Mexican Pozole Rojo
December 30, 2010
Following the excesses of the holidays, my family and I generally run for the hills. Nestled in the rain drenched Santa Cruz Mountains, we seek the calm and quiet that comes with solitude. We explore, rest, and reconnect as a family. We also nourish ourselves with simple foods.
The last few years, we have spent the first day of our vacation brewing up a rich pot of pozole. This traditional Mexican soup has largely been overlooked by the American mainstream. While burritos, tacos, and enchiladas enjoy widespread name recognition, pozole continues to be a bit of a mystery to many people outside the folds of a Mexican family. It deserves to be discovered! Like most great soups, it is composed of the simplest of ingredients that transform into a richly flavored, satisfying supper.
This is an all day soup, but do not let that discourage you! Just because this soup cooks all day does not mean that you are cooking all day. Plus, a pot simmering on the stove gives us a fabulous excuse to stay in on these cold winter days and spend the day in our slippers. The soup begins with a pork shoulder rubbed in Chile powder, salt, and pepper, then slowly braised until the meat is falling from the bone. The chunks of pork are added to a base of sauteed onion and garlic, dried chiles, and chicken broth. These ingredients are simmered together with tomatoes and hominy for as long as you can spare. Upon serving, the soup is topped with shredded cabbage, cilantro, serrano peppers, and minced onion. The combination of hot soup studded with chunks of pork and hominy, cold raw crunchy veggies, and tangy fresh lime juice squeezed over the top has won over my family. My little man gave it “100 thumbs up!”
Mexican Pozole Rojo
adapted from Michele Anna Jordan
makes 10 servings
3-4 pounds pork shoulder or butt
2 tablespoons salt, plus more as needed
2 teaspoons Chile powder
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels. Mix together the salt, pepper, and Chile powder. Rub all over the meat. Place roast in a covered oven-safe dish, add 1 1/2 cups of water and bake for 4-5 hours until meat is very tender. Remove from oven, set meat aside. Allow liquid in pot to cool, then skim fat from the top. Reserve remaining liquid for the soup.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
Black pepper, freshly ground
2-3 dried chiles, preferably ancho/ pasilla, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes.
6 cups chicken stock or broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 28-ounce cans hominy, drained
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large soup pot. Saute onions, stirring frequently, until translucent and fragrant, but not brown. Add garlic and saute 2 more minutes. Add oregano, broth, tomatoes, and hominy. Once the chiles have been soaked and are pliable, tear them open and discard the stem and seeds. Using the back of a knife, scrape the inner flesh of the chile and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer partially covered for 45 minutes or so.
When pork is tender, chop into chunks of desired size. Add meat and reserved braising liquid to the soup. Simmer another 30 minutes or more if you have the time. Season again with salt and pepper.
2 limes cut in wedges
2 cups green cabbage, thinly shredded
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
1/2 cup minced white onion
2 serrano peppers, thinly sliced
Corn tortillas- hot
Serve hot soup in individual bowls. Create a garnish platter for each individual to top their soup to their liking. Hot tortillas can be dipped in the soup or used to roll up the pork and hominy into mini tacos.
Here is a printer-friendly version of the recipe: Mexican Pozole Rojo
You may also like: