Martha Stewart’s Chicken Posole

Now that I am a mother of two, I have several more reasons to love soup. One is that it can be made in steps depending on when you get windows of opportunity throughout the day. So if, for example, one child wakes up and needs to be nursed right after you put the chicken stock and the frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot, you’re set for a couple of hours. And then if the other child (hypothetically) wakes up cranky and clingy from his nap, you just have to throw a few more ingredients in the pot and you’re covered.

The other reason I love soup is that you can make a huge batch and be set for lunch for the rest of the week. This works especially well if your toddler likes the soup and will happily eat it every day for lunch. And soup re-heats beautifully for those times when you, the mom, don’t have the chance to sit down and eat a full meal at once (it is a drawback of soup that it’s difficult to eat while holding an infant without dripping on said infant).

This soup meets both of those criteria. (Of course, you don’t have to be the mom of two under two in order to enjoy both of these benefits of soup.)

I’ve made this soup before and liked it, and it sprang to mind when I had a pot full of chicken stock that I needed to use. I’m going to post Martha Stewart’s exact recipe and note where I made changes because I made enough changes without measuring precise amounts that I’m not sure the soup I made would be reproducible. It’s close enough, though, that I can commend both versions to you.

Chicken Posole

serves 8

(or, two adults and one toddler for dinner and one adult and one toddler for three lunches, plus a quart to freeze for later)

1 Tablespoon olive oil (I used butter because I’ve been learning that olive oil isn’t great for cooking at high heats)
2 medium onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic
1/3 cup tomato paste
3 Tablespoons chili powder (based on reviews, I started with 2 Tablespoons, and that was plenty. If you can’t handle any heat, I’d say start with only 1 T, but 2 T gave it some flavor while not being too hot for the 2 year old)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
4 cans chicken broth or stock (I didn’t measure the stock because I was using some I’d made earlier from a chicken carcass, but I think I had at least that much)
4 cans white hominy, drained. (I didn’t have enough hominy and I also wanted to make it healthier, so I used 1 can hominy and 1 can great northern beans.)
6 3/4 cups shredded, cooked chicken or cooked turkey meat (I used about 2 cups from the freezer, plus two giant chicken breasts)
Assorted garnishes such as sliced avocado, thinly sliced radishes and crumbled tortilla chips (all optional)

Martha’s Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onions; cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, tomato paste, chili powder, and oregano; cook, stirring constantly, until evenly distributed.
  2. Add 4 cups water, broth, and hominy. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer, and cook until fragrant, about 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in chicken; season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until heated through. (When freezing, cool completely before transferring to airtight containers.)
  4. To serve, divide among bowls, and garnish as desired.

My changes:

I threw the chicken stock and frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot and simmered on low for about 4 hours. Then I removed the chicken and shredded it with two forks and added it back to the stock with the other chicken I’d pulled from my freezer. Then I sauteed the onion in butter, added the spices and heated til fragrant (a minute or two) and dumped that pan plus everything else into the crockpot. I wouldn’t have been opposed to throwing everything into the crockpot to cook, but I ran out of time and needed to cook the onions more quickly. As I noted, I used 1 can of hominy and 1 can great northern beans, and I didn’t add the extra 4 cups of water that she calls for. I heated everything in the crockpot for about another hour and served it with tortilla chips.

For the little guy, when we have broth-based soups, I like to stir some brown rice cereal into his bowl. This thickens it up enough that he can easily get a spoonful into his mouth without dribbling broth everywhere. He also loves to scoop food with chips, so this way he’s able to get a decent bite of soup on a chip. Just a fun little tip.