A few months ago we hosted a big old Cheers! St. Helena shindig on the porch.
For the most part, I followed the timeline in my How to Throw a Porch Party (when you’re dang busy) post, but some things caused good-time changes.
I ran out of time to make a playlist, so we ended up using an 8tracks.com playlist. Those playlists are made by people much more musically savvy than I am. A Pandora station made of music from Celso Pina would also have set the mood fiestively.
We ran out of booze on purpose. The party got happy – meaning, it ran late and was in danger of waking the children. (Won’t anyone think of the children?)
We live near several firefighters, police officers and general upstanding people of the community, and I’d love to stay in their good graces. Running out of booze is an easily forgivable way to gently get your guests on their way home. Good night!
I didn’t take photos of the table, of the foods and the guests.
I was having too much fun.
And I know, I know, in this modern age, if you’re not ignoring your guests while you document ALL THE FUN you’re having (ahem), the party never happened.
Trust me, it was good.
There was a leopard, fireworks and leg wrestling.
(Just kidding about the leg wrestling.)
But on to the food.
Posole is a near perfect party food.
It’s cheap to make, is slow cooker friendly, and infinitely customizable.
Gluten-free! Dairy-free! Cheers!
Helen Jane’s Green Posole Recipe
(adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
3 pounds pork shoulder — could be bone-in at 4-5lbs, or boneless at 3 pounds, cut into 1-2 inch chunks
Vegetable oil for browning
2 large onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 pound tomatillos, peeled, washed and cut into quarters
3 medium jalapeños, stemmed, scraped and chopped
1/2 small onion, choped
1/2 cup water
2 bunches (5 cups?) fresh cilantro leaves and stems
3 (15 ounce) cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper the pork pieces thoroughly. If you’re cooking in the oven, preheat oven to 300°F. If you’re using a slow cooker, well, I’m not sure you’re supposed to do this, but I preheat my slow cooker. I’m planning to cook it here for 8 hours on low — so it’s preheated on low.
Heat vegetable oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat until shimmery. Add onions. Add a dash of salt. Sauté for a good 4 minutes. Add garlic. Stir through for another 30 seconds. Add pork and brown for about 8 minutes while stirring every 2-3 minutes.
Add the oregano, chicken stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt, scrape and stir until all is heated through and bubbly. Put this mixture into a slow cooker or put a lid on the pan and stick into a preheated 300° oven.
In a blender or food processor or blender, drop in the tomatillos, jalapeños and onions along with a 1/2 cup of water. Let it go until smooth. Enter the cilantro leaves, pulse until well chopped.
If you’re using the oven, take the pork out in 2 hours.
If you’re using a slow cooker, check in 30 minutes before you’re serving.
Stir the hominy through the pork mixture. Shred the pork with two forks until its bite-sized, tender, stringiness is the right size for your mouth. Stir the green mixture through the pork and hominy mixture. In the pot? Serve about 15 minutes later. In the slow cooker? Do the same.
Serve with a ladle into big individual bowls.
Set out all the fixins, so guests can customize your bowl.
(We serve this with guacamole, chips and corn salad.)