Monday, December 28, 2009

Mexican Through and Through

Mexican tile birdbath (detail) - Wendy Smith and Becky Holcomb, Mosaic Art
For all you infrequent readers out there (and you know who you are), visits with Pops O'Food revolve around twin suns: food, obviously, and golf. Pops has a regular group of local and snow bird cronies who accompany him on the course several times a week. I am permitted to join them whenever I'm in town. The only reason I took up the game in the first place was to have something to do with my father besides stuffing my face. It has turned out to be a minor passion, especially when my swing is going well. Between bouts of Mexican peasant food were some very good rounds of golf this year. One course in particular took my breath away, Emerald Canyon Golf Course on the Colorado River just outside Parker, AZ. This La Paz County course is an oasis. Impeccably tended fairways and velvety smooth greens, built into the ravines and washes that feed into the river. I have never played a finer course in the country. Even on those idyllic links however, my thoughts frequently turned to what our next meal would be.
Emerald Canyon Golf Course - Hole 7Emerald Canyon Golf Course - Hole 16
Not that it was ever really a worry at Casa de Pops. He had a treasure trove of recipes to offer up.
Simmering Mexican-style hominy
Pork & Hominy Stew - A recipe by Pops O'Food
  • 1 large can (29 oz) Mexican-style hominy
  • 2 lbs pork loin chops, boned and diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1½ cups homemade salsa*
Diced pork loinBrowning diced pork loin
Brown the pork bones as wellSweat the onion and garlic in the olive oil
Return pork to the pot, add stock, tomatoes and hominyBring stew to a boil, then simmer for 90 minutes
Drain hominy, and put to a simmer in a small saucepan. Meanwhile, brown pork, including bones, on all sides with dried spices in olive oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottomed stock pot. Brown in batches if need be. Remove pork from pot and sweat onions and garlic over medium heat until just soft, but not brown. Return the meat and bones to the pan, add the chicken stock, tomatoes, salsa and hominy. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 90 minutes.
Pork & hominy stew with Mexican rice and refried beans
Holy crap, that guy POF knows a thing or two about food! Browning the bones and including them in the stew red-lined the flavor meter. Just remember to separate them from the dish before serving. The slow, long simmer softened all the tough connective tissue in the meat. It practically fell apart on the fork. Pops served Mexican rice and refried beans, and piping hot flour tortillas for sopping up the juices.
We all have dishes that remind us of childhood or other memorable occasions. I was transported that night. This is a meal I'll cook again when I'm homesick or just plain nostalgic. I hope this post prompts you to dust off delicious recipes of your own. Relive old memories or make new ones tonight.
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food
  • 3 lbs Ortega and yellow chilies, roasted, skinned and chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 large white onions, diced
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup, green onions, diced
Toss all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Store in clean mason jars. Flavor will intensify over time. Will keep for about two weeks.

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