It takes a few hours to cook dried hominy from scratch, but ready-to-eat chewy nuggets of this large-kernel field corn are readily available in cans, usually in the Latin section of supermarkets.
Combine the hominy with mahogany kidney beans to make a hearty, protein-rich, vegetarian stew. Diced tomatoes brighten the mix, and chunks of zucchini cooked tender-crisp make a good counterpart to the mellow beans and hominy. Serve the chili with Southwestern Mini-Loaves, if you like.
Yield: Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons chili powder, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon granulated garlic
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cans (14.5 ounces each) diced tomatoes with green chiles, preferably fire-roasted, with liquid
1 can (15 ounces) white or yellow hominy, drained and rinsed
1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup diced roasted red bell pepper, preferably fire-roasted
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
Lime wedges, for serving
½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, for serving
In a heavy 4-quart Dutch oven, heat the oil. Stir in the onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it begins to soften, 2 to 3 minutes. Lower the heat to medium. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, garlic, and cinnamon, and cook for another minute. Stir in the oregano.
Add the tomatoes, hominy, beans, and zucchini. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and additional chili powder, if needed. Bring to a boil.
Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer until the zucchini is tender but still firm, 8 to 12 minutes.
Stir in the roasted red pepper and cilantro just before serving. Ladle into soup bowls and accompany with bowls of lime wedges and grated cheese.
Speed Tip: Using canned diced tomatoes with chiles included saves you the trouble of buying and preparing fresh chilies.
• If you are not partial to spicy food, use diced tomatoes without added chiles.
• If you like very hot food, add pureed chipotle in adobo to taste along with the chili powder.
• Brown ½ to 1 pound of ground pork in the heated oil. Then stir in the onion and proceed as directed.