If I Knew You Were Coming I Would Have Cooked You Pozole

If you’re asking me if I’m in the mood for cooking, the answer is no—but I am open to persuasion.

 But it can’t be anything that reminds me of summer, with its wet, ill-fitting bathing suits that makes you look like a sunburned chorizo sausage in its casing. Don’t even mention those cloying girly girl drinks with tiny umbrellas in them, got it? And no cold salads, please. . . . Pozole, did you say? Hmmmm, consider me persuaded.

There is a snap in the air in the Central Coast, as sweet and as sharp as a bite of a Pink Lady apple. Harvest time has arrived to the vineyards. El otoño [autumn] is coming with its clear, but sepia-toned, days, and with it the desire to dust off my mamá’s old large pot to cook a hearty pozole. What, with those tender chunks of pork and hominy swimming in a luscious red chile broth—(ay, yay, yay, I’m so happy about it, I can’t even finish this sentence!) It’s a stew that is also a salad, if you can believe it—no pozole is complete without heaps of thin-sliced cabbage, fresh chopped cilantro, diced green onion, disks of sharp, peppery red radish and that ever ubiquitous squeeze of lemon or lime. Of course, you can have pozole any time of the year, but eating it in el otoño just seems right.

And here is the best part: cooking pozole ain’t exactly fix it n’ forget it, but nobody need know that I don’t slave for hours on end over a hot stove. I just like to pretend that I do. “Ay, pobrecita de mi [poor little old me], I’m sooooo tired from all that cooking! Now peel me a nopal.” After preparing all the ingredients, I like to kick back and polish my nails while the pozole is simmering on the stove. Es nuestro secreto, ¿verdad?

Pozole is the perfect alternative for those who with weak stomached, squeamish sensibilities and upturned, wrinkled noses say a big yuck at the mere mention of menudo with its wobbly bits of tripe. And yes, pozole has no offal in it (sometimes, unless you count the pig’s foot that I am going to drop in to make it taste like the bomb). And yes, pozole only takes about two hours to cook, versus, say, the six hours it takes to cook menudo. And no, it doesn’t stink up the whole house like menudo does. And no, pozole isn’t better than menudo, and if you even think I’m ever going to forsake a bowl of stinky outlaw menudo for its upright cousin, pozole. . . maybe I will, but just for today.

Pásale, muchacha, pásale. Come inside. Ya que estás aquí—now that you are here, I’m cooking you a pot of pozole.

Red Pozole

The longer you cook it, the better it will taste. And, as almost always with stews, pozole tastes even better the day after. You don’t need to add the pig’s foot, but not only does it enhance the flavor, but makes for a rich, luscious broth. Don’t worry about all the fat. You can always skim it off once the pozole is cooked. You can also skim off the all the solidified fat once the pozole has cooled down in the refrigerator. I do like to keep a little fat in the stew—it just makes it all the more flavorful.

3 lbs. bone-in pork shoulder butt, cut into 1-inch cubes; or left whole (to shred later once the meat is tender)
1 or 2 pig’s feet, cut in half (optional)
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 large white onion, cut in half. Save ¼ onion for Red Chile Sauce
1 tablespoons salt
1 large bay leaf
½ teaspoon cumin, or to taste
½ teaspoon pepper
12 cups water
up to 4 cups canned hominy, drained and rinsed
Red Chile Sauce (Recipe below)

Red Chile Sauce Recipe:
9 dried guajillo chiles
3 dried ancho chiles
4 cloves; or, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
¼ onion
¼ teaspoon vinegar (optional)
Boiling water

Directions (for a visual tutorial on how to make Red Chile Sauce click here):
Toast and soak the chiles, garlic and onion: Take the chiles and cut off all the stems. Remove all the seeds with your bare fireproof macha fingers. Over medium-high heat, toast the chiles on a lightly oiled comal [griddle] for 30 - 40 seconds on each side. Add the unpeeled garlic and onion, and toast until they are soft and slightly charred. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and peel the garlic. Place the chiles, cloves, garlic and onion in a bowl and just cover them with boiling water, making sure all of the chiles are submerged. Use a plate or a large mug to press down the chiles. Let them soak for about 30 minutes. Drain the chiles, but save the water you soaked the chiles in. In small batches, take the chiles, garlic, onion and cloves along with some of the water and whirl them in a blender at medium speed.

Into a bowl pour the chile mixture through  a wire mesh strainer to remove the tiny bits of peel. It should pour like spaghetti sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add more of the soaking water. Stir in the vinegar.

