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I am following this recipe for roasting hominy/posole. Basically, toss with oil and seasoning, bake at 400'F for forty minutes stirring every ten. I am not sure if the recipe intends for popped hominy, or roasting it, or if the recipe author differentiates the two. I am thirty minutes in and they look like this thus far:

Roasted hominy at thirty minutes

The hominy has a nice texture, not yet quite corn nuts but pleasantly chewy. All of the reviews speak to the intense popping. While I assumed this would occur to some extent, after thirty minutes it was too much and I had to pull them (too many were hopping to the bottom of the oven).

Currently I am intending to use the hominy in a chili, so the texture they are at should be good. However, I would like to find out if there would be an approach to solving the following two issues:

To roast hominy, maximize hardening of spices, and roast without popping:

  • Would changing the oil ratio help (i.e. more/less oil)?
  • What about lower&slower or higher&faster?
  • I used a baking sheet per instructions, would another cooking vessel have worked better?

Removing the hominy, I used a large sheet of parchment to shield myself from stray hominy shrapnel, then used it on top to keep kernels in place while cooling (I didn't want to use foil as I wanted to avoid insulating the heat):

  • Would baking with a piece of parchment over the kernels (to hold the kernels more or less in place) adversely impact the roasting process?
  • Would foil be problematic (I am wondering about substitutions)?
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If you got some stainless steel mesh, you could probably put that over top to keep them in, while still letting steam out. Or maybe foil with a lot of holes poked in it. – derobert Feb 7 '13 at 16:11
@derobert the mesh is a good idea, if you can add a recommendation about how to better manage the roasting without popping I think that this would make for a good answer to try out – mfg Feb 7 '13 at 21:34

Well, since you asked for it, with a warning that I've neither cooked nor consumed roast hominy:

If you cover the pot with something that doesn't let steam out, it might slow or prevent the roasting. A stainless steel mesh would let the steam out while also keeping the kernels in. Alternatively, you could use some heavy-duty foil with a lot of small holes poked in it. You could probably also shake it instead of stirring, since the kernels will be contained.

As for preventing popping, I'd guess that dehydrating the kernels first would help. Certainly old, dried-out popcorn is known for failing to pop. And the physics make sense; its basically the water heats, creates intense pressure inside the pericarp, which then eventually ruptures, yielding a BLEV explosion. So if you have less water inside the pericarp, you'll have less exploding.

So I'd try dehydrating them before roasting. Maybe just leaving them out to air-dry (though that'd probably risk spoilage), or a very low oven. Or a food dehydrator.

I have no idea about slightly higher or lower temperatures. Possibly, lower temperatures would result in the water boiling slower, allowing it to leak it without exploding. Or maybe higher temperatures would have only a small portion of the water heated, and then it'd explode out, but only slightly rupturing the kernel (because it'd be a smaller explosion due to less water being involved).

Apparently weakening the hull actually improves popcorn yield, at least according to a patent Google turned up. But I'm not sure how you'd strengthen it instead.

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