The truth is, when you set out to make pozole (a Mexican chile-sauced pork and hominy stew), you're in for several hours of cooking. Not working straight for four hours, but being near the kitchen for sure. I'd never made pozole before, so didn't really know how working with the dried chiles would go, or how spicy the finished dish would be, and there are some things I will change the next time I make it. First, I won't completely seed the dried chiles. My finished soup had less heat than I was wanting (my guests and I dressed up our bowls with some minced fresh jalapeno, and problem solved). Second, I will follow the instructions to tie the herbs together...it's really important to be able to remove the herbs from the broth easily. Finally, I will buy a bigger pot and make a double batch.
(from Gourmet Sept. 2007)
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 white onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
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, rinsed and drained (I used one can of white and two of yellow)
Accompaniments for serving: 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 cloves garlic, quartered onion, oregano, peppercorns, and 2 teaspoons of 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 puree until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids). Add puree 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. Transfer to a bowl and pour 2 2/3 cups boiling water over chiles. Soak, covered, until softened, about 30 minutes.
- Puree chiles with 1/12 cups soaking liquid, chopped onion, remaining 6 garlic cloves, whole clove, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in cleaned blender until a smooth paste forms, about 2 minutes. (I just rinsed out my blender.)
- Heat oil in a 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 to pork and simmer 5 minutes. Season with salt.
I consulted with one of my dinner guests who had eaten pozole before, and we agreed that the most crucial toppings are radish and lime. Last night we also used lettuce, avocado, and jalapeno. And this morning, as you can see, was all about the huevos.