In keeping with my attraction this time of year to cozy, seasonally appropriate foods, I have always wanted to learn to make a traditional Mexican pozole. To do so, I enlisted the help of my friend Yarit, who shared with me the techniques to prepare the pozole that is a staple of her Mexican family’s gatherings during the holiday season.
Though we chose to make pozole rojo, this traditional pork stew can also be made green with the use of tomatillos, or left white (like the version in this photo) from the hominy (note: the three varieties of pozole are also the colors of the Mexican flag). Left on the stove to simmer for much of the day, this rich and satisfying stew is perfect for a snowy, tinkering-at-home kind of day.
Yarit also shared with me her pick for the best Mexican restaurant in town: Tortilleria Mi Pueblo. With a menu that changes almost daily, Tortilleria Mi Pueblo serves a variety of traditional and delicious dishes, though I find myself running in most often for a dozen of their tamales or for a stack of freshly made corn tortillas. And if you don’t want to venture to make this pozole at home, you will likely find it on their menu as we head into the holiday season.
We at the red posole too quickly to get a photo of, though the white version shown here is amazing too.
Pozole Rojo (shared by Yarit Andraca)
- Makes 6 to 8 servings
- 2 pounds pork or 3 pounds if bone-in (look for pieces with a layer of fat or bone-in for extra flavor; stew meat or any cut — like shoulder — meant to be slow cooked is best)
- 1 white onion (cut in half, with one half finely chopped, the other left whole)
- 1 garlic head, washed and left unpeeled
- 1/2 cup dried oregano
- One 6 pound can of white, precooked hominy
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- 5 whole dried guajillo chilies
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 jalapenos, finely chopped for garnish
- 2 limes cut into wedges for garnish
- 2 avocados sliced for garnish
- 1 bunch of radishes, thinly sliced for garnish
- Corn tostadas or chips for garnish
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Place the pork in a large stockpot and fill with water until pork is covered by at least 3 inches.
- Add about 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, 1/4 cup of dried oregano, the whole half of the white onion and the whole, unpeeled head of garlic.
- Simmer on low heat for about 4 hours until pork is easily pulled apart and stock is flavorful. Alternatively, you may do this in a slowcooker or crockpot overnight.
- Remove pork, head of garlic and onion and set aside to cool.
- Rinse the hominy in a strainer then add to the stock, return to a simmer.
- Meanwhile, remove stems and add dried chilies to a small pot of water and bring to a simmer to rehydrate, about 15 minutes.
- Once rehydrated, remove chilies from water, and add to a blender, along with about 1/4 cup of its water, the 1/2 onion and 2 cloves from the head of garlic that were in the stock, and one tablespoon of ground cumin.
- Blend until well combined, set aside.
- Finely chop the other 1/2 of onion.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a small pot over medium heat, and add about 2 tablespoons of the chopped onion to the oil.
- Set the other chopped onion aside for garnish.
- Fry the onion until golden brown.
- Set a mesh strainer over the pot, and pour blended chile mixture through the strainer into the fried onions.
- Stir to combine, lower heat and simmer chile and onion mixture until thickened, about 5 to 10 minutes, set aside.
- When pork is cool enough to touch, shred into pieces and set aside once again.
- Spoon some of the stock and hominy mixture into the blender (left unwashed from the chile mixture is fine here), add 2 more cloves from the head of garlic, 2 tablespoons of dried oregano and blend until the consistency of grits.
- Pour back into the pot, along with the shredded pork and red chili mixture.
- Stir to combine, and return to a simmer.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve stew, garnished to taste with chopped onion, jalapeno, lime, avocado, radishes, your favorite hot sauce and tostadas/chips.