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I have between 7pm tonight and 5pm tomorrow to make a pozole. Specifically, it will be a red pozole styled chili, using a rubbed and smoked seitan 'meat' to sub for pork. The dish will be vegan.

What are the distinctions between different approaches I can take, and what will result in a better red pozole?

  • How should I select corn for the chili?
  • Do I have time to do an alkaline-soak and stew until popping the corn?
  • Is it just as well that I use hominy?
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Pozole is traditionally made with nixtamalized corn, also known as nixtamal or hominy. So yes, of course you can use hominy - that's what you're supposed to use! Canned hominy/nixtamal is common. I believe that in some areas you can find dried whole nixtamal and possibly even fresh nixtamal - but I'm not sure I ever saw that in Texas, so I'm not sure how much luck you'll have.

As with everything, people say that fresher is better; I can't personally support that, though, not having managed to find it where I live. I have, however, made some pozole that I found to be quite good using canned hominy. Since you're planning on pozole rojo, you'll have a lot of other flavor, which I expect would make the difference between canned and fresh less noticeable.

I suppose if you want to try to nixtamalize your own corn for the sake of having the optimal pozole, you could, and you would have time. I've never tried it myself. From what I've read, cooking/soaking times vary depending on what you're going to do with the nixtamal. For pozole, you don't have to cook and soak the corn as long since it's going to be further cooked in the stew. I've seen varying instructions online. For example, this site says to cook for 15 minutes, soak for another 5-10, while this one says to cook for 40-50 minutes. After that you rinse it thoroughly to remove the lime and hulls (softened by the lime), before cooking it in your pozole. I imagine either of those cooking times would produce something satisfactory; with it of course being more tender with the longer time. Note also that the corn won't get that nice puffed shape if you don't remove the tip cap (one of those pages calls it a pedicel - not sure that's the right term).

So with a lot of effort and adventurousness, you could indeed make your own nixtamal (hominy), and it might well be better, but you can also make something extremely good with already-made hominy and not take a risk on something I suspect you're feeding to others.

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I have had good luck cooking the dried posole kernels in a slow-cooker all day on low, much like cooking dried beans with a slow cooker. I have found that this works much better than soaking overnight and trying to cook it for 2 or 3 hours. I've never made Posole with canned Hominy, but I know a lot of people use that. It would probably be considerably faster with it than with dried.

I have ordered dry posole online from a couple of different places, and even found it in a Latino Market near Nashville, TN, so it may be available in your area.

Remember that Posole is made with a different kind of corn from what you eat from a cob or get in the frozen food section of your grocery, so you'd need a source for that corn before you could successfully nixtamalize it.

I think given your time constraints, canned Hominy will probably be the way to go.

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