Verde Pork Pozole
Well hello there. After months away testing new recipes and braving the dark winters up here in Seattle, I think its about time to begin the new year with a welcome back light post that was made in November over Thanksgiving break.
I’m going to be honest. I never thought this would make it to posting.
This dinner idea was hatched a few weeks prior to my trip down to Arizona to visit my folks for Thanksgiving. It was never intended to be photographed for a post, nor was the recipe dialed in to an exact science. Pozole (or po(s)ole depending on who’s spelling it :) ) is traditionally a celebratory dish that can be prepared quickly and in large amounts. Felt fitting for the occasion that I was in town for.
Growing up, my dad frequently made a big pot of posole on random nights with what could only be described as creatively open recipes.
He threw stuff in the pot, turned it on medium low, then did chores around the house doing his best to forgot it. Come back two hours later and BOOM, edible soup. I was always curious enough to try it each time, and being that I find comfort in almost any stew, always enjoyed it. But I was never totally sold on his low maintenance version. For his upcoming “birthday dinner” (I was in town for thanksgiving week and his date of birth falls on December 10th….close enough), I wanted to make some Verde pork pozole with him. I wanted to see if we could improve it just a little without making it into some massive, laboring recipe to which no amount of flavor could justify. I wanted to keep some remnants of my Dad’s version in the new one, like cubed pork and roasted chilies.
I was looking for the sweet spot. A compromise. I wanted to make him something with him that we could both be proud of, and hopefully memorable.
This recipe comes close, and was so flavorful that, armed with only my small wide angle lens and efficient but unattractive fluorescent lighting, I feel is passable as a recipe.
After a fun trip to two local Mexican grocery stores/restaurants/tortilla factories/pinata warehouses, we had all the ingredients we needed to craft our spicy green stew.
Much of the recipe was adapted from various online sources, and the main source of inspiration was from Feasting at Home‘s recipe from the fantastic chef Sylvia Fountaine.
- 8 cups flavorful pork, vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, pork loin trimmed of fat and cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 lb tomatillos, husked and halved
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 2 poblano chillies, seeded and quartered
- 2 Anaheim peppers roasted, seeded, skinned and chopped
- 2 jalapenos, seeded and halved
- 6 large garlic cloves
- 1 whole bunch cilantro
- 5-6 fresh corn tortillas
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp coriander
- 2 tsp cumin
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 cups cooked hominy
Toppings Ideas: Use any combination of the following: Sliced avocado, mexican sour cream, lime wedges, crumbled queso fresco, chopped scallions, toasted pepitas, sliced radishes, chopped cilantro, chopped scallions, shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, crispy tortilla chips, fresh corn kernels, black beans, hot sauce.
- In a large heavy bottomed pot, bring the stock to a boil. Add the cubed pork, cover and simmer over low heat until they’re tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes.
- In a blender, combine the halved tomatillos, quartered onion, poblanos, anaheims and jalapenos, garlic, chopped cilantro adding 1 cup water to get the motor going. Blend until smooth, scraping down sides if necessary.
- In a skillet, heat the oil and add 2/3 of the tomatillo puree ( reserving one third – leave in the blender) and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce turns a deep green, about 8-10 minutes.
- Remove pork from stock, and transfer to simmering tomatillo puree, stirring to combine. Cook together for 1 minute.
- Pour the cooked tomatillo sauce into the chicken stock pot. Add the 3 cups of the hominy (reserving 1 cup) and bring to a simmer over moderate heat.
- Season with salt, pepper, coriander and cumin, and cook just until heated through. (If you cook this too long, it will begin to loose its vibrant color.)
- Add the last cup of hominy to the blender with the reserved tomatillo mixture. Blend until smooth, and right before serving add to the soup (this thickens the soup and also will help keep the soup stay green and bright).
- While your Pozole is simmering, heat a small frying pan on medium high heat and pour in one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Julienne slice a few stacks of corn tortillas into ribbons and drop into the heated oil to fry up. Stir occasionally to fully coat the strips. The corn tortilla strips will become crispy in 3-5 minutes.
- Serve the Pozole in bowls, along with all the sides, letting people add whatever toppings they want.