Someone once said that "food is the most primitive form of comfort". I don't remember who said it or if those are even the exact words, but I do agree with it whole-heartedly. Food has the ability to comfort us and make us feel better, like a bowl of Caldo de Pollo (Chicken Soup), when you're feeling sick. A big bowl of creamy Macaroni and Cheese when you're feeling a little homesick. Or a couple of scoops of ice cream, after you've fallen and scraped your knee. Food soothes our souls like a warm embrace.
And that's exactly what we've needed to help us get through the last couple of weeks. For those of you that don't know, my beloved mother-in-law passed away last week. Her sudden passing has been devastating to us all. And while nothing can take away the pain of our loss, we can find comfort in the dishes she used to prepare for us, like her Pozole and Tostadas de Lomo, and the treasured memories they evoke.
As much as I longed for a bowl of my suegra's Pozole, I wasn't up for the time-consuming work of soaking the dried corn and rinsing it, then cooking it again waiting for it to soften. And I didn't want to cheat by using canned hominy, like I usually do. So, I settled for something a little easier, but just as warm and inviting...Pozolillo Rojo. Pozolillo has all the same great flavor of regular Pozole, but it's made with chicken and fresh corn, and takes a lot less time to prepare. Like Pozole, Pozolillo Rojo is flavored with dried ancho chilies and garlic, but there's also a green version called Pozolillo Verde, made with tomatillos and roasted poblano peppers.
(Red Chicken and Fresh Corn Pozole)
- 2 pounds bonesless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in bite-size pieces
- 3 cups fresh corn kernels (I used maiz negro -a reddish-purple corn- but any color corn will do)
- 3 dried ancho chilies
- 2 cloves garlic
- Shredded cabbage
- Chopped red onion
- Thinly sliced radishes
- Lime wedges
Fill a 3-quart pot with 8 to 10 cups of water, depending on how much broth you want. Add the chicken, corn kernels and one clove of garlic; season with salt. Cover pot and bring soup to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 45 minutes.
While the soup is chicken and corn kernels are cooking, bring the dried ancho chilies to a boil in 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and let cool slightly, until the chilies are very soft. Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. Puree the chilies, their cooking water, and the remaining garlic clove in a blender until smooth.
Strain the puree into the soup, stirring gently until well combined; season with more salt if necessary. Let the Pozolillo simmer for another hour. To serve, ladle Pozolillo into bowls.
Top with shredded cabbage, chopped onion, sliced radishes, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve with tostadas. Enjoy!!!
In loving memory of my mother-in-law, Doña Esperanza.
|January 14, 1947 - September 25, 2012|
Descanse en Paz