The Hoe Cake post got me thinking about Hominey, not Hominey grits, the stuff that is kind like pop corn made with lye. I know the native Americans use it in soup. My mother used to frie it, sort of. She would warm it up in a fry pan where bacon had been cooked. Ho do you prepare it?
We just had it heated up with butter, salt and pepper and served as a starch when I was a kid, and I loved it that way. Now I use it mostly to make a quick posole, a pork and green chile stew that Mrs. O and I like a lot. I want to invent some sort of casserole with it, too, probably involving cheese and poblano chiles, but I haven't gotten too far on that one.
re: Will Owen
1/3 pound boneless pork shoulder
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic; minced
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 can (14 oz +/-) chopped tomatoes
3 – 4 carrots
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1 - 2 ounces Poblano chiles
1 cup hominy
1 ½ tsp dried rosemary
20 ounces beef broth
S & P to taste
De-fat the pork shoulder and cut into ½ - ¾ inch cubes
Brown the pork in 2 tsp. vegetable oil. When browned, add the onions and garlic. Saute this mixture over medium low heat for about 5 minutes. Be careful not to brown the garlic.
In a slow cooker, combine the beef broth, tomatoes, carrots, celery, hominy and Poblanos
Stir in the browned pork, rosemary and add S&P to taste.
Set slow cooker on high and cook for 4 ½ hours. Adjust temperature to low level and cook an additional 1 – 2 hours.
Served topped with grated Cotija, Asiago or Parmesan cheese
I use it in soups like Posole and Tortilla soup, stews like Braised Lamb Shanks, In a Southwestern Salad with diced bell peppers, green chiles, red onion and more;
BTW Hominy is dried 'field corn' that is soaked in "mineral lime water" not "lye". If you then dry it and grind it you get Masa flour for tortillas, tamales, etc. If you rinse it and cook it you get hominy. In the West and Southwest you can buy fresh or frozen hominy which has not yet 'popped' from cooking. Hominy in cans has already 'popped'.
Another thing I do with it is to rinse canned hominy, and sprinkle it with cumin, chile powder etc, and then roast them on a baking sheet at 400F until crunchy and yummy.
According to the wiki article, the tradition in the US is to use "lye-water (sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide solution), traditionally derived from wood ash". Mexican recipes call for "lime-water (calcium hydroxide)". Similar effect in both cases. In a ethnographic film I saw years ago, Indians in the jungle near Guatemala, roasted snail shells to get the lime.
Wood ash would have been available to everyone on the American frontier (and Indians before that). Lye was also used in making soap. Getting lime requires roasting limestone in a lime kiln. Since lime is also used in whitewash and mortar, it would have been more common in established communities in Mexico. Historic small scale lime kilns can also be found around the US.
History question (for Eat Nopal): what did the Meso-Americans use before the Spanish came? Did they produce lime?
In answer to my own question - there's quite a bit of anthropologic literature about lime production among the Maya. It was used in the building stucco. Though one note claims the lime kilns introduced by the Spanish (derived from older Middle Eastern technology) were more efficient.