I grew up on a ranch in Texas where there is a saying “you can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl”. While living in Texas, I enjoyed great Mexican food but it is hard to find authentic Mexican food now that I live in New England. When I get a craving for a taste of home and something like pozole verde or pozole roja, I cook my own versions using ingredients that are available in my area. Pozole roja is a pork and hominy stew made with red chilies, which is a traditional dish found in many parts of Mexico.
Pozole is the Spanish word for hominy which is corn that has been processed to remove the hull and germ. Once cooked, it swells up some and has a slight chewy texture. The cooked stew or soup is also called pozole or posole. There are basically three versions of pozole…white, green and red, depending on the chilies used. This dish is also served in many areas of the southwestern part of the U.S . You will find it spelled differently, called different names and made with different ingredients depending on where you happen to be. One thing is constant though and that is that pozole is delicious!
Pozole Roja…Pork And Hominy Stew With Red Chilies
Serves 2 generously, so adjust the recipe accordingly.
- 1 lb. pork cut into cubes (I used pork sirloin)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped plus 2 whole garlic cloves
- 3 dried Guajillo chilies*
- 1 c. boiling water
- 4 c. pork or chicken stock (I made mine from a ham bone)
- 1 Tbsp. cumin
- 1/2 tsp. or more of ancho chili powder (or to your personal taste)
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 1/2 tsp. each of salt and pepper
- 1 can of hominy, rinsed and drained
Stem and shake out the seeds from the peppers. Heat in a dry skillet until the chilies soften and turn a little brown. Remove and when cool enough to handle cut into chunks, place in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Soak for 30 minutes. Place the softened chilies in a blender with the soaking liquid, add the two whole garlic cloves and blend until it forms a smooth sauce.
Heat a large pot over medium high heat and add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the pork cubes in batches and brown on all sides. Remove to a bowl. Add the onion to the pot and cook until soft and translucent. Add the chopped garlic and cook for an additional minute. Pour the chili sauce into the pot and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the pork back to the pot along with the stock and seasonings. Cover the pot with a lid and let simmer until the meat is tender.
At this point, the stew can be cooled and refrigerated overnight which will develop the flavors (which I did) or you can proceed with the recipe. Taste for additional seasonings. You might also wish to add some fresh chilies (such as jalapeño) for additional flavor and heat. Add the hominy and let cook for 30 minutes. Additional stock or water can be added if it becomes too thick.
This pozole is a colorful and delicious meal that has a warm chile taste but is not what you would call overly spicy. I would suggest tasting throughout the cooking process and adjusting the recipe to your personal taste. Powdered and fresh chilies can be added if you want a spicier dish.
Pozole is usually served with condiments such as shredded cabbage or lettuce, radishes, avocado, limes, cilantro and tortillas. I would definitely suggest serving these alongside the meal. I particularly enjoy the crunch that the crisp cabbage and radish add when mixed into the stew. Served with some warm corn tortillas or tortilla chips and a bottle of your favorite beer or margarita, you will have a terrific meal.
*The Guajillo chilies used in this recipe have a smoky, berry-like taste and are not very hot compared to other types of chilies. If you want a spicier or more robust chili taste, additional chilies can be added.
NOTE: I know my readers are from all over the world and may wonder where to find hominy. If your local market doesn’t carry it, check at a Latin or Mexican specialty market if there is one in your area. If they sell Goya products, they should have hominy or be able to get it for you . You may find it called maiz para pozole or even maize mote. You might find it as a dried product, in which case you would soak it overnight and cook it before proceeding with the recipe. In the comment section of my post on pozole verde, several readers gave suggestions where it might be found.