30 by 30: Pozole (and Happy Cinco de Mayo!)

May 5, 2011 · 14 comments

in dairy-free,latin,mexican/tex-mex,pork,soups and stews

It’s only been in the past couple years that I’ve tried (and discovered I loved) hominy. It’s almost like a corn dumpling, if you will, and I think it’s a great addition to soups or casseroles.  I’ve only eaten pozole once, but I really loved it so I wanted to try my hand at making it at home, which is how it wound up on the 30 by 30 list.

Pozole is a pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico (thanks, Wikipedia!). It’s made with hominy and typically pork, but can be changed up several different ways. It’s a very substantial soup, flavorful and adorned with a multitude of toppings that are complementary both in taste and texture.

I found this soup to be very hearty and tasty overall, but was a bit underwhelmed with the broth flavor. It wasn’t quite rich or spicy enough for me. I’ve never cooked with New Mexico chiles before, so I’m not sure if they are just a very mild chile or if I  had a weak batch. They were very much a background flavor, and I would have liked to have them come through a little more.  Next time, I’ll use more chiles.  My broth also didn’t get have quite as much depth as I’d like, so I altered the recipe a bit below to swap out 2 cups of the water for 2 cups beef broth, which I think the soup would benefit from.  If this wasn’t a 30×30 post and I wasn’t under pressure to get all these done, I’d probably tweak it a bit before posting. :) Don’t get me wrong – as it stands, it’s a good pozole recipe (as referenced by the reviews), but I wanted a bit more oomph in mine.

Pozole Rojo

Adapted from Gourmet

1 large head garlic
10 cups water
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups beef broth
4 pounds country-style pork ribs
2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican), crumbled
2 ounces dried New Mexico red chiles
1 .5 cups boiling-hot water
1/4 large white onion
2 tsp. salt
2 (30-ounce) cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
8 corn tortillas
cooking spray oil/canola oil

Accompaniments (we used diced white onion, avocado, green onion, and lime wedges)

Peel garlic cloves, reservinge 2 for chile sauce and slicing the remaining garlic.  In a 7- to 8-quart heavy pot/Dutch oven, bring water and broth just to a boil with sliced garlic and pork. Skim surface and add oregano. Gently simmer pork, uncovered, until tender, about 1.5 hours.

While pork is simmering, discard stems from chiles and in a bowl combine chiles with boiling-hot water. Soak chiles, turning them occasionally, 30 minutes. Cut onion into large pieces and in a blender purée with chiles and soaking liquid, reserved garlic, and 1.5 tsp. salt until smooth.

Transfer pork with tongs to a cutting board and reserve broth mixture. Shred pork, using 2 forks, and discard bones.  Return pork to broth mixture and add chile sauce, hominy, and remaining 1/2 tsp. salt. Simmer pozole 30 minutes and, if necessary, season with salt. (Pozole may be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered.)

While pozole is simmering, preheat the oven to 425 and cut the tortillas into thin strips.  Brush or spray the strips with oil and then bake until crispy, about 8-10 minutes.

Serve pozole with tortilla strips and bowls of accompaniments.


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