Comida Mexicana – Pozole

Pozoles are a meaty soup that’s served on almost every street corner in Mexico. typically, the soup (or consomme, I’m never sure which is which!) will be prawn (camarone), pork or chicken. Served with a side of vegetables (cabbage, lettuce, oregano, cilantro, avocado, radish, limes) some crispy tortillas and/or chicharron, which is a crispy pork skin. Tasty stuff!

This is an ultra taditional dish that, according to legend, originated in pre-Columbian Jalisco, Mexico and contained human flesh! Today, things are a little more civilised and you are more likely to eat the stuff than be a part of it.

The recipe below is courtesy of www.coolchile.co.uk, which is an online outlet where you can buy all the ingredients for this and other Mexican dishes I post on my blog.

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Pozole Rojo

500g of dried pozole
1kg pork shanks cut into 10cm pieces
500g (1 medium) pork trotter split in half
500g pork shoulder (bone in)
1 large white onion finely chopped
1 head of garlic
60g ancho chiles
12g diced arbol chile
4g wild Mexican oregano
1 bunch radishes
½ head of white cabbage, iceberg lettuce or Chinese cabbage
2 limes
1 packet of corn tortillas (see mail order list)
vegetable oil

Place the pozole in a large pot with 3-4 litres of water and the head of garlic. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, partially cover and simmer for 4-5 hours, until the kernels are soft. Top up the water level as needed so that the kernels are free floating. Slow simmering will produce a better flavour.

In another large pot add all the meat and cover with water. Add 1 tbsp. of salt. Bring to the boil skimming excess fat from the top as you go along. Add half the chopped onions, partially cover and simmer for about 2 hours, until the meat is tender. Allow the meat to cool in the broth and then remove it. Pull the meat from the shanks in shreds and remove all the knuckles and bones from the trotters, chop the remaining meat into bite size pieces.

De stem and de seed the ancho and guajillo chiles. Place in a bowl and cover with just boiled water. Soak the chiles for 15 minutes. Puree the chiles with the soaking liquid. When the corn is soft sieve the chile puree straight into the pot.

Add the pork broth to the corn and chile pot with about 2 tsp. of salt, partially cover and simmer for another hour. When you are ready to serve, set out each of the condiments in small bowls and place on the table.

You will need to: Slice the radishes / Thinly slice the cabbage or lettuce / Rinse the remaining chopped onion under cold water / Quarter the limes / Put the Mexican oregano in a bowl / Put the diced arbol chile in a bowl

With the pozole simmering add the meat and adjust seasoning and water. The stew should be brothy but full of goodies. Add salt to taste, it is amazing how much salt pozole can absorb.

When the meat is hot ladle into large bowls and pass to your guests. They can customise their pozole with the garnishes.

Cooking tips:
a) When boiling pozole, make sure the pot is large enough to have the kernels free floating.
b) Slow simmering will produce better flavour than fast boiling.
c) Only add salt to pozole when the kernels are soft, adding salt before this will toughen them.
d) If you have a pressure cooker you can reduce the cooking time to around 1 hour until just tender.
e) Most of the pozole can be made ahead of time. It can be made up to the point where the pork broth has been added to the corn and chile. Keep the meat separate until you are ready to add it, well covered in the refridgerator. You will also need to keep the broth and corn well refridgerated. When you wish to serve the Pozole Rojo add the meat to the broth and re heat thoroughly.

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