Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pork Confit Summer Posole

Here's a decidedly non-traditional posole that I just made for dinner to use up some leftover pork confit and some fresh corn. Tradition or no, it is delicious.

1 cup duck fat from pork confit
3 large poblano chiles, diced
2 large onions, diced
4 ears corn, shaved, cobs reserved
1/4 cup minced garlic
stems from one bunch cilantro, finely minced
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup ancho chile paste
16 ounces pork confit
1 #10 can hominy
1-1/2 gallons pork stock

Heat the duck fat in a large soup pan (to hold 2-1/2 gallons soup) and add the chiles, onions, corn, corn cobs, garlic, cilantro, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves. Cook over high heat, stirring as necessary, until the onions become translucent. Add the chile paste and stir well. Add the pork confit, hominy, and pork stock. Bring to a simmer and simmer until the vegetables are tender, approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Season to taste. This recipe does not call for salt because pork confit is salty in its own right.

Remove the bay leaves and corn cobs from the soup and discard them. The corn cobs add both flavor and a touch of corn starch to the soup. The starch adds a hint of body.

I like to serve a garnish plate with my posole: fresh cilantro, lime wedges, finely diced white onion, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes.

Pork Confit

This is the classic French curing and preserving technique traditionally used for goose and duck, extended to pork shoulder. The results are so worth the effort.

Two large pork shoulders, about 15 pounds, cut in 3" cubes.
2 cups kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground juniper berries
2 ounces fresh thyme branches
2-3 gallons duck fat, as necessary

In a large non-reactive pan, rub the pork cubes with the salt, juniper, and thyme. Cover and refrigerate for 48 hours. Remove, rinse off the salt and thyme, and drain well. Place in a large braising pan. Melt the duck fat and pour enough over the pork to cover. Place in a slow (200-250F) oven and cook until meltingly tender, 8-12 hours. Remove pork from duck fat and place on sheet trays and chill rapidly. Place the chilled pork in a large metal storage container and pour the reserved duck fat over to seal the pork entirely. Refrigerate.

While pork confit can be used immediately, it is better after it ages for a few weeks. To use, place the metal container on a broiler or in the oven to melt the fat. Remove the amount of confit necessary. Let the fat resolidify over the remaining confit. Add more duck fat if necessary to cover.


  1. Where's the best place for home cooks here in Virginia to buy large quantities of duck fat?

  2. Josh, no clue, but I can sell it to you in 2-gallon buckets. Let me know if you'd like some. Ed.