Cook the Pork Meat: Put pork meat with the bone and pig’s foot in a large pot. Add 12 cups water. Add salt, onion and garlic. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Add bay leaf and cumin.  Cover, and simmer for an hour, occasionally checking to skim off any left-over foam. During this time, you can prepare the Red Chile Sauce for the pozole.

Shred the pork (unnecessary if pork has been cubed): Use tongs to lift and remove the pork from the pot. Use 2 forks to shred the pork and return to the pot. Add Red Chile Sauce and hominy. Adjust salt and other seasonings. Cook for one hour more, or keep simmering  until ready to eat. Fish out the large onion pieces and garlic. No need to discard the pig foot—some, like my viejo, think it’s the best part. The pozole should be brothy, so add boiling water or chicken broth if it runs too low.

Serve with with corn tortillas and garnishes of thin-sliced cabbage, chopped cilantro, dried oregano, thin-sliced red radishes, cut lemons or limes and avocado.

Serves 6 to 8.


chica chocolatina said...

I have to confess I am one of those people who have a complete fear or the thought of eating pig's feet. No puedo comer menudo en ninguan manera, pero the way you describe your pozole in your fantastic stories....has me a little curious! Lol

Clementina said...

Hola, Chica Chocolatina!
I quite understand your aversion to pig's feet,because I never eat it myself. But, there is no getting around the fact that those little porky pathetic patitas sure can pack a flavorful wallop. This is what I do: skip the pig foot and just eat the the rest of the pozole. It leave the pig's patas to my viejo.
Enjoy the pozole!
By the way, I love the name "Chocolatina"! Why didn't I think of it??

chica chocolatina said...

Awww, thank you, I actually love the name of your blog too.. I adore Mexican Hot Chocolate! lol

Tiffany said...

Yum! This is a great version of pozole. I can't wait to try it.

Mark said...

This looks great. At first, I thought your post was about Pho, which I cannot get enough of. Pozole seems very similar. Pho is made with chicken or beef, and the broth is made with bone marrow. This Mexican rendition has slightly different flavors, but looks just as good. Thanks for the cultural lesson too!

Clementina said...

You are quite welcome, Mark. Please visit my cocina anytime!

Anonymous said...

Great to see you again, Clementina. Two quick questions. Well, three. What size cans of pozole do you use? What about using dried pozole? Do you think browning pork cubes before simmering is a good idea? I make an excellent green chile pork stew with browned pork.


Clementina said...

Hola, Michael G.
Do you realize that we have "known" each other for almost since the inception of this blog? Ooooooo, that's a long time!

Yes, I do think that browning the pork is an excellent idea. I really believe that browning will just add that delicious roasted depth of flavor to the pozole. As for how many cans, I use one very LARGE can that you buy at Mexican grocery stores.

And yes, I do love cooking the hominy when it is dried--it has a meaty texture I just love. I have gotten a bit lazy(to be absolutely honest), but someday I'm going to add a page on how to cook dried pozole.

As for your recipe, I would love to cook it? Do you share your recipes? I think that is something my viejo would love.

Cuidate, Michael G. Nice seeing your name here!:^)

Anonymous said...

Here you go. I'm a bit nervous as I've never posted a recipe on the net before. It's a stew so feel free to add more chiles or fewer or whatever. Careful with the barley. Hope you like it.



• Pork, cubed 3 lbs
• Oil for browning
• 2 or 3 Large tomatoes chopped
• 6-7 Jalapenos, charred, peeled, chopped
• 4-6 Cloves garlic
• Large white onion, sliced
• Chicken Stock
• 1/2 cup Barley
• Salt and pepper to taste
• White wine

Brown the pork in batches, remove to a side dish. Brown the onions and half the garlic, remove from pan. Deglaze pot with white wine.

Add meat back to pot with barley, remainder of garlic and stock to cover.

Cover and simmer for an hour. Add tomatoes, chilies and onions. Simmer for another hour. Monitor liquid all the time to ensure barley is not left dry – dish is best if there’s some liquid.


Clementina said...

Gracias, Michael G!
Thank you for your recipe. I get the distinct feeling that you are a great cook. Although I have never used white wine to deglaze all those delicious bits at the bottom of the pot (at least when it comes to Mexican food), I can see how it would certainly add that extra something special without changing it. Do you add barley to thicken it a bit?
I would love to try this!

Anonymous said...

Yes, the barley thickens it. The dish has a deep, rich flavor. You're way overestimating my skills.


Clementina said...

Hola, Michael G !
Somehow I think not. :^)

Unknown said...

Pigs feet reminds me of my mom... waste not, want not!