Pseudo Posole

red chillis on brown wooden tray
Photo by Artem Bali on

Tough times call for tough food.

Times are tough here in the soybean field, even though we know they will pass. We continue the process of unravelling the knots of grief around Hubby’s recently departed sister. His oldest brother in law waits in the celestial departure lounge for his flight to the great beyond to be called.

And while on his last visit to Michigan to see Eldest BIL,  Hubby found out that his second oldest sister has developed cancer as well. I’m not sure what her status is, but we will find out.

In the meantime, we get on with it as best we can, taking breaks to massage our faces so they don’t permanently freeze in the OMG position. We walk. We write. We do homework. We just go about our days trying to ignore the stalker ten steps behind us.

Times like these call for tough food. Preferably something laden with carbs and fat to boost the mood and give energy for daily activities. After a mid-September to mid-October like this one, we needed something that would stand up to the sorrow.

I tried making posole, a cross between a stew and a soup. Its roots run deep in Mexican history. The recipes I read called for the chicken (or pork) to be simmered in one pot, the beans in another, and the broth in a third. Everything would be combined in one pot at the end.

Truth be told, I’ve never had luck cooking beans. I also need to store up my patience for other things these days. I took a look in the freezer and pantry. Box o’chicken broth? Check. Red salsa? Check. Canned beans and hominy? Check. Great. Is there chicken in the freezer? Check.

Sometimes, I, too, can be organized.

I thawed four chicken quarters, then peeled off the skin. Into the slow cooker with them. Next came a jar of red roasted pepper salsa and half a box of chicken broth. If you want something closer to a soup, use the whole box. I wanted something more stew-like. I set the cooker on slow and let ‘er rip for about three hours until the chicken started parting company with the bones.  I removed it from the pot and shredded it before returning to the pot. Then I drained the beans (a 15-ounce can of cannellinis) and the hominy (I think it was 15 ounces as well–it was the smaller of the two cans offered) and let everything coexist peacefully until dinner.

Hubby ate two bowls and dozed off in his chair.

Maybe it wasn’t authentic, but it sure did its job.


The Last Post of Technical Winter

Keep in mind that I do NOT recommend doing this, but I can understand the temptation. 

Some years ago, a post-holiday newscast included a story from the “say WHAT?” file. A man had been taken into custody for attempted arson. The charge, not that unusual. The motivation: relatives who’d been hanging around and refusing to leave, even though he’d asked nicely, then not so nicely. No dice. The frustrated host doused the floor and walls of his home with rubbing alcohol, then started throwing lighted matches. One of the occupants of the house called the cops before any serious damage happened to the house or any of the people in it. 

I didn’t make that up. Really. 

That gentleman has been on my mind a lot the last few weeks, wondering if there was a way to make winter leave sooner. Today brought rain and the possibility of some snowflakes mixed into it is a possibility later on this afternoon. Tomorrow is the first day of spring and set to have some decent temps, but it’s supposed to be back into the cold air over the weekend. 

Today is also bringing a crockpot chicken for dinner. The chicken, onions, and carrots have been simmering in there since this morning while I worked on another assignment. I have to make a run to the store and pick up Oakley from daycare. He’ll get sweet potato with his chicken; I’ll have mashed cauliflower with mine.  It’s just what it sounds like: cook the florets until mashable and mash away with a little salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Olive oil or butter are good additions. I throw in a couple of cloves of peeled garlic, too. Pretty yummy.

Tomorrow as I enjoy some leftovers in a salad at 11:57 CDT, it will be officially spring. I will be wishing this interminable winter farewell, and that the door doesn’t hit it in the butt on the way out.