As the readers have learned along the way, Reyes Alexander Farrow is one helluva cook and specialized on mexican food. In the ninth Charley Davidson – book he cooks a lot of food and posole is one of them.
“What are you making?” I asked him before heading out. Officially, he was off the clock, too, but he seemed to enjoy the heck out of cooking. And keeping busy in general.
“Posole”, he said, flashing me a crooked grin that dissolved my kneecaps.
His hands were busy chopping stuff, so I rose onto my toes and whispered into his ear. “You are so trying to win my heart through my stomach.”
“Is it working?”
(Darynda Jones: The Dirt on Ninth Grave, Kindle edition 66%)
Where I live, hominy is nowhere to be found, so I couldn’t make posole. But this is what I came up with instead and it sure tasted good, especially with few drops of lime juice.
18 ounces / 500 g borlotti beans
35 ounces / 1 kg pork, preferably with some bone in it. I used pork blade.
1 bay leaf
2 ounces / 60 g mild red chili peppers
7 ounces / 200 g red bell peppers
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
small white onion, fine chopped
1 lime, cut into wedges
1. Soak the beans in 6 cups / 1.5 l of water for 10-12 hours. After soaking, drain them and cook in 8.5 cups / 2 liters of water for 45 – 60 minutes. Strain the through sieve them and put aside.
2. Add 13 cups / 3 liters of water with the pork into a stockpot and bring it to boil. Skim all the foam. When the liquid clears, add bay leaf and let the meat boil in medium heat for an hour or 1,5 hours depending on the size of the meat.
3. Descard and remove the stems and seed from the chilis. Heat a cast iron pan in medium heat and roast the chilis until they begin to soften. Don’t let them burn.
4. Chop the garlic and add olive oil to the pan. Sauté the garlic.
5. Bring a pot with 2 cups / 5 dl of water to boil. Submerge the softened chilis and chopped garlic, cover the pot and remove from the heat. Let the chilis soak in hot water for 20 minutes.
6. Pour the chilis and garlic with the hot water into a blender, add a teaspoon of salt and blend them into a puréé.
7. Take the meat out of the stockpot, remove the bones and chop it to bitesize pieces. Then put them back into the stockpot, add the borlotti beans and add the chili puréé through a sieve.
8. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, the ground cumin and oregano into the soup, bring it to boil and the lower the heat and let the soup simmer for an hour.
9. Serve the soup with chopped onion, lime wedge and tortilla chips.
You can replace the pork with chicken. This will reduce the time needed to cook the meat. For spicier flavour, use stronger chili or add hot sauce.
I’ve loved Charley since the first book, her snarky comments and basically just enjoyed Jones’ writing and especially her dialogue. And there’s all that in this book, so quality in that perspective is guaranteed.
But… and there’s the but. Unlike the eight previous books, this one doesn’t carry the saga forward, not in a way I had hoped it would. Reading this felt like a summary of the beginning of the series, repeating what we already know. The POV was slightly different, but it was a recap nevertheless. The only thing that got me by surprise was how Charley got her memory back, that was very unexpected and genious.
The way Jones has outlined this saga and built her world means that the story will have an definite end or that’s how I see it anyway. So I’d rather enjoy the eventful ride than read a story that drags on and is pointlessly prolonged.