Mote pata: Ecuadorian hominy, pork and peanut soup

Mote pata: I call this the Ecuadorian pozole – without the peppers.  And thicker.  Mote pata is a soup traditionally served during Carnaval in Cuenca, the third largest city in Ecuador.  Now, Carnaval in Ecuador is quite different from Carnaval in Brazil.  Different regions in Ecuador have different ways of celebrating it.  For instance, in Guayaquil (where I’m from) we have the tradition of throwing balloons full of water at people.  When you’re a kid, this is tons of fun.  You can get together with your friends and have an awesome water balloon fight.  When you’re a professional adult, walking down the street trying to get to work and suddenly you get whacked by a water balloon – notsomuch.  Not to mention that many times, the water balloon throwing was done several stories ABOVE the sidewalks.  Yeah, that hurts.  If balloons are not available, not to worry!  Just get a bucket, fill it with water and dump it on the innocent bystander.  ¡Carnavalazo!   That’s what it’s called…

The good thing is that, it is not like this all over the country.  For instance, in Ambato, a beautiful city located in the Ecuadorian Andes region, people celebrate Carnaval through a festival dedicated to celebrate the flowers and the fruits of the region.  This celebration is known as La Fiesta de las Flores y Las Frutas.  Think of it as the Ecuadorian Rose Parade for Carnaval.  People dress up in festive and colorful costumes, and ride floats decorated with beautiful and bright flowers and fruits.  It is typical that during Carnaval in Ambato, people feast on some delicious Llapingacho, probably one of my favorite Ecuadorian meals.

Now, back to the Mote Pata.  Although the name would suggest that there are feet or hocks involved (pata), this is not true.  This soup is made of hominy and pork, with a hint of peanuts for creaminess.  As with many Ecuadorian soups, mote pata contains milk.  After experimenting, I am going to tell you that milk is optional.  While milk helps the soup thicken, if it gets too hot, it curdles and I am not a fan.  Instead, we will puree some of the hominy with the peanut (I used peanut butter), which will then add the thickness and creaminess this soup calls for.  Should you wish to add the milk, add it right before serving and cook in low heat for 5 minutes.

 Cookery instruments needed:

A medium pot, a large stock pot or dutch oven, a blender or food processor, a strainer and a spatula or ladle.

Cookery ingredients needed:

Mote pata ingredients

Hominy: 3 cups, cooked (may use canned hominy); bone-in pork chops: 1 pound; yellow onions: 1 cup, diced; garlic: 2 whole cloves plus additional 3 cloves, minced; peanut butter: 1/3 cup; water: 4+ cups; milk (optional): 1 cup; (not pictured) – ground achiote powder: 1/4 tsp; ground cumin: 1 tsp; ground black pepper: 1/2 tsp; salt: 1 tsp + more to taste;  Garnishes (not pictured): hard boiled eggs: sliced, avocados: sliced.

Cooking pork and broth

Pork broth

In a medium pot, place the water with the pork chops and the two whole garlic cloves, and cook in medium heat for 30-45 minutes until the pork is cooked.

Chopping pork chops

Once cooked, place the pork chops on a chopping board and cut into small pieces.  Reserve the stock, discarding the garlic cloves.

Puree hominy and peanut butter

Hominy/PB puree

In a food processor, add 1 cup of the cooked hominy, the peanut butter and 1/2 cup of the stock and process until smooth.  Set aside.

Preparing refrito

Refrito

In a large dutch oven, heat some vegetable oil, and add the onions and the garlic.  Season the refrito with the ground achiote powder, the ground pepper, ground cumin and salt.  Cook until the onions turn translucent.

Sauteeing hominy and puree

Sauteeing hominy and puree

Add the rest of the hominy and the hominy/peanut butter puree and sautee along with the refrito.

Adding stock to mote pata soup

Pour the remaining of the stock, plus an additional cup of water, and cook for 10 minutes in medium heat until the soup begins to thicken.

Adding pork to mote pata

Add the chopped pork and stir.  Cook for another 5 minutes until all the flavors are incorporated.

Adding milk - optional

Optional:  Add the milk to the soup to add more thickness and cook at low heat for another 5 minutes.  Make sure you are always stirring so that the milk doesn’t curdle.  What I did is ration how much I was going to eat, and add the milk just to that portion.

Mote pata: Ecuadorian hominy, pork and peanut soup

Mote pata: Ecuadorian hominy, pork and peanut soup

Serve warm and garnish with slices of hard boiled eggs, or avocado, or both!  ¡Buen provecho!

Mote Pata: Pork, Hominy and Peanut Soup

Ingredients

    For the broth + meat
  • 1 lb. bone-in pork chops
  • 2 whole garlic cloves
  • 4 cups of water
  • For the rest of the soup
  • 1 cup of water
  • 3 cups cooked hominy (may use canned hominy)
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground achiote (annato powder)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt + more to taste
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used chunky, but smooth works as well)
  • 1 cup milk (optional, and generally for all my recipes I use skim)
  • For garnish
  • Hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • Avocado, sliced

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, make the broth with the water, the pork chops and the whole garlic cloves. Cook for 30-45 minutes until the pork is done.
  2. Place the pork on a chopping board and cut in small pieces. Set aside.
  3. Reserve the rest of the stock, removing the whole garlic cloves.
  4. In a food processor, puree 1 cup of the cooked hominy with the peanut butter and 1/2 cup of the broth. Process until smooth. Set aside.
  5. In a large dutch oven, make a refrito by heating up some vegetable oil and sauteeing the onions with the garlic. Season with the ground achiote, ground pepper, cumin and salt. Sautee until the onions turn translucent.
  6. Add the remaining of the hominy and the hominy/peanut butter puree. Stir to incorporate all the ingredients. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  7. Add the rest of the stock plus the additional cup of water. Stir and cook for 10 minutes in medium heat to thicken the soup.
  8. Add the chopped pork and cook for another 5 more minutes. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
  9. Optional: Add the cup of milk and cook for 5 minutes on low heat to thicken the soup a bit more. Make sure to stir constantly so that the milk doesn't curdle.
  10. Serve inmediately and garnish with slices of hard boiled eggs or avocados.
http://www.tstastybits.com/2012/02/mote-pata-ecuadorian-pork-hominy-and-peanut-soup/