Pozole – Mexican Soup

 

Brrrr … it’s a good day for hot soup.  Pozole is a cousin of menudo, using pork butt instead of tripe.  This version is not exactly traditional … it has pinto beans (cuz I like pinto beans!) and a mild tomato base rather than red chili pepper paste.  It’s super easy with minimal prep – throw it in the slow cooker (you will need a large slow cooker – this makes a lot!), wait a few hours, eat 🙂 .

Half of the deliciousness of pozole is the savory hot soup base.  But what really makes it are the fresh garnishes on top.  The combination of the hot meat and broth with the fresh and creamy/crunchy toppings is yummmmmmmy.  Also healthy.  This is a low salt soup that you add only enough salt for your own tastes.

This heat level of this soup is on the medium to mild side as  I can’t seem to tolerate super spicy stuff like I used to.  But if you prefer something spicier, I’ve included recommendations for spicing this up a little (see asterisks!).

INGREDIENTS

Serves 8

1/8 to 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil
2-3 pounds pork shoulder, cut into several large pieces
1 tblsp each:
-kosher salt
-chili powder
-smoked paprika
-garlic powder
-onion powder
-cracked black pepper
1 tsp ground oregano
1 -2 tsp ground cumin (depending on how much you like cumin)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes*
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
1 -10 oz can mild tomatoes and green chilis*, pureed in blender til smooth
1-15 oz can pinto beans with jalapeño, drained
1 -32 oz box unsalted chicken stock (I prefer Swanson)
1 -32 oz box low salt or regular salted chicken stock
2 cups canned hominy, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
1-2 tsp lime zest
lime wedges
avocado
chopped cilantro leaves
chopped green onions
shredded cabbage
diced fresh jalapeno*

*To increase spiciness:  Use the regular tomato/green chili, add more red pepper, include some chopped fresh jalapeño in the soup as it cooks.

DIRECTIONS

1. Cut the pork into approx 1/4 lb chunks. Mix the dry seasonings, kosher salt through black pepper, together well in a small bowl, and then roll the pork chunks in the spice mixture until all pieces are thoroughly coated; make sure to use all the spice mixture.

2. Heat the 1/8 cup of oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Cook pork chunks in the oil until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes (if you need more oil, add til meat does not stick). Add pork to a large slow cooker (if you have a small slow cooker, cut this recipe in half).

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3. Reduce the heat in the pan to medium (add a tablespoon of oil if dry), and add the onion and garlic, cooking until onion begins to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Remove pan from heat and add cooked onion and garlic, along with the bay leaf, to crock pot. Cover meat with the pureed tomatoes/green chilis, the pinto beans, unsalted and salted chicken stock, and the hominy.

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4. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours, until pork is tender.

5. Turn off slow cooker and remove pork to a large plate.  Trim away fat with a sharp knife and discard.   Using forks, shred the pork.

6. Taste the broth and add salt and pepper to taste.  Return shredded pork to crock pot. Stir in half of lime juice and zest. Taste again and add lime juice/zest to taste.

7. Ladle soup into large bowls and top with chopped avocado, cilantro, lime wedges, shredded cabbage, green onions, and diced jalapeño. Optional: serve with warm tortillas.

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