Lazy Pozole

by Jan 25, 2011

Pozole is a delicious Mexican soup prepared with a flavorful (but not spicy at all) chile purée that you make with dried California chiles, commonly sold (…at least here in California) in crinkly, clear bags with a paper tag top.  Pozole is traditionally prepared with somewhat gastronomically intimidating pieces of our porcine friends, but here I’ve used chicken, which I hope will encourage you to try it.  Once you like it, you can visit your local carniceria and go to town, or you might decide to go vegetarian, which you can easily do with this recipe by omitting the meat entirely and using water in place of the chicken stock.
Lazy Pozole
serves 6
1 32 oz. box of organic chicken stock (I prefer the Imagine brand)
1 29 oz. can white hominy (or 2 14.5 oz cans), rinsed with water and drained
2 half chicken breasts with bone (remove and discard the skin)
1/2 yellow onion, left in one piece, not chopped
1/2 head garlic, left in one piece, not chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
10 dried California chiles
2 cups boiling water
1 clove garlic 
pinch dried oregano
Separate spicy chile sauce:
1 serrano chile (be careful, these are said to be 5 times hotter than the jalapeño)
1 tomato
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1/2 clove garlic
a pinch of dried oregano
Condiments for serving that really make pozole, pozole:
shredded cabbage, thinly sliced and julienned radish, finely diced white onion, dried oregano, avocado slices, sour cream, tortillas (chips or fresh), lime juice, hot chile sauce.
1.  Start by cooking the chicken in the broth with the half onion, half head garlic (yes, the whole thing, don’t bother trying to peel it), hominy and salt.  Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked, approximately 40 minutes.
2.  Prepare the California chiles.  Wash the dried chiles and remove and discard the stem and seeds.  Place chiles in a blender, add 2 cups boiling water, and let stand 20 minutes to soften.  Once chiles are softened, add the clove of garlic, a pinch of oregano, then blend the chiles and water until completely puréed.  Pass the mixture through a strainer to remove any bits of skin.  Add the purée that makes it through the strainer to the chicken and broth.  Simmer for 5 minutes.
3.  Prepare the spicy chile sauce (to be served separately, as a condiment), by placing the serrano chile, tomato, vinegar, garlic and oregano in the blender (no need to wash it from the California chili purée).  Store in a glass container in the refrigerator for a few days.
4.  Remove the onion and head of garlic from the broth and discard (composting anyone?).  Remove the chicken breasts and set aside; when cool enough to handle, shred the chicken into bite sized pieces and discard the bone.  Store shredded chicken separate from the broth.  (This prevents the chicken from getting soggy, especially if you store for a few days in the refrigerator.)
5.  When ready to serve, ladle broth into bowls, add shredded chicken, top with shredded cabbage, radish, onion, and any other condiments. 
Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips
  • Making the spicy chile sauce as a separate condiment allows you to meet different people’s preferences for heat.  When I serve pozole to my kids, I omit the spicy chile sauce from their bowls.
  • Another kid-friendly serving option is to use a slotted spoon to transfer some chicken and hominy to a tortilla.  You can then add any condiments that meet your little angel’s preferences that day and wrap like a burrito.
  • To use pork instead of chicken, select a shank or back piece with bone for the best flavor and to minimize the fat.
  • Make a vegetarian version by omitting the chicken and boiling the hominy, garlic and onion in water instead of stock.  Since you aren’t trying to cook any meat, you can cut that timing down to 20 minutes, which should be enough time to get the flavor from the onion and garlic.

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