As for the heat, it’s strictly up to the cook. The type of chile used will determine the heat. Anchos, red Californias and guajillos are milder; Chimayos, Arbols and New Mexico hot reds will exercise your sweat glands.
Posole, also spelled pozole, is also the Spanish word for hominy. It’s a corn kernel soaked and cooked in limewater and hulled. It’s used to make masa for tamales and tortillas. The dish can be made with dried hominy or canned. If you start from scratch with dry hominy, you’ll end up with a thicker version. Canned hominy is obviously much faster. Whether from scratch or poured from a can, this comfort food from the Southwest is sure to become a holiday tradition in your home.
By the following Christmas, I had purchased my first car from Pat — a two-tone Caprice Classic repo job — and met her daughter, who did for my eyes what the posole had done for my taste buds. The posole I got for Christmas, but not the girl. I blame the Caprice.