There’s something very comforting about a steaming bowl of pozole, the tender cubes of pork adrift in a broth that sings with just-right spiciness. The stew-like concoction is loaded with hominy. In the translation from Spanish, “pozole” means hominy.
Hominy is the name given to whole corn kernels that have been cooked in a lye or lime solution to remove their thick hulls. Their puffy texture is creamy tender, their flavor filled with corn personality.
And, don’t forget to pile on the garnishes. They make the dish!
Yield: 8 servings, half can be cooled and frozen if desired
4 cups canned cooked hominy, drained
1 1/2 bones boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 1-inch chunks (boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch cubes can be substituted)
1 large onion, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 canned chipotle chili, mashed with 1 tablespoon adobo (adobo is the sauce in the can), or more to taste or use less if serving children
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or marjoram or 2 teaspoons dried
1 tablespoon ground cumin, or to taste
Salt and pepper
Garnishes (any or all): chopped fresh cilantro, crumbled queso fresco or goat cheese, diced avocado, crumbled cooked bacon or pork rinds, chopped green onions or cabbage, lime wedges, minced jalapeno or other fresh chili, fresh or cooked salsa, sour cream or Mexican crème, sliced radishes
1. In Dutch oven or large saucepan, combine hominy, pork, onion, garlic, chipotle and adobo, oregano and cumin. Add enough water to cover by about 1 inch and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Bring to boil on high heat; adjust heat so the liquid bubbles steadily but not violently. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until pork is tender, about 1 1/2 hours; add more water if necessary. The pozole should be soupy.
3. Taste and adjust seasoning; add more mashed chili and adobo if you like; continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so. You can cool and refrigerate the pozole for up to several days; reheat gently before proceeding. Serve in bowls, garnished with any or all of the suggested garnishes.
Source: adapted from the newly revised “How to Cook Everything” by Mark Bittman (Houghton Mifflin, $37)