Spicy Pork Stew with Hominy and Collard Greens

Serve this Spicy Pork Stew with warm tortillas, thinly-sliced jalapeños, and plenty of lime. You'll be glad you have leftovers.

Delightfully warm and earthy, this soup is the perfect antidote to holiday stress

Have you ever tasted a dish and felt instantly transported home, or noticed the flavors of food coursing through your veins, binding you to a place so real that you’d swear you were back in your grandmother’s kitchen? This Spicy Pork Stew with Hominy and Collard Greens, courtesy of  New York Times Cooking, is that dish for me.

The blend of colors, flavors, and textures in this stew give each bite rich character.

Tender chunks of pork rest in a spice-laden broth that achieves depth and complexity while still remaining fresh. A base of onions and garlic, along with traditional Mexican spices, forms a savory foundation. And the collard greens, added during the final stages of cooking, bring texture while infusing the stew with rich nutrients. Traditional garnishes of fresh cilantro, thinly-sliced radishes, jalapeños, cubed avocado, and lime achieve a playful blend of colors and textures that elevate an already delicious dish to its sublime status.

Cubed chunks of pork are browned on all sides and then simmered for fall-apart tenderness in every bite.

But the real star of this show is the hominy. Soaking the kernels overnight and then patiently simmering them allows their earthy goodness to imbue every aspect of this dish, leaving your kitchen smelling like a warm stack of homemade tortillas. In fact, maybe that's why this dish reaches down and pulls so insistently at my past. When we were little, my sister and I used to walk up the street every morning to retrieve the day's tortillas from a local woman. She would take the damp kitchen towels we'd brought with us and carefully wrap these perfectly-formed discs, fresh off of the comal. Walking home was an exercise in restraint. It took great discipline just to make it the block-and-a-half home without peeking. I couldn't wait to get home and spread a little butter, salt, and lime on one of those handmade tortillas. When we did finally make it through the kitchen door, our patience was rewarded. Those first bites were well worth the wait.

Not only is this Spicy Pork Stew with Hominy and Collard Greens delicious on Day 1, it also freezes -- and reheats -- beautifully. The flavors only deepen over time.

So it is with this stew. From start to finish, not including the overnight soaking of the hominy, you're in for a three-hour journey. You will coax tenderness out of the pork and guide delicate flavors into the broth. And you will wait. But trust me on this: when you take that first bite -- and then the next one and the next -- you will be glad you didn't peek.

Spicy Pork Stew with Hominy and Collard Greens recipe courtesy of New York Times Cooking www.cooking.nytimes.com

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1 pound dried hominy (I use Rancho Gordo's dried hominy - www.ranchogordo.com)
3 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 2-inch square chunks
1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
I tsp. black pepper
3 tbsp. peanut or safflower oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tbsp. New Mexican chile powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. Mexican oregano
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
1 chipotle in adobo sauce
1 (12-oz) bottle lager-style beer
2 pounds collard greens, center rib removed, leaves roughly chopped
Lime wedges, for serving
Cilantro leaves, for serving
Diced avocado, for serving
Diced radish, for serving
(optional) Sliced jalapeños, for serving


Soak the hominy in plenty of water overnight. Drain.

Season the pork all over with 1 tsp. salt and the black pepper. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sear the meat in batches until well-browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

Add the onion to the pot and cook until soft, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, chile powder, cumin, oregano, bay leaf, and cinnamon. Cook 1 minute. Return pork to pot. Stir in the chipotle, hominy, beer, 6 cups of water and 2 tsp. of salt. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours more until meat and hominy are tender, adding water as needed if too thick. Stir in collards for last 20 minutes. Discard bay leaf and cinnamon. Taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle into bowls; garnish with lime, cilantro, avocado, radish and, if using, jalapeño slices. Serve with a warm tortilla.

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