Pozole...this is one of the few Mexican dishes that I did not grow up with. (A real shame if you ask me!) The only kind of Pozole that I ever tasted was the kind you find in a can with a lovely señorita on the label. Pappy bought a can once, thinking it was Menudo. What came out of the can was a few pieces of chopped pork, lots of hominy and a red goop with way too many spices. Although this was our only experience with Pozole, we decided that we weren't Pozole people.
Fast forward to many years later, during my mother-in-law's first visit to the U.S. She prepared a wonderful pork and hominy soup, seasoned with ancho chilies and garlic. When the bowls were served, I noticed that everyone was squeezing fresh lime juice over the soup, then garnishing their bowls with shredded cabbage, chopped onion and sliced radishes. The first taste of this soup was like an explosion of flavors. I had to have more! And I needed to know the name of what I was eating. When my mother-in-law said that it was Pozole, I immediately thought of that canned nightmare. She lovingly laughed, then told me that you can't get good Mexican food from a can!
Pozole is a very traditional dish in Mexico. It is often reserved for special occasions such as birthdays, Christenings, First Communions and during the holiday season. In Mexico, Pozole is prepared using Maiz Negro (dried purple hominy). The Maiz Negro needs to be cooked with lye a day in advanced. This helps to soften the hominy and to remove the outer skin.
Don't get scared! I'm not going to make you do all that work. I'm not a fan of using canned foods, but in this case I've made an exception. The only can that I was able to find was a 3 kilo can. That's 6 pounds of hominy. That's not only a lot, but way too much. I checked online and found that there is a 29-ounce can available. That should be enough. My mother-in-law says that you need equal parts of hominy and meat. So take that into consideration, but feel free to use more hominy.
- 2 pounds pork shoulder roast
- 3 dried ancho chilies
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 quarts water
- 1 (29 oz.) can white hominy, drained and rinsed
- Shredded cabbage
- Chopped Onion
- Sliced Radishes
- Tapatio Hot Sauce (optional)
Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks. Place the pork shoulder in a 6-quart stockpot; add water and 1 teaspoon of the salt to the stockpot. Bring the pork shoulder to a boil over high heat; let boil for 30 minutes, skimming off the foam that forms. Reduce heat to low and let simmer until the meat is tender.
While the meat is simmering, place the ancho chilies in a heatproof bowl. Pour 1 to 2 cups of the meat broth over the chilies. Let the chilies soak until they have softened completely. Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. Place chilies in blender with the broth they were soaked in and the garlic cloves. Puree until very smooth.
Using a strainer, pour the puree mixture into the stockpot with the meat. (Spoon a couple of ladles full of broth over the chile puree to get all the great chile flavor.) Carefully, add the hominy to the stockpot. Season with the additional teaspoon of salt. Let simmer for atleast 30 minutes. Taste the broth to see if it needs more salt, adding more if necessary. Turn off the Pozole and let sit for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
To serve, have all of the garnishes on the table and let your family or guests serve themselves. Be sure to have plenty of crunchy tostadas on the side. Enjoy!!!
Love Pozole? Check out my recipes for Pozolillo Rojo (Red Chicken Pozole) & Pozolillo Verde (Green Chicken Pozole)