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Posole de Camarones {Shrimp and Hominy Stew}

Let me preface this by saying: I'm not complaining.  Just stating a truth.  Okay.  Here goes.  Christmas Eve dinner at my grandparents house is very, VERY white bread.  Unchanging...predictable.  Shrimp from the ring piled into a glass serving bowl with a smaller bowl of cocktail sauce alongside.  A never-ending platter of sliced ham for filling the split Hawaiian rolls in the basket that sits next to it.  Trays of our favorite Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts...all sugary-hot from the oven.  Green fluffy "salad" that I still won't touch.  Veggie tray with a ranchy and or dilly dip.  Chips and potato salad.  (Imitation) Crab dip and crackers.  Plus bowls set around with  mixed nuts and addictive-ranch shaken-n-coated oyster crackers.  And a counter filled with sweets- cookies, bars, candies, M&M's (!?), and various other sweets.  You can set your clock by it.  Sure, a few different items pop into the mix from year to year...depending on what I bring.  Or my mom brings.  Or even my brother (if he's currently living somewhere with a decent kitchen) brings.  My favorite addition is Warm Spinach-Artichoke Dip with tortilla chips for scooping or the cold-variety Spinach Dip in a hollowed-out round of bread with more bread cubes for dipping. know your choices.

So really, Christmas day brings an eclectic mix at our own house.  I can never decide what to in, there's no set routine.  I love Christmas brunch: cinnamon rolls, eggs (in some form), hunks of cheese, oranges or other fruit, leftover ham slices thrown on the comal and browned up.  And bottomless mimosas.  But I also love to have another meal later on in the day that can be picked on.  We rarely do formal on Christmas.  This year we had Carnitas con Mole with stacks of  steaming tortillas along with our Ponche Navideño.  And we had a big pot of Posole de Camarones...the color of which just begs to be made on Christmas.  It's beautifully green broth flecked with hints of red from the chiles de arbol that accent the tangy lime sea salt.  

I like our yearly changes and unexpected menus.  I wonder if it's just because they foil "the expected" of the evening that proceeds it?  Perhaps.  Not that I want to change that tradition...I just like to shake-it-up.  Hope your holidays were...and still are...joyful!
Posole de Camarones
Shrimp and Hominy Stew
serves: 4-6

Herbed Salsa Verde:
1 c. baby spinach leaves (or arugula)
¼ bunch flat leaf parsley
leaves from 2 sprigs marjoram
zest of 1 orange
1 anchovy fillet
1 fat garlic clove, peeled
½ tsp. ground black pepper
big pinch sea salt
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil

Lime Sea Salt (yield ½ c.):
grated zest of 4 limes
8 chiles de arbol
2 Tbs. coarse sea salt
1 Tbs. ground roasted coriander seed

2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 c. chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
5 c. fish stock
4 sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1 Tbs. finely grated lime zest
1½ lbs. uncooked shrimp, peeled & deveined
3 c. cooked hominy

additional garnish (along with lime sea salt):
cilantro, chopped
white onion, chopped
jalepeños, sliced thinly
dried Mexican oregano
Herbed Salsa Verde:
Place everything in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth, with a few chunks remaining.  Set aside.

Lime Sea Salt:
Mash all of the ingredients together in a molcajete or pulse in a spice grinder until combined.  Set aside.

Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and sauté until tender, ~5 minutes.  Add garlic and stir for another 30 seconds.  Stir in the reserved Herbed Salsa Verde, fish stock, sundried tomatoes, and lime zest.  Simmer for ~5 minutes, then remove from heat and set aside.

Heat a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high.  Add remaining oil and shrimp.  Cook until shrimp is lightly browned on both sides, ~3 minutes, turning once.  Add the reserved stock-salsa mixture and the hominy.  Simmer until seafood is just opaque in the center, another 3 minutes or so.  Season to taste with salt and pepper (remember that you'll be passing the lime sea salt as a garnish, so I'd err on the side of too little salt).

To serve:
Ladle into large, shallow bowls.  Garnish with chopped cilantro, onion, and sliced jalapeños.  Crumble some oregano over each bowl between your fingers.  Finish with a good sprinkling of the reserved Lime Sea Salt.  You could also add some thinly sliced radishes or some crispy tortilla strips.
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