It’s Cinco de Mayo and you have nothing planned for dinner. Don’t despair! Run to the grocery, pick up a few things, dump them into your Instant Pot, and in an hour you’ll have a delicious, traditional Mexican Posole on the table. Add a quick Mezcal Margarita to the menu and Cinco de Mayo will be wrapped up in an Instant (Pot)!
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Soundtrack for today: “Alexa, play Canciones de Mi Padre by Linda Ronstadt”
Somehow, the fact that today is Cinco de Mayo escaped my notice. It wasn’t until the end of the day yesterday that I heard someone at work mention it. I had to do something fast! Luckily, I have plenty of Instant Pot recipes in my arsenal, including this one for Chicken Posole Verde. A quick trip to the grocery and I had just what I needed to put together a delicious, traditional meal.
Posole: a quick and delicious go-to Cinco de Mayo meal
The star of posole, a traditional Mexican stew, is hominy: yellow or white field corn that has been soaked in an alkali solution to remove the hull and germ of the kernels. This ancient process results in kernels that are puffed up to twice their normal size with a pleasantly chewy texture. Corn tortillas are made with dried and ground hominy and grits are nothing more than dried and ground hominy that has been simmered.
There are many versions of posole, but we love chicken posole in a green base made from tomatillos, cilantro, and chilies. Fresh tomatillos are available year round at my favorite grocery store, but if you can’t find them fresh, look for canned tomatillos. Another alternative is to use salsa verde in place of the tomatillos and chilies. Here in Vermont, I’m always able to find hominy, and if I can find it here, I’m sure it can be found anywhere, particularly in larger grocery stores. It’s actually something that I like to keep in my pantry for just such an occasion.
Putting the posole together is a snap when you use your Instant Pot. Whiz the veggies up in a blender and pour over chicken and drained hominy. My Instant Pot is a 6-quart model and the ingredients come right up to the MAX line. If you have a 3-quart model, you’ll need to cut the recipe in half. Set it for 20 minutes at high pressure and when it beeps that it’s finished, release the pressure manually. Shred the chicken and serve with avocados and cilantro. What could be quicker and easier?
What’s Cinco de Mayo without a Margarita?
People look at me funny when I tell them I love tequila. I think that’s because I’ve never had a “bad experience” with it. My friends who have swear they’ll never touch it again. Until you hand them a margarita, that is! My friend Chris, with whom I recently toured Missouri wine country, told me that her new favorite way to have margaritas is with mezcal so I decided to try it. Mezcal is made from the heart of the agave plant and has a lovely smoky flavor. To make a perfect margarita, shake up 2 oz mezcal, 1 oz fresh lime juice, and 1/2 oz agave. Pour over ice in a salt-rimmed tumbler and garnish with a slice of lime.
I know you’ll love this stew as much as we do. It’ll be your new go-to Mexican meal when you’re short on time. And I’m sure you’ll love the margarita because, well… Margarita! I’d love to hear what you think of it–let me know in the comments. Enjoy and happy Cinco de Mayo!
A quick and easy go-to Mexican stew to throw into your Instant Pot when you're short on time.
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts halves
- 3 30 oz cans hominy drained
- 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos de-husked and rinsed
- 2 medium poblanos seeded and coarsely chopped
- 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
- 1-2 large jalapeno(s) seeded and coarsely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 small bunch cilantro coarsely chopped (set some aside for serving)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon epazote optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 4 cups chicken broth
- juice of one lime
- avocado cubes for serving
- lime wedges for serving
- cilantro for serving
Put chicken and drained hominy into Instant Pot.
Add tomatillos through pepper to the jar of a blender, cover, and whiz until smooth. You may have to put as much as you can in, whiz it, then add the rest and whiz it some more.
Pour the contents of the blender jar over the chicken and hominy in the Instant Pot. Pour some of the chicken broth into the blender jar, cover, and whiz. Pour over ingredients in the Instant Pot. Pour the rest of the broth into the Instant Pot. Watch the maximum line--don't go over it.
Cover Instant Pot and make sure the steam release handle is pushed to "sealing"; set to 20 minutes at high pressure. It will take about 10-20 minutes for the contents to come up to temperature/pressure, at which point your 20 minute timer will begin counting down.
When 20 minutes is up and your timer beeps, hit Cancel and manually open the pressure valve. When the float valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Remove the chicken to a plate and shred it; add it back to the Instant Pot, along with the lime juice. Give it a stir, adjust seasonings, and serve with avocado, cilantro, and lime wedges. Enjoy!
This stew is even better the next day. If it's thicker than you like on the second day, just add a little more chicken broth or some water. Reheat on medium-low heat in a saucepan on the stovetop.