12 to 16 dried cascabel chiles (see note)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (2-pound) package nixtamal (see note)
6 quarts water
3 medium onions (divided)
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
3 pounds plum tomatoes
3 pounds pork for posole (cut-up pork shoulder, with bones) or pork stew meat
3 tablespoons salt or to taste
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 bunch radishes, trimmed and sliced
1/3 to 1/2 cup dried oregano, crushed or ground pequin chile or other hot chile
10 to 12 limes, cut into wedges
1 package whole crisp corn tortillas (used for tostadas)
Cut open the cascabel chiles and remove the seeds. Heat the oil in a small skillet over low heat. Add the chiles and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover with water and soak overnight. Before using, drain the chiles, discarding the water; remove the stems and any remaining seeds.
Place the nixtamal in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Place in a Dutch oven or heavy lidded pot and add the water. Slice 1 onion and add it to the pot along with the garlic. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil gently, covered, 1 1/2 hours.
Meanwhile, place the tomatoes in a pan of boiling water and cook 2 minutes. Drain and allow to cool, then peel. Place the tomatoes and the chiles in a blender and puree. Set aside.
Remove the excess fat from the pork. The meat can remain in large chunks. When the nixtamal has boiled 11/2 hours, add the pork, the tomato-chile mixture and the salt. Cover and boil gently 1 1/2 hours longer.
Chop the 2 remaining onions. Arrange the chopped onions, lettuce, radishes, oregano, crushed or ground chile and lime wedges in serving bowls.
To serve, ladle the posole into large soup bowls. Add the garnishes and squeeze in lime juice as desired, with tortillas to accompany.
Yield: 10 servings
Note: Wear gloves when handling chiles; the oils can cause a burning sensation on your skin.
PER SERVING: calories: 622; protein: 28 grams; total fat: 16 grams; saturated fat: 4 grams; cholesterol: 52 mg; sodium: 2,202 mg; carbohydrate: 100 grams; dietary fiber: 20 grams
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