On frigid winter days, posole—a hearty medley of broth, meat, chiles, vegetables, and spices—provides comfort in a bowl. While chefs often change the ingredients and garnishes for this traditional soup, their concoctions always showcase hominy (hulled corn kernels). Here, four riffs on the old-fashioned original.
Chili Verde Two Mexican brothers raided their mother's recipes to bring this posole rojo (spiced with hot, red guajillo chiles) to Denver. The gigantic bowl is filled with hunks of pork, shredded lettuce, diced onion, and tender hominy, and is served with lime. 3700 Tejon St., 303-477-1377, www.chiliverde.net
Cook's Fresh Market We had to wait for about 10 minutes behind other eager soup aficionados to order a to-go cup of this posole verde (made with green chiles). But the wait was forgotten as we savored the hearty pieces of pork, pancetta, and chicken that were balanced with fragrant bits of celery, tomato, and carrot. Only available on Fridays; 1600 Glenarm Place, Suite 120, 303-893-2277, www.cooksfreshmarket.com
Tambien At this Cherry Creek restaurant, the posole is presented traditionally with sides of onion and cilantro, cabbage, radish, lime, and tortillas to garnish the savory broth, filled with hominy and pork. Offset the delicate heat with a sweet Negra Modelo lager. 250 Steele St., 303-333-1763, www.tambien-restaurant.com
Under the Umbrella Cafe and Bakery Call ahead to make sure this Congress Park coffeshop's sopa del dia is the Santa Fe chicken soup. While not a typical posole, this bowl's standout hominy and spicy kick make it a close cousin. Order a tortilla on the side to sop up chunks of chicken, black beans, tomatoes, and green chile. 3504 E. 12th Ave., 303-256-0797, www.undertheumbrellacafe.com