Dating back to pre-Hispanic Mexico, pozole has been a ceremonial, celebrational soup for hundreds of years. While different versions of pozole are served throughout Mexico (there are both red and green versions, as well as variations made with pork or chicken), its most defining characteristic is the inclusion of white hominy; soft, hulled kernels of corn, sacred to the Aztecs who originally served it, that add texture and soak up the delicious flavor of the stew.
A good pozole delivers warm roundness of flavor, thanks to the array of dried chiles used to make the body of the broth; but for quick-and-easy weeknight suppers, all of that toasting and steeping and simmering and pureeing just won’t do. Besides, the fun part of eating a steaming bowl of pozole is all in the mix-ins; fresh shredded cabbage, sprigs of cilantro, sliced jalapeno, sliced radish and crispy strips of tortilla all get added at the end, allowing each person to customize his or her bowl of pozole with a broad range of textures, flavors and varying degrees of heat.
We’ve purposely left the spice levels in the base broth low to accommodate patients experiencing side effects related to chemotherapy or radiation treatment; the heat can be adjusted to suit individual palates with a dash of hot sauce or a few slices of jalapeno, when serving. Finally, prepping a bowl of pozole doesn’t have to be an all-day affair; a few pantry staples and a well-stocked produce drawer are all you need to prepare this hearty stew and start the pozole party.
Easy Pantry Pozole Rojo
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
1-1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 1” cubes
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
48 ounces low sodium chicken broth
8 ounces smoked Andouille sausage
2 tablespoons mild chili powder
2 (14oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 cans white hominy (15.5oz), drained and rinsed
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Shredded cabbage, sliced radish, crispy tortilla strips, sliced fresh jalapeno and/or chopped cilantro, to garnish
In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, combine olive oil, garlic and onion. Cook, stirring often, until onion softens. Add pork shoulder and stir to combine. Cook until pork shoulder begins to brown on the outside, about 4-5 minutes. Add cumin and oregano, and cook 1 minute more.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and cook until pork begins to tenderize, about 40 minutes. Add sausage, chili powder, tomatoes and hominy. Cover and cook at a simmer until pork is fork tender, about 40 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and serve with your choice of mix-ins.