RonO (rono_60103) wrote,

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Pasole time

Today is the holiday potluck for my new team. Following on with a personal tradition dating 15 or more years, I'm bringing a pot of pasole(*). Since the pasole needs to be kept hot, it is sitting in a crock pot on my desk, which is making me hungry.

This potluck marks the third different company where I've supplied pasole to a holiday potluck, and at Motorola I supplied it to at least two different series of potlucks -- the EMX (more or less) teams and the support center. Over the years I've gotten some interesting reactions.

The first or second year I made it for Motorola I was in the support center. I supplied a label claiming that it was "Authentic New Mexican Pasole, made by an Native New Mexican." This is completely accurate since I was born and reared in New Mexico. What I forgot is that one of the other people in the support center also grew up in Albuquerque (he lived in the South Valley, I lived in the North Valley). To add to the confusion, he has a Hispanic name (Montoya, IIRC). Needless to say, he kept getting complimented on the pasole and was trying to figure out who had brought it. His confusion was made worse since he'd forgotten that I was also from Albuquerque.

When I worked for Sony ten years ago, there were a large number of Japanese engineers on the team, as well as other people from various parts of Asia. Therefore, one of the admins had provided a large pot of rice. As I often have (but didn't this year) I provided bowls. During the eating, I observed a number of people filling their bowls with rice, then putting the pasole on top. At the time this was an interesting choice. In retrospect, this isn't that surprising since that is the way that stews are commonly eaten in much of Asia -- and is how I regularly eat Indian and Chinese food.

(*)If you don't know, pasole is a stew made up of pasole {confused yet} -- which is basically white hominy -- and pork. My mom learned that a key trick is to use chicken broth instead of water to cook the pasole, so that is the bulk of the liquid. It is seasoned with red chili and garlic. I use red chili powder, and my mom uses frozen Bueno red chili paste. I use the powder, and dried pasole, since they do not require refrigeration to keep, where the frozen chili paste and the fresh pasole have to be kept frozen. Neither of these key ingredients seem to be easily available outside of New Mexico -- although I'll confess to having never looked in any Mexican grocery stores. Generally, I just get the dry product every few years and keep the pasole in the refrigerator and the chili powder with the rest of the spices.

Also, for what it is worth, with the exception of one episode of Dinner Impossible, I've always heard the dish called "pasole" when cooked with pork, and "menudo" when cooked with tripe. I was very startled when watching the aforementioned Dinner Impossible to hear the people from New Mexico calling the dish "pasole" when they were making it with tripe. Personally, I've never tried menudo, not being able to get past the "ick" factor of eating trip.


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