Pozole Rojo (Mexican Pork and Hominy Stew)

Soup and StewMexicanPozole

Traditional Mexican pozole (posole) is a rich, brothy soup made with pork, hominy, and red chiles. Pile your bowl with toppings like shredded cabbage, radishes, cilantro, lime, and avocado!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Years ago when I spent a summer studying Spanish in Cuernavaca, Mexico, my Mexican teacher told me that it was much easier to pronounce the language properly if you smiled as you spoke it.

She was right! Good thing Mexican food is so delicioso, because just thinking about dishes like this pozole makes me smile.

It’s somewhat of a feast, pozole. I guess you could make smaller batches, but since you have to cook it for several hours, it just makes sense to make a large amount, and then have lots of friends over with whom to enjoy it.

Pozole (or posole) is a traditional soup in Mexico, often served Christmas eve, and in many parts of the country on Thursdays and Saturdays all year round.

Preparing & Serving Pozole

This pozole rojo, or “red” pozole, is made with pork shoulder or shanks, red chiles, and lots of hominy corn.

I made this for my parents, and they loved it. Mom told me she hadn’t had pozole since she was a kid in Tucson. Lots of smiley faces around the table tonight.

Typically just the simple soup with pork and hominy is served, and the add-ins, or garnishes are set at the table for all to pick and put in their soup as they wish.

You make pozole with hominy

You make pozole with canned hominy

How to Serve Pozole

The soup itself should be rather thin, or brothy, because you are going to load it up quickly with shredded cabbage, thinly sliced radishes, chopped avocados, cilantro, onions, and wedges of lime.

More hot sauce or chiles can be added for more heat. Pozole is all about the garnishes. So good! Many thanks to my good friend Arturo from Guerrero Mexico for showing me how to make this wonderful soup.

Posole Rojo Fixings

How to Store or Freeze Pozole

This recipe makes enough for a large crowd with plenty of leftovers! The leftovers will keep, refrigerated, for about a week or can be frozen for up to three months.

To freeze, transfer the pozole to freezer containers or bags with as little air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Thaw overnight in the fridge, and warm over low heat on the stovetop.

Want More Ways to Enjoy Pozole?

How to make red pork pozole

Pozole Rojo (Mexican Pork and Hominy Stew) Recipe

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 12, plus plenty for leftovers

We haven't made this in a slow cooker, but I'm guessing that step 6 could easily be done in a slow cooker.

Tostadas are crispy fried corn tortillas. They are sold packaged and can often be found in the same section of your grocery store as fresh tortillas, or can be found at Mexican markets. You can make your own by frying stale corn tortillas (or tortillas that have dried out a bit in a warm oven), in hot vegetable oil until stiff.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces guajillo, ancho, or a combination of both, chili pods
  • Salt
  • 1 large (108 ounce, 6 lb 12 oz, 3 kg) can white hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 3 lbs pork shoulder (preferably with bone), cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes (can also use pork shanks), make sure to use a cut well marbled with fat
  • 8 cloves garlic, 4 cloves roughly chopped, and 4 whole cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp of dry oregano (Mexican oregano if available)

Garnishes (can prep while pozole is cooking):

  • Half a small cabbage, thinly sliced
  • One bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 2 avocados, chopped
  • 4 limes, quartered
  • A bunch of red radishes, sliced thin
  • A couple dozen tostada shells (see Recipe Note)

Method

1 Boil 5 quarts water: Fill a large 10-12 quart stockpot with 5 quarts of water. Set on heat to bring to a boil while you proceed with the next steps.

2 Lightly roast chiles, cover with 3 cups hot water. Remove and discard the stems, seeds, and large veins from the chili pods. Heat a cast iron pan on medium high and lightly roast the chili pods for a couple minutes, until they begin to soften. Do not let them burn.

Roast the dried red chilies until fragrant and softened for the red chili pozole soak the red chilis in hot water for the best pozole

While the chilies are heating, bring a medium pot with 3 cups of water to a boil. Once the chiles have softened, remove the pot of boiling water from the heat, add the chiles to the pot and cover.

Let the chiles soak in the hot water for 15 to 20 minutes.

3 Brown the pork, add garlic: Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan) in a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Pat the pork pieces dry with paper towels. Sprinkle them generously with salt.

Working in batches, taking care not to crowd the pan or stir the meat much, brown the meat on all sides.

Brown the pork chunks for the pozole Brown the pork on all sides for the pork pozole

Right at the end of browning the meat, add 4 cloves of roughly chopped garlic to the pan with the meat, let cook with the meat for about a minute.

4 Add pork and spices to large pot of boiling water: Once the meat has browned, transfer it to the large stockpot of boiling water. Scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan, and any garlic, and add those to the pot as well. Add the rinsed hominy.

Add bay leaves, cumin, and oregano. When you put the oregano in, smoosh together with your hands so that the oregano breaks up more as it goes in. Add a tablespoons of salt. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes.

5 Prepare the red sauce by puréeing in a blender the chilies, 2 1/2 cups or so of their soaking liquid, a teaspoon of salt, and 4 cloves of garlic. (To prevent the blender from creating too much pressure, it's probably best to start with the chiles and garlic and only a cup of the liquid in the blender, and then adding the rest of the liquid.)

Strain the red sauce through a sieve, discarding the tough bits of the sauce.

6 Add the red chili sauce to the pot with the pork and hominy. Add another couple teaspoons of salt. Return to a simmer, lower the heat to just high enough to maintain a simmer, partially covered.

7 Cook for 2 to 3 hours until the pork is completely tender. Skim away excess fat. Taste for seasoning and add more salt to taste (you will likely need more than you expect, perhaps a tablespