Yield: 12 servings
Time: 4 hours, 45 minutes
This traditional Mexican soup is culturally prevalent, but has a long history of being tied to special occasions (particularly New Year’s Eve) and traditions. Working in restaurants, pozole was always a Sunday family meal after a long six days of work and some aggressive celebratory drinking to mark the end of the week. AKA, the restaurant industry’s hangover soup.
Around the world and throughout history, soup has been a humble way for cultures to survive. Even a quick look at cuisines globally reveal soup’s ubiquity; and although they’ve often been functional, failsafe form of sustenance, that hardly means they’re boring. In a simple bowl of soup, we see culture come alive, brimming with local ingredients. It’s a full creative expression of the people who invented each and every one.
For chile purée:
- 12 guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 12 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
- ½ medium sweet onion, left intact
- 10 garlic cloves, smashed
For the stock:
- 2 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 lb. pork spare ribs, cut into pieces with 3 ribs each
- 1 pig trotter, scrubbed and cleaned
- 1 medium sweet onion, very thinly sliced
- 15 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup neutral oil (grapeseed or peanut)
- 2 tbsp. mexican oregano
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp. ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- 2 cans of hominy, drained and rinsed
For the garnish:
- Diced avocado
- Finely-chopped white onion
- Fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Thinly-sliced cabbage
- Thinly-sliced red radishes
- Red chili flakes
For chile purée:
- Bring a large skillet to high heat. Toast guajillo and ancho chiles until fragrant, for about 20 seconds on each side. Watch your toast here so you don’t burn the chiles.
- In a stockpot, add the guajillo chiles, ancho chiles, and enough water to cover the chiles, plus 1 inch.
- Bring to boil on high.
- Once boiling, take off heat, cover and set aside. Let sit for 30 minutes to soften the chiles.
- Heat a cast iron on high heat.
- Lightly coat the onion and garlic with olive oil and place in the pan. Onion should be cut side down. Char both until golden brown.
- Place charred onion and garlic cloves into a blender.
- Once the chiles have softened, strain the chiles, reserving the chile water, and add the chiles to the blender.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved chile water to the blender.
- Blend on high until you achieve a smooth consistency. Add more chile water as needed.
For the stock:
- Heat a large stockpot on high to get the pot as hot as possible.
- Heat the oil in the pot.
- Season pork shoulder, spare ribs and pig trotter generously with kosher salt.
- Add sliced onions and minced garlic to the pan. Stir and sweat the onions and garlic until golden.
- Add 8 quarts of water, pig trotters, Mexican oregano, bay leaves, and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and stir.
- Bring to boil on high, reduce heat and gently simmer for 1 hour.
- Add the pork ribs and pork shoulder to the pot and gently simmer for 1 hour.
- Use ladle and skim any foam, fat and impurities from the top of the stock during the 3-hour simmer.*
- When the ribs and pork shoulder are fall-apart tender, remove all pork from the pot and place into a large bowl with a slotted spoon.
- Pick the pork and discard the bones and trotters. Set the meat aside.
- Add the chile purée into the stock.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the hominy and pork meat to the pot and bring to a boil.
- Serve in individual bowls with the garnishes on the side for guests.
*If you are planning on serving the pozole the next day, you can refrigerate the soup (after it has cooled) for 6 or more hours and discard the layer of hardened fat from the top.