The Case of the Broken Can Opener

One of my favorite things to make when it’s just starting to get cold outside is posole. It’s surprisingly easy to prepare, especially with the use of a crock pot and canned, as opposed to dry, hominy. Dinner’s ready by 10am (with the exception of the hominy and chile, which are added a few minutes before serving) and the house smells yummy all day. Bring in some wood, start a fire and voilà! A cozy night indeed.

The only hitch in my plan? A cheap plastic–broken–can opener.

Busted can opener, post desert island solution

This is the worst can opener I’ve ever owned. The plastic handles were apparently never secured onto the top half of the opener, and getting them to stay in place while you punch the blade through the can’s lid is no easy task. Tonight it proved near impossible, as my boyfriend was left in charge of buying the hominy. I told him to get “the big can” and that’s exactly what he did–he got the 6-pounder. It proved too much for my dinky plastic can opener.

Now my cozy dinner was transformed into a desert island situation. How to get this monster can open without having to run out at seven o’clock? Ok, that’s not very late, but the fire’s going, the house is warm and smells like nearly-ready posole…who wants to go out? What other tool could I possibly use to wrench this sucker open?

The man of the house had the solution. If I’m ever stranded on a desert island, the tool I’d like to have is a pair of channel lock pliers. Today our trusty pliers not only assisted in the replacement of worn out washers causing the outside hoses to leak (leaks are unacceptable in our desert climate) but they saved dinner!

Thank you channel lock pliers! And thank you, Kabby, for helping to save dinner!

Here’s my favorite recipe for posole, which I found in an article titled “Tamales” by Felicia Lujan in Edible Santa Fe’s Winter 2008 issue.

Serves 20-24
4 cups dried posole
12 dried long red chiles
10 lbs. boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
½ head of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 large pinches of Mexican oregano
2 large onions, chopped
10–12 cups chicken stock
salt to taste
Pick over the posole and remove any debris or stones. Put the
posole in a 10-quart pot and cover with cold water by 3 inches.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 3 hours or until
tender, adding water as needed, until the kernels are soft and begin
to burst. Drain the posole and rinse well.
Break open chiles and remove the seeds and veins. Put chiles in a
medium sized pot and just cover with fresh water. Gently boil until
chiles are very soft. Let the mixture cool and, using a blender or
food processor, blend the chile and the water to make a paste.
In a large, heavy skillet, brown the pork in batches on medium heat.
When all the meat is browned, sauté the onions until translucent.
Put the browned pork, oregano, garlic, and onion into a large heavy
pot and cover with chicken stock. Boil meat gently for 30 minutes.
Taste broth and add salt. When the meat is soft, add the chile and
posole, and simmer for 20 minutes more.
To serve, ladle the posole into heavy bowls and serve with thinly
sliced cabbage and radishes, quartered

3 thoughts on “The Case of the Broken Can Opener

  1. We had a pair of channel lock pliers to turn our hot water on in the shower for years at my parents house. When it works, there is no motivation to fix it when your so busy. ;o)

  2. Pingback: Acknowledged by a Poet•Writer•Sommelier | My Voyage Through Time

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