Why You Should Use Dried Instead Of Canned Hominy For Pozole

Corn is a treasured native Mexican crop and the foundation of Mexican cuisine. Ancient civilizations invented a methodology called nixtamalization that processes corn into globally renowned dishes we love, from tacos and enchiladas to tortilla chips. While you may be familiar with nixtamalized corn that's been ground into masa, you can also find nixtamalized corn kernels, which you may know as hominy. Perhaps the most famous dish to feature hominy in Mexico is pozole, a rich and customizable soup that comes in red, green, and white varieties.

Many pozole recipes opt for canned hominy as a more convenient product, but using dried hominy instead will elevate your pozole to new heights. While canned hominy has its merits, its drawbacks in taste and texture are too big to ignore. Similar to canned beans, canned hominy sits in a saltwater brine, effectively extending its shelf life for years. However, the longer hominy sits in a can, the more it leaches that unpleasant metallic taste that plagues many canned products. Furthermore, placing the hominy in fluid obscures its natural corn flavor, makes it mushier, and imparts a slimy sheen to the outside of the kernels.

In contrast, dried hominy is the purest form of nixtamalized corn, thus upholding the intensity of its earthy taste. When you rehydrate and cook it in your pozole, you'll get a deliciously firm and chewy texture and an untainted, undiluted corn flavor that will enhance and complement the pozole's complex broth.

How to prepare dried hominy

Canned and dried hominy are both readily available at grocery stores nationwide; a bag of dried hominy will last for several batches of pozole. Just as pozole is a tedious labor of love, preparing dried hominy also takes significant time and effort. The first step is to soak dried hominy overnight in water. Then, you'll need to drain the water, rinse the hominy, and boil it in salted water for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Once the hominy has reached a chewy consistency, turned a darker hue, and emanates a deep corn aroma, it's ready to use. You can then drain it, reserving the cooking liquid to store any leftover hominy for future use. The process is long but straightforward, and the enhanced flavors and textures of your pozole will make it worth the effort!

If you must use canned hominy, you can use an oven hack to rid it of its metallic tinge, intensify its natural flavor, and firm it to the desired chewy texture. You drain and rinse canned hominy, pat the kernels dry, and spread them over a baking sheet to toast for 12 to 18 minutes in the oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. This will add a nuttier, toasted flavor to the earthy corn.