Hominy and Bacon (adapted from Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking, 1958)

There’s not much to this recipe, but it’s too delicious not to write it up.  This is one of many treasures in Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking (1958) by the indomitable Elena Zelayeta.  Mrs. Zelayeta was a minor celebrity in her day, succeeding in business, publishing, and television in spite of being entirely blind.  Born to Spanish parents in Mexico, she emigrated to Northern California as a teenager.  Her recipes reflect both her Spanish heritage and her Mexican upbringing as well as her adult life in California.

Hominy is a distinctly American ingredient that traces its history back to ancient indigenous peoples.   Corn/maize is treated in an alkaline solution, known as nixtamalization, which transforms the texture and flavor of the corn into something entirely different.  Hominy may be rinsed, cooked, and eaten as is or ground into flour for grits or masa.  In my home growing up buttered hominy was a fixture of our evening meals.  No rhyme or reason or purposeful pairing with Mexican food.  My mom just liked it and served it as a vegetable, the same way that one might serve a can of green beans or frozen peas.  I don’t serve it near as often to my own family, but whenever I do I find myself thinking “we ought to have this more often.”

Hominy with Bacon is exactly what it claims to be.  Bacon is diced and fried until crisp, then mixed with drained, canned hominy.  Add a little bit of milk and cook until it evaporates and – ¡eso! – Hominy with Bacon.  To really make this something special use a good quality thick-cut bacon with a rich smoky flavor.  I’m biased towards applewood-smoked bacon because I have a good local source, but any high quality bacon will do.

The final dish is creamy and smoky and delicious, and will pair well with all sorts of different foods.  If you are serving Mexican food serve this in place of corn, or even as an alternative to rice in the traditional rice-and-beans pairing.  I served this to my family with Carne de Puerco con Chile Verde and Frijoles Puercas from the same cookbook, which made for an uncomfortably rich but memorable supper.   This would also be an excellent accompaniment to Southern style barbecue, with baked beans and braised greens, or even on its own for breakfast.  Easy start to finish.  Enjoy!


Hominy and Bacon (adapted from Elena’s Secrets of Mexican Cooking, 1958)

  • Preparation: 10 min
  • Cooking: 20 min
  • Ready in: 30 min
  • For: 6 side dish servings
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  1. Drain hominy and set aside.
  2. Chop bacon into small pieces. Cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until crispy brown, stirring frequently. Drain the excess fat, leaving about 1 tbsp in the saucepan.
  3. Add the hominy and milk, stir well, and cook over medium heat for 10-12 minutes until milk is mostly evaporated and absorbed into the hominy. The mixture should be creamy and not at all watery. Season with pepper to taste.

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