Pozole is a traditional soup or stew from Mexico made out of hominy and pork cooked in spices like cumin and peppers served with cabbage, avocado, salsa and lime. Originally this dish is quite special as maize was considered to be sacred plant for the Aztecs as well as the surrounding regions within Mesoamerica hence it was only served on special occasions or during rituals. In line with this, the meat used during the old days was quite bizarre because ancient Americans believed the Gods made humans out of cornmeal dough or what they call “masa” hence human meat was used on this dish. These human meat are from their prisoners, where it was believed that they were killed by tearing apart their hearts during a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body is then chopped and cooked to make this dish and served with the whole tribe.
Today human meat is not used anymore (phew!) and it was the case since 16th century during the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire when cannibalism was banned. Pork is now widely used but chicken and beef version exists and one aspect still remains the same as this dish is still served mostly on special occasions like birthdays, weddings, Christmas and New Year’s.
This was a bit challenging to make as it was hard to find hominy in every shop I tried but luckily there is this type of corn I found in Asian grocery that has the similar sticky glutinous texture which I used instead. I just have to pick the kernels individually as they were sold on cobs. Like any soups and stew this dish is quite straightforward to prepare so even if you don’t cook on a regular basis you won’t go wrong.
- 1 kg pork shoulder, boneless cut into large chunks
- 4 cups glutinous corn kernels or hominy
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2 cups tap water
- ¾ cup dried red chillies, seeded
- 1 green capsicum / bell pepper, seeded
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
- 1 pc bay leaf
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- freshly ground black pepper
- diced avocado
- shredded lettuce (original recipe calls for cabbage)
- sliced radishes
- In a bowl soak dried red chillies in 2 cups of boiling water for at least 30 minutes.
- Place chillies, soaking liquid, green capsicum, ½ tsp salt in blender then blend until smooth. Strain in a sieve into a bowl discarding the solids. Set aside.
- Season and rub pork with cumin and salt.
- Prepare a Dutch oven, add oil then sauté onions and garlic.
- Add the pork and brown on all sides.
- Pour in the tap water, chicken stock, the blended chilli sauce (adjust the amount to the level of spiciness you like), oregano, bay leaf and salt. Bring it to a boil then reduce heat to low, simmer for 2 hours or until pork is tender.
- Add the glutinous corn kernels or hominy then simmer for 1 more hour or until pork is fork tender, add more water if needed. Shred the pork with fork, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper then serve with garnishes.