Have I mentioned I love Mexican food? Pozole (Pork and Hominy Stew) on a cold winter day is fabulous. Pozole is a traditional soup that originated in the pacific region of pre-Columbian Mexico. It is a well known cure for hangovers and is often eaten in the wee hours of the morning as a preventive. There is Pozole Blanco (white), Pozole Verde (Green) and Pozole Rojo (Red). Opinions on Pozole run the gamut among Mexicans like Chili with Texans and Gumbo with Cajuns. Pozole Blanco is colored mainly by the corn. Pozole Rojo adds blended rehydrated red chiles darkening the color adding an earthiness, richer character and depth of flavor. Pozole Verde adds tomatillos, pumpkin seeds, and cilantro. This recipe is a very authentic, traditional Mexican Pozole Rojo (No canned hominy here). I hope you enjoy it.
For the Pozole
- 1 lb. dried Hominy corn
- 1/2 head garlic, cloves broken apart, peeled, and halved
- 2 lb. pork shanks, cut into 1½-inch-thick pieces
- 3½ lb. bone-in pork shoulder, cut into large pieces
- 4 medium dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 1½ Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano
- 1½ tsp Cumin
- 2 large white onions, rather finely chopped
Condiments for Serving
- 3 limes, cut into wedges
- 6 cups thinly sliced cabbage
- 15 radishes, thinly sliced
- 12 corn tostadas or tortillas
Cook the corn. Measure 3 quarts of water into a 10+ quart pot and add the hominy and garlic. Bring to a boil, partially cover the pot, and simmer gently over medium-low heat until the corn is thoroughly tender — at a minimum, between 3 – 4 hours. Add water as necessary to keep the water level more or less constant. Slower, longer cooking only means better pozole.
Cook the meat. While the corn is simmering, place all the meats in another large pot, cover with 4 quarts of water, add 2 tablespoons salt, and bring to a boil. Skim off the grayish foam that rises during the next few minutes, then add half the chopped onions leaving the rest for condiments at serving. Partially cover the pot and simmer over medium-low heat until all the meat is thoroughly tender, about 2 hours. Remove the meat from the broth and let cool.
Skim the fat from the broth; you should have have 2+ quart broth. Pull the meat from the pork shanks and pull the shoulder meat into large shreds. Discard the bones and then chop the meat 1 inch pieces. Add to the shredded meat (there should be about 5 cups meat in all). Cover and refrigerate if not serving within an hour.
Season the pozole. While the corn and meat are cooking, rehydrate the ancho chiles in enough hot water to cover (lay a small plate on top to keep them submerged) for about 20 minutes. Purée the chiles, liquid and all, in a blender or food processor.
When the corn is tender, press the chile mixture through a medium-mesh strainer directly into the simmering liquid. Add the pork broth, oregano, cumin and 1 tablespoon salt, partially cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
Serve. When you’re ready to serve, set out bowls of the condiments for your guests to add to their steaming, fragrant bowlfuls: the lime wedges, sliced cabbage or lettuce, sliced radishes, oregano, and onion.
Add the meat to the simmering pozole and check the consistency. It should look hearty yet brothy enough to be thought of as a soup or thin stew. If necessary, add water. Taste the pozole and season with additional salt. Be forewarned that hominy soaks up a surprising amount of salt and you may need as much as another tablespoon.
Serve and Enjoy!