Dinner:  February 3, 2009

This was a meal built on leftovers, the sort of thing you’ll probably be seeing a lot more of around here as we tighten our belts in the months ahead. We had the better part of last Friday’s roast chicken left in the fridge (minus a drumstick, which Mike had lunched on), as well as portions of cooked hominy in the freezer from my last pot of pozole, so I decided to combine the two for a lighter, quicker take on that spicy Mexican dish. I started with a bit of leftover pork fat melted in the bottom of my heavy pan, and added a large onion, chopped, and a healthy pinch of kosher salt.

Mike had made a particularly potent batch of chile powder for me earlier in the day, and I added a judicious amount of that – probably a tablespoon – as well as additional ground cumin and some Mexican oregano, which I stirred through the onions. The bird went in next, with 5 or 6 cups of water, and I lidded the pot and let it simmer away for about a half hour, so the chicken could make its own stock. I fished out the chicken and the few bones that had fallen away from the carcass, and when it was cool enough I shredded the meat off in big chunks with my fingers, adding them back to the pot. The thawed hominy went in next – about 2 or 3 cups worth, and when it had all come back up to a simmer, I started tasting and adjusting the seasoning, adding enough freshly squeezed lime juice and salt to balance out the heat of the chiles.

I served it up in my favorite deep bowls, with a grating of cheese, some sliced radish and creamy avocado on top, and crunchy tortilla chips on the side (which were great crumbled into the broth). This was a warming, hearty meal on a snowy night, which didn’t require much in the way of time or energy to assemble, and it was a great use of that leftover roast chicken.

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