2000s Recipes + Menus

Pozole Rojo (Pork and Hominy Stew)

Serves8 to 10
  • Active time:1 hr
  • Start to finish:3 1/2 hr
September 2007
Pozole rojo is a hearty stew made with pork or chicken in a red-chile broth and studded with hominy (big, chewy kernels of dried corn, also called pozole, which are soaked in slaked lime to remove their hull and germ). The stew’s base is made using the traditional method—first, two kinds of dried chiles are toasted, and then the chile paste is sautéed in oil to coax out the complex flavors.
  • 1 bunch mint (1 oz)
  • 1 bunch cilantro (1 oz)
  • 4 lb country-style pork ribs (not lean)
  • 10 cups water
  • 26 garlic cloves (about 1 1/2 heads), peeled, divided
  • 1 (1/2-lb) white onion, quartered, plus 1/2 cup, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 5 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 oz dried guajillo or New Mexico chiles (6 to 9), wiped clean
  • 1 1/2 oz dried ancho chiles (2 to 4), wiped clean
  • 1 whole clove
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 (15-oz) cans hominy (also called pozole), rinsed and drained
  • Accompaniments:

    diced avocado; crema; queso fresco; thinly sliced iceberg or romaine lettuce; chopped white onion; sliced radishes; fried tortilla strips or chips; lime wedges; dried oregano; dried hot red-pepper flakes
  • Tie together mint and cilantro with kitchen string.
  • Bring pork and water to a boil in a large pot, skimming froth, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add tied herbs, 20 garlic cloves, quartered onion, oregano, peppercorns, and 2 teaspoons salt and gently simmer, uncovered, until pork is very tender, about 2 hours. Strain broth through a large sieve into a large heatproof bowl. Return broth to pot. Discard mint and cilantro. Transfer cooked onion and garlic to a blender with 1 1/2 cups broth and purée until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Add purée to broth. Discard bones and coarsely shred pork into broth.
  • Meanwhile, slit chiles lengthwise, then stem and seed. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until hot, then toast chiles in batches, opened flat, turning and pressing with tongs, until more pliable and slightly changed in color, about 30 seconds per batch (see Kitchen Notebook). Transfer to a bowl and pour 2 1/2 cups boiling water over chiles. Soak, covered, until softened, about 30 minutes.
  • Purée chiles with 1 1/2 cups soaking liquid, chopped onion, remaining 6 garlic cloves, clove, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in cleaned blender until a smooth paste forms, about 2 minutes.
  • Heat oil in cast-iron skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then add chile paste (it will spatter) and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 5 minutes.
  • Add chile paste and hominy and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt.
Cooks' note: Pozole can be made 3 days ahead. Chill, uncovered, to cool, then cover.
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