Pozole – Pork & Hominy Stew

I was introduced to Pozole in Denver, when one of my co-workers bought it to nearly every “food day.” Those in the “know” were smart enough to sneak away to the buffet tables before lunch, before it was all gone. Now, I’d like to introduce you! Succulent pork and hominy swimming in a rich, garlicky, chile based broth; the taste is reminiscent of tamales.

Posole, Pozole, a rich pork and hominy stew.
Posole, Pozole, a rich pork and hominy stew. The best part may well be the garnishes.

Just like a Vietnamese Pho, the fun is in the garnishes. Cilantro, lime, thinly sliced radishes, cabbage and onion are generally placed on a platter and every one garnishes to their heart’s content. Pozole is often made for celebratory events in the Southwest, but in my opinion? Having a big pot of Pozole is reason enough to celebrate!

Over the years, I teased a few secrets out of the cook, and added a few of my own, so I don’t feel too bad about sharing this recipe. Well, perhaps just a twinge because I can’t give any credit!

Posole - the fun is really in the garnishes!
Posole – the fun is really in the garnishes!

Pozole has a long and rather grim history, and believe me, you won’t want to make an old-fashioned one! While the best Pozoles of all are with dried hominy (wonderful if you can find it) and a pig or sheep’s head, most people I’ve known simply use the canned hominy and pork ribs and/or shoulder. If the pork shoulder has bones, I don’t bother with the ribs – as a matter of fact, if I make my Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker, I save a good chunk of the shoulder and the juices for Pozole. Half the work is done for me!

New Mexican Red Chili Ristra, photo by MJ’s Kitchen
New Mexican Red Chili Ristra, photo by MJ’s Kitchen

I’ll give you my recipe for Pozole, then toward the bottom, I’ll give you some instructions on how to modify the recipe if you’d like to use left over pork shoulder and the juices it’s cooked in from my Pulled Pork in the Slow Cooker. I’ll also add instructions on how to use dried hominy instead of the canned.

This recipe calls for the New Mexico Red Chile; these are the ones often made into wreaths or ristras They’re mild on the Scoville scale and have a bright flavor. If you can’t find them, substitute another of a reasonable heat, or a combination. An Ancho will work, or a Guajillo or a combination, and will give a deep, rich earthier flavor. Either variation is excellent.

Tortillas, in addition to the garnishes, may be served. If you’d like to get fancy, thinly sliced tortillas, fried until crispy are always nice. Cornbread would also be a welcome addition to the table.

Posole, a beautiful meal
Posole, a beautiful meal

New Mexican Pozole

  • Servings: 8 - 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 2 to 4 pounds of pork ribs cut to fit pan or 2 to 4 pounds bone in pork shoulder or a combination
  • 12 cups water, or to cover meat by about two inches
  • 1 onion, peeled, left whole, studded with 4 cloves
  • 1 head of garlic, two cloves removed, rest cut in half
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 2 to 3 ounces New Mexican red chile (or substitute Ancho and/or Guajillo)
  • 2 to 3 29 ounce cans of hominy, rinsed well (I use two, pozole should be thin, but if you’d like a heartier, stew like pozole, use three)
  • salt as desired (hominy can be salty, hold of on salt until it has simmered for awhile.)
  • garnishes, below

In a large pot add garlic halves, reserving the two cloves, water, pork studded onion and oregano. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook until tender, one and a half to two hours.

In the meantime, in a dry skillet, lightly toast chile over a hot flame, turning often, until plump. Place in a small bowl and add enough water to cover. Weigh down with a plate or jar and soak for 30 minutes, longer is fine.

Remove chiles from water, reserving the soaking liquid. Remove stems and seeds. Place the chile in a blender with the reserved liquid. Peal the two cloves of garlic and add to blender. Do not process yet.

When meat is tender, remove the meat, onion and garlic from the broth. When cool enough to handle, shred meat, discarding bones. Remove the cloves from the onion, add onion to blender. Discard the garlic halves or save to use in a salsa, dip or spread on toasted bread. Skim broth.

Puree the chile mixture (with the onion and two cloves of garlic) and the reserved soaking liquid until smooth, adding a little broth if needed. If desired, this may be pushed through a sieve. Add the puree (you may taste as you go along and might not wish to add the full amount) to the pot along with the shredded meat.

Rinse hominy well and add to the pot. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer, very gently, for thirty minutes. Taste for seasoning and add salt if desired.

Pozole will generally keep four to five days in the refrigerator and freezes very well.

Garnish with thinly sliced radishes, thinly sliced onion that has been soaked in water for 30 minutes and thinly sliced cabbage. Add avocado, lime and cilantro to the garnishes, if desired.

To make Pozole with Dried Hominy:

Dried Hominy, after being cooked, will retain a lovely texture and have a chew not found in the canned hominy. Much less salty than canned, you will very likely need to add more salt to your Pozole.

Soak a pound of Prepared Hominy overnight in water to cover by two inches. Rinse, add to a large pot, cover generously with fresh water and bring to a boil. Simmer briskly until tender. An onion may be added to the pot if desired. Timing will vary with the hominy. It may be tender in an hour or may take several hours.

 To Make Pozole from Slow Cooker Pulled Pork:

While an absolutely true and steadfast Pozole lover may scoff a bit, some of my best Pozole is made from my Pulled Pork. The pulled pork in the slow cooker gives out an extremely rich, flavorful broth, about two to three cups of concentrated goodness that gels beautifully.

Because the pulled pork is flavored with a number of ingredients on the rub that aren’t always in Pozole, some might turn up their noses. Personally, I think the small amount of spices and herbs from the rub give a gorgeous, well-rounded flavor to my Pozole.

Pulled Pork reduces in volume by about half, so I use about a pound of it, reserving it before it is shredded or any sauce is added. The broth, I strain, refrigerate and skim of any fat.

When it’s time to make Pozole, I add the broth to my pan and about six to eight cups of water. I then proceed with the recipe, pureeing the chile with the garlic as directed, but omitting the onion, adding the hominy and then the pork. Because the rub already has onion and garlic in it, I generally taste the broth, and if I feel it is lacking I might add a small bit of onion or garlic powder. I always add a tiny pinch of ground clove.

From the kitchen of http://www.frugalhausfrau.com

13 thoughts on “Pozole – Pork & Hominy Stew”

    1. Hi Rhonda – my apologies for the late reply! I have always meant to make a green pozole, but have never gotten around to it. The idea sounds wonderful, and thanks for stopping by!

      1. Many New Mexicans make it without the chili sauce, and serve red or green on the side — so guests can mix in which and how much they want. So the first time I had it, I didn’t see the sauces or know their purpose, and I had it without (just the amount of green chili that was already in the stew)… and that’s the way I still like it best. It was so good, how could I want to tamper with it? LOL, they thought I was nuts for not knowing I was supposed to add sauce. But my ulcers can’t handle much chili anyway. Hugs.

        1. See, i didn’t know this, but have traveled to NM many times when I lived in Colorado, so I know that they ask red or green (or Christmas) when you order many dishes in restaurants. I always say Green, though! 🙂

    1. Suzanne, it is delicious! I wish I could have gotten a shot with all the garnishes.

      It’s easy to make and freezes well! Just follow the advice to rinse the hominy and add the pureed chile mixture to taste and you can’t go wrong!

      Now, if only I had a blondie for dessert….:)

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