outlasted the pressures imposed by the Home Depot and Lowes, I was getting my purchases together and noticed a man inquiring about the "deer corn" they sold. So I said I'd get a 50 lb. bag of it. The price was $10. Note that comes out to 20 cents per pound, which is a whole lot less than a pound of corn flakes, for instance, and a lot less than a pound of masa meal. And then I heard the other customer gripe that he didn't want a whole fifty pounds. "I'll split it with you," I offered and he quickly agreed. We asked for a bag and got a trash bag from the proprietor, and I had a stronger bag in my truck. Jay (we shook hands and introduced ourselves) and I split it up in front of the hardware store. He said he lived down in South Carolina and wanted it for luring deer so his family could bag some venison.

Back home, I called the company in Georgia that wholesaled it, and told a lady I was a writer doing an experiment making hominy and if it was safe to eat (I figured it was, but there are overturned trucks on the interstate, and salvage operations, or resales after freak contamination events and things like that, and I wanted to be sure.) She was interested and called me back after telling her bosses about my request, telling me they assured her it was safe to eat, it being just corn.

I took about a half gallon and rinsed it well, and began soaking it. I changed the water a couple of times and let it soak about 28 hours. Then I made hominy. And like last time, it took longer than the internet sources I read said it would. Simmered in lime water, then another soak overnight in it, and next morning it was still tough so I began simmering it again. I had to add water two more times; it kept swelling above the waterline in my big stainless steel pot. Finally I had to transfer it to the Big Pot, my new four-gallon stainless steel baby. After another two or three hours simmering it was done. Then I rinsed it and rinsed it, removing the limewater.

I have to note that my hominy still had the skins attached. There was one article that said you could cut the little cob end off each grain by hand and they'd come off easier. Yeah, right! But I didn't take them off last time and it was still good then.

Then, following this recipe at one of my favorite food sites, Homesick Texan, I made posole, a Mexican pork and hominy soup. I used bacon and pork loin cubes instead of pork shoulder and ham hock. Everything else was the same. Delicious! The soup was so flavorful I added more hominy than she did and it was just right. I served it with julienned scallions and cilantro.

Here's the leftover hominy, soon to be ground into masa dough for tamales in a few days. It should keep in the refrigerator for a week. It's hard to tell but each of these grains is about twice as wide as it originally was.

Update 5-5-10 The chewyness of the unseparated corn hulls finally got to me, as I froze several servings separately and reheated later. However, this has led me to re-introduce myself to several brands of store-bought hominy such as Bush's, and theirs is very good. I'll save the homemade for when the Apocalypse comes around, or find a correct corn variety (more likely, as the first time I made hominy it was better.) In any case, I liquefied the last batch of thawed-out posole in my blender and made a fine chili out of it, adding in the extra ingredients along with ground beef. Sure made a great chili.

Update 2: August 2010 I haven't made it clear, but the first time I did this using the field corn I picked myself, I had a better result. The deer corn was of lower quality overall. This taught me the difference between low- and high-quality dried corn, anyway. Next time, I'll go for some field corn from a local guy who has agreed to hook me up with some of his own he grows.

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