For chef Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz (Tewa, Tiwa, Mexican, Spanish), the kitchen is where “medicine and nourishment are made.” Following in the footsteps of her grandmother, a traditional healer, Ruiz serves up plantbased knowledge and recipes courtesy of her website, ruizenplace.com (a play off the French mise én place, for gathering ingredients for cooking).
Her vegetarian Green Water Posole celebrates flavors of the Southwest and does justice to the humble and common nixtamal. The green part contrasts with the posole in that it’s a little tangy and fresh. I had never used tomatillos and epazote before, but there are several Mexican grocery stores in Albuquerque where I live, so it wasn’t hard to find. Epazote is a Mexican tealeaf that gives this filling soup a unique flavor.
1 head of garlic
1 white onion, halved
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
2 lbs frozen/fresh nixtamal, rinsed well
2 quarts vegetable or turkey stock
½ cup raw pumpkin seeds
6 tomatillos, husked and quartered
1 white onion, diced
1 garlic clove, large
2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed
1 bunch of fresh epazote, trimmed
In a large soup pot, add all ingredients for posole. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, cover and cook until posole blossoms, about 2 hours. Add more stock or water if needed. Remove the halved garlic when done. In the meantime, add the green water ingredients to a blender with 1 cup water to get the blender moving. Puree until smooth. Add green water to the soup and cook for another half hour or longer to marry the flavors. Add sea salt to taste. Serve with warm corn tortillas.