H is for Hominy! What Is It and How Is It Used?

Once you've had hominy, you're not likely to forget it! These big kernels of corn are puffy and chewy with a very unique flavor owing to a special processing technique. We absolutely love hominy and would eat it a lot more except for one problem: we only know of one or two recipes that use it. What do you cook with hominy?

Hominy is made from whole corn kernels that have been soaked in a lye or lime solution to soften the tough outer hulls. The kernels are then washed to remove the excess solution, the hull, and often the germ. You can find ready-to-eat hominy in cans, but we prefer the texture and flavor we get when we cook it ourselves. (You cook dried hominy exactly like dried beans.)

Hominy is also sometimes cracked to make samp, coarsely ground into grits, or very finely ground to make masa flour. In these other forms, hominy is used as a thickener for stew, to make tortillas and tamales, or as a dish all on its own.

But right now we're interested in whole hominy! We absolutely love these chewy little nubs, but we have trouble thinking of dishes to use it in. We add it to posole, of course, and have tried it in a cheesy casserole. The problem as we see it is that hominy's sour-mineral flavor doesn't always work in every dish. It can also overwhelm side dishes but get lost in main dishes.

Do you have a great recipe that uses hominy? Please share!

Related: Sense of Place: Southwestern Flavors and Ingredients

(Images: Amazon.com and Flickr member swanksalot licensed under Creative Commons)