November 21, 2012

Catching up with a pop culture phenomenon

It's one of the great American snack foods, and with very little fuss, you can make your own gourmet popcorn.

By Wendell Brock / McClatchy Newspapers

(Continued from page 2)

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Popcorn is a centuries-old simple food that has gone gourmet. Nutty-cheese popcorn features Parmesan, pistachios and cashews.

McClatchy Newspapers photos

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Gladys’s Popcorn Balls are studded with bacon.


Servings: Eight to 10

This recipe calls for soaking and boiling the hominy as you would with dried legumes. It's time consuming but well worth it. Just make sure the kernels are as dry as possible before frying, and have a lid handy to cover the pot and avoid splatters. Dried hominy can be found at Latin food markets; I like the large Peruvian variety labeled as "peeled mote corn." The next time I do this, I am going to add a hint of cinnamon to the spice mix.

1 pound dried hominy (pozole), soaked overnight

1 large white onion, cut in half

1 head garlic, cut in half

1 carrot, cut in half

2 bay leaves

½ teaspoon dried thyme (or about 15 sprigs fresh thyme)

1 tablespoon salt, divided

¼ cup paprika

½ teaspoon mustard powder

½ teaspoon ginger powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon chipotle or other chili powder

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ tablespoon sugar

Cooking oil for frying (canola, corn grape-seed or any flavorless oil)

Lime wedges

Drain hominy and combine in a stockpot with onion, garlic, carrot, bay leaves, thyme and water to cover. Cook 1 to 1½ hours, until kernels are tender and just beginning to split. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste). Let sit for ½ hour, then strain and remove vegetables. Continue to strain as kernels cool; hominy can be refrigerated at this point for up to two days.

Mix paprika, mustard powder, ginger powder, garlic powder, onion powder, chipotle or chili powder, cumin, coriander, sugar and remaining 2 teaspoons salt. Taste to adjust seasonings. Set aside.

Make sure kernels are as dry as possible. (You may want to dab or roll them in paper towels or a dish towel). Pour about 2 inches of oil in a deep pot, and heat to 375 degrees. Pour hominy into pot, in batches if necessary. If oil spatters, partially cover pot. Fry, stirring occasionally, until kernels begin to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Toss with salt and spice mix. Serve with lime wedges.

Variation: Use sweet smoked paprika (pimenton) mixed with a little ancho chili powder and salt. Or sprinkle with salt and your favorite vinegar.

Per serving: 140 calories (percent of calories from fat, 51), 2 g protein, 15 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 8 g fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 926 mg sodium.


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