Hominy Is The Secret To A Heartier Chicken Chili

Corn has long been the backbone of Mesoamerican cuisine, so it's no surprise that its bigger doppelganger, hominy, is just as beloved. You'll find hominy at the center of popular Mexican foods like corn grits, tamales, posole, and more recipes than you think. But what is it? 

Hominy is nixtamalized field corn (or white maize), which means that it's made from maize kernels that have been soaked in an alkaline solution like water and lime or water and baking soda. The corn kernels are left to soak and then are washed to remove any remaining alkali before being hulled. There is an immediate difference between hominy and corn in that hominy's texture becomes more chewy, its nutritional value increases, and its flavor is more pronounced. 

These qualities make the grain a workhorse in the kitchen, particularly when it's added to chicken chili. Being fluffy and slightly gummy, this processed corn can beef up the stew by making it thicker and imparting a meaty chew throughout the dish. And you can't overlook how hominy imprints the traditional aesthetic and taste of Mexican cuisine with its nutty corn flavor.

How to add hominy to your chicken chili

If using canned hominy, the most common type, don't forget to drain and rinse it first. Then, using our instant pot white chicken chili recipe as a base, you would add the hominy together with the beans, corn, and chicken broth. Leave the hominy to cook in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes. Hominy is good at absorbing flavors, so this amount of cooking time will not only leave it tender but also flavorful.

You can further incorporate hominy in chicken chili by setting some aside to process it. So, if you started with 6 cups of hominy, set aside 2 cups to process with a bit of chicken broth until the mixture is smooth. Then, once the larger portion of hominy (whole kernels) has finished simmering, add the blended hominy to the stew and let it cook for a minute so that it fully mixes in.

For dry hominy, soak it for eight hours or overnight before incorporating it into your recipe. Or, if you're in a hurry, boil it for five minutes, remove it from the heat, and let it soak for an hour before it's ready to use.