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Published: Tuesday, 5/11/2004

Posole de Perlita

For the soup:

3 pounds bone-in pork shoulder, cut into 4 pieces

3 pounds pig's feet, neck bones, or shanks, cut into 2-inch-thick pieces (have the butcher cut these for you)

2 large white onions, quartered

2 whole heads garlic, halved across the middle

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons sea salt

4 cups fully cooked Mexican hominy (see cook's note)

1 recipe Ancho Chile Sauce (recipe follows)

For garnish, optional:

Coarsely ground dried red chile

Dried Mexican oregano

Finely chopped white onion

Halved lemons and limes

Finely chopped red cabbage

Thinly sliced radishes

Diced avocado

Cook's note: Mexican-style hominy is found in Latin-American groceries. Try to buy half-cooked hominy from a tortilla factory and finish cooking at home. Fully cooked canned hominy is available at most grocery stores.

Rinse the meat and the bones. Place in a large stock pot, and cover with 5 quarts cold water. Add the onions, garlic, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 2 1/2 hours. Occasionally skim off any foam that rises to the surface. The meat is finished when it falls easily from the bones. Remove the pot from the heat and cool.

Remove the meat from the broth, shred into large chunks, and set aside. Discard the bones, skin, fat, and knuckles. Skim the fat from the broth and discard. Add the hominy to the broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook until the hominy softens and expands, about 30 minutes. Return the meat to the broth. Taste and reseason if necessary. Cover and keep warm.

Arrange any or all of the garnishes in serving bowls. Ladle the soup with meat into large heated serving bowls. Pass the garnishes and Ancho Chile Sauce at the table. Transfer any leftover soup into smaller shallow containers so they cool quickly before refrigerating.

Yield: Serves 10 to 12

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