Pozole Rojo, Posole Rojo, Red Posole! Whatever you want to call or however you want to spell it, it’s so so good. I am from Mexico, so it’s pozole. I am particularly a fan of the red version, they come in green too, and I don’t discriminate any pozole, but red oh red. I am a huge fan of the red. It has a blend of chiles that I use in my recipe, and you can really taste them, especially the day after you make it. I think the longer it sits, the better it gets. The flavors take time to meld, get all cozy with each other, a lot of things are better the next day. This happens to be one of them.
It’s been a while since I’ve been back to Mexico where I was born. I’ve gone to my homeland, just not my hometown. The inspiration for this came from Torreon, where I was born and spent many holidays. It’s epic, like so many Mexican celebrations. We gather for Christmas Eve, which is just as important as Christmas Day, and we eat. Celebrate, dress up, go around to several family members houses, and eat more. By the end of the night we end up an my cousins grandmothers house where we have pozole. Or we go over the next day for pozole after we open gifts. This is how we roll, all night, epic eating, fun, family times. Since it’s been so long that I have been there for Christmas I thought it was about time I made pozole for this holiday season. Honestly, it’s been so long I don’t remember all of the specifics, but the pozole always stands out in this food memory.
The broth is what I remember so vividly. It’s cozy, deeply flavorful, comfort Mexican food. Serve with warm tortillas, and the accoutrements of all pozoles, and I am in a seriously happy angelic state of mind. Yes, I hear angels singing, ahhhhhhh lalalalal, when I eat this. It’s that childhood memory food thing happening. And I am always all about that memory, there is nothing like, science even agrees. We all experience this from time to time. Sometimes in the unexpected faint smell in the air as we pass by something cooking. Charred poblano peppers does it to me as well. And this broth, cooking away on the stove, not necessarily the smell, but the tradition. And then, the first bite. It hits me, just like I am in Mexico with family, the sounds and familiar smells of the air. Next thing I know I want another bowl. And it’s ok, because there are epic amounts of leftovers, I will be enjoying this memory all week long…
8 oz dry Ancho chiles or dry Guajillo chiles, or combination of both
1 quart/4 cups hot water for soaking chiles
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 lbs pork shoulder, trimmed, cut unto 2 inch cubes, pat dry with paper towel before searing
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons coriander
2 large dried bay leaves
1 large 108 oz can hominy, drained
5 quarts water
fine sea salt
1/2 white onion
5 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
4 large limes, quartered
1-2 large avocados, sliced or diced
flour or corn tortillas, warmed
Place dried chiles in a large skillet, no oil, (do not use non-stick) over medium heat. Toast chiles for 1 minute on each side. Add chiles to 1 quart water. Soak for 20 minutes.
Add olive oil to 10-12 quart stockpot, place over medium high heat. Once oil is shimmering, sear pork over medium high heat, about 1 minute on each side until golden brown. Work in batches to sear, it will be about 2 batches. Add oregano, cumin, coriander, toast for 1 minute. Use a large spoon to scrape pork bits off bottom of pan, add a little water to help if needed.
Add bay leaves, hominy to pot, then add water plus 1 tablespoon salt to pot, stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.
Blend chiles, onion, and garlic on high until smooth. Strain into pot through fine mesh sieve, pushing through using a spatula or large spoon. Cover and cook over medium low heat for 2 hours. Add 1-2 teaspoons salt, stir to combine, leave lid off and cook for 1 hour.
Remove bay leaves before serving. Taste for seasoning, add salt if needed.
Serve pozole with cabbage, chopped onions, cilantro leaves, lime wedges, avocado slices, and tortillas. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. It tastes better and better each day.