Posole! (Pozole)

My dear friend Chris has a serious love of Mexican food.  Throughout the years he has introduced me to the world of chilies, Mexican spices, traditional techniques and preparations, and all kinds of tasty food.  One of the amazing dishes he introduced to my palette was pozole.  This spicy, smoky, porky, fresh vegetabley Mexican stew is like the chicken soup you wished you grew up with as it is like a hug in a bowl.

Pozole

  • 1 7.5 ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 or 5 dried ancho chiles
  • 4 or 5 dried guajillo chiles
  • 6 cloves garlic (2 smashed, 4 finely chopped)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3-4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into medium chunks
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large white onion, diced
  • 8 cups low-sodium beef broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 3 15-ounce cans white hominy, drained and rinsed
  • A handful of chopped cilantro
  • Juice of one lime
  • 4-6 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2 inch strips
  • Diced avocado, shredded cabbage, diced onion, lime wedges/juice, sliced radishes and/or fresh cilantro for topping

Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the chopped garlic and cook 2 minutes.  Increase the heat to high.  Add the pork and sprinkle in cumin.  Stir in the beef/chicken broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil.  Once to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cover for an hour-hour and a half.

Meanwhile, break the stems off the guajillo and ancho chiles and cut a slit on each chili side and shake out as many seeds as possible. Flatten the chiles and in a frying pan, toast each side on medium heat until slightly softened and a little blistered, about 2-3 minutes per side. (Be careful not to burn them!) Put the chiles in a bowl and cover with about 2 cups boiling water; weigh down the chiles with a plate to keep them submerged and soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer the soaked chiles, 1/2 the can of chipotles and 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid to a blender or food processor. Add the smashed garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pushing the sauce through with a rubber spatula; discard the solids.

At this point you may need to skim the fat. Then add oregano and chile sauce to your taste.  (I suggest starting with 1 cups of sauce and adding more later if you desire).  Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Partially cover and cook one more hour.

Stir in the hominy, chopped cilantro and lime juice and continue to simmer, uncovered, until the pork is fall apart tender, about 1 more hour. (We ended up pulling the pork out with a slotted spoon and pulling the meat apart by hand and putting it back in.  Hey, we were getting hungry!!!) Add some water, broth or any reserved chile soaking liquid if the posole is too thick.

To make tortilla strips:

In a cast iron skillet, add enough oil to come about halfway up the pan.  Heat on medium, until sprinkling a droplet of water into the oil makes the water “dance”.  Gently slide in tortilla strips and fry, cooking 2-3 minutes per side until crispy.  Drain on paper towels and season lightly with sea salt.

Now you’ve been waiting like, 6 hours to eat this stew, so go on and grab yourself a big bowl!  Ladle yourself a few spoonfuls and top that lovely soup with a healthy squeeze of lime juice, some cilantro, cabbage, avocado and tortilla strips.  Save those radishes for the side as something crunchy and refreshing for you to feast on between slurpy sips of that stew.  Now go on and enjoy your stew and give your tummeh a hug!

Makes 6-8 servings

Cook time = 3.5 hours

Prep time = 1.5 hours

Adapted from Posole Rojo

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