Chicken Pozole

I’ve been begging my friend Arturo to teach me how to make pozole for months now. The problem is that it is sort of like asking someone to make you “taco night”. Pozole is a big production, not in the making of it, but in all of the wonderful garnishes you can add to it. Pozole is a traditional soup or stew of Mexico, from pre-Columbian days. The name is derived from the Nahuatl “potzolli” and the stew is made with hominy and pork or chicken. This particular version of Arturo’s is made with chicken, and is called “pozole blanco” in his native state of Guerrero, Mexico, where pozole is practically the state dish. While in New Mexico posole is traditionally served on Christmas eve, in Guerrero it is served every Thursday and Saturday, all year long. Light and healthful, pozole is also a common Mexican cure for a hangover, ironic in that it is also traditionally enjoyed with mezcal.

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken, 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 pounds, cut into parts
  • Salt
  • 1 red onion, sliced in half
  • One large 6-pound 9-ounce can of hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp dried oregano (Mexican oregano if you have it)

Garnishes

  • 1/4 whole cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 1 tomato, cored, chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, chopped
  • 1 red onion, peeled, chopped
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 large bunch watercress, chopped
  • Mexican cheese, Queso Fresco, sliced
  • Several red radishes, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
  • Chopped seeded jalapeno or serrano chiles, or other chile peppers
  • Tostadas or tortilla chips

Method

1 Place chicken pieces in a large pot, cover with about 3 quarts of water. Add one onion, sliced in half, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered until the chicken is tender and cooked through, about 20-30 minutes.

2 Remove chicken from pot, let cool so that it is cool enough to handle. Use a fork to pull chicken meat away from the bones. Set the meat aside and return the bones to the stock pot. Continue to simmer the bones, uncovered, for another half an hour.

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3 Take 4 cups of the hominy (about half of the can) and place into a blender. Scoop 2 cups of the chicken stock from the stock pot and add it to the blender. Add 4 peeled cloves of garlic to the blender. Place the lid on the blender, cover with a towel so that you don't get burned, hold down the cover and blend until completely puréed.

4 Skim foam and excess fat from the top of the surface of the stock. Remove the bones and any solids from the stock pot and discard. Pour in the blended hominy to the pot. Add the remaining whole hominy to the pot. Add 2 Tbsp of crumbled dried oregano. Bring to a simmer and cook for an additional 20 minutes.

5 While the hominy is cooking in the stock, prepare the garnishes. Arrange on a large platter or in several small bowls. Right before serving, shred or chop the cooked chicken meat and add it back to the pot. Add salt to taste.

Serve pozole in individual bowls topped with the garnishes of your choice. Serve with tostadas (flat fried corn tortillas) or tortilla chips.

Main Ingredients

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