Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Posole Bento

Posole Bento by sherimiya ♥
Posole Bento, a photo by sherimiya ♥ on Flickr.
Our winter here in California has been pretty mild (or nonexistent), to say the least, but finally in the past few days we've had some cold temps and rain. It's nice to feel like having some warm soups and stews during winter, don't you think? I've always loved posole, and we have lots of Mexican restaurants around here that serve it, but only on the weekends. This past weekend I missed it again, and I was disappointed because it's the perfect weather for it! So I tried my hand at making it at home.

Posole is a chile-based Mexican soup of pork and hominy, and to make it traditionally, you use real dried chile pods to create the red chile sauce (by roasting the dried pods, soaking in boiling water, then processing it all). And it has to have the red sauce. I really want to try making the red sauce from scratch some time, but this time I took the easy way out and used canned red chile sauce. It was super potent! Too bad I had to dilute it way down for the lightweights in the family, but if it were just for the adults, I would have used it straight. Even as it was, I was a little concerned that my kids would balk at the diluted version too. I first served my daughter the ingredients with only a little soup. She tasted it, pronounced the first few spoonfuls "delicious", then stopped and said "Mom, when it goes down my throat, I feel the hot spice down here." I waited for her to refuse the rest, but she finished the bowl and requested more for her bento. Wow, I was so happy!

This bento is MisterMan's version: a thermos of posole, a container of tortillas with car shapes, and another container of cooling carrots, peapods, strawberry, blood oranges and grapes. Are my kids finally becoming heat-tolerant? *crossing fingers* ^_^

Here's the method I used:

Slow-Cooker Posole

1 pound pork, cut into cubes (I used pork shoulder)
1-10oz can red chile sauce
1-30oz can white hominy, drained
1 onion, chopped
1-7oz can diced green chiles (I had to omit! But I love these)
1 celery stalk, chopped (not traditional)
1 carrot, chopped (not traditional)
2 cloves garlic, minced (or more if you like)
1 tsp ground cumin

fresh cilantro, chopped
white onion, chopped
cabbage, thinly sliced
radishes, sliced
lime, sliced

In a skillet over medium high heat, brown the cubed pork on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to crockpot. Stir in the red sauce, hominy, onion, green chiles, celery, carrot, garlic, cumin, and enough water to cover the meat. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until meat is tender. You can customize this recipe by using more meat, more hominy, and more red sauce if you like. If it's too hot, add more water. I love the soup to be very dark red. Serve hot in bowls with cilantro, onion, cabbage, radishes and lime on the side to be added into the bowl.


  1. Looks so yummy! No wonder TS requested more for her bento. Love that you do some cut out for the tortilla. Looks so special for him (^.^)

    1. Thanks Lia! A little touch is often all I can manage. Happily, it's enough :)

  2. It looks and sounds delicious indeed. I am not really familiar with Mexican dishes, so I have to admit I never heard of posole before. But I can only agree with the idea that winter and soups/stews are the ideal combo. We're having a cold spell over here in Europe (-11°C/12°F this morning), ideal weather for hearty comfort food.

    1. Wow, 12°F! I don't know if I could bring myself to leave the house under those conditions. I'd be making and eating soup all day long. ^_^
      Thanks Ceinwyn!

  3. hmm..yummy.. I love the car tortilla. :D

  4. Oh... red sauce from scratch might become very rich! Maybe you can try later when the kids get into the "hot hot" grade ;). TS is so amazing, even requested for her bento! My girls would say "en halua, se on ´picy" (i don't want, it is "spicy") ... eheheheh, they are so funny when they mix up english with finnish. >_<
    Beautiful bento meal set! Aren't there cherries in the fruit container or I am just imagining ...
    And thanks for the recipe too! Yum!

    1. I think you're right. This chile sauce is pure chile pepper puree! This sauce actually made my sinuses burn just upon lifting the lid to check on it; thus I knew I had to dilute it way down with water before offering it to my kids. But my husband of course asked "where's the hot version?"
      And your eagle eyes caught the cherries! Gosh! I better be more careful or you'll catch me on a bigger slip...
      Thanks L!

  5. I've never heard of posole, now I'm looking forward to trying it for myself. Your bento is always so beautiful, that's why I thought i should send you The Versatile Blogger award. Here’s my post with all the info: http://thisisrocksalt.com/2012/02/08/the-versatile-blogger-award


    1. Thanks a lot Carol Anne for the blogger award. I really appreciate and am flattered!

  6. your posole looks and sounds delish... love the idea of adding the carrot and celery (hey, if they can work as part of "the trinity" in creole cooking with those spicy flavors, don't see why they wouldn't work here, adding vitamins and fiber to boot). i like the car cut-outs too; a simple but super-cute detail. agree that hearty soups and stews are the BEST in cold weather; but looking at the fruit/veggie box i'd guess it's still summer! jealous of your seemingly-always-fabulous produce finds ;-)

    1. I'm so glad you agree with the carrots and celery bit! I didn't even think about the creole connection but I'm going with it.
      You know how California is... always trying to grow things all year long. But I refuse to buy any peaches in February >.<
      Thanks megan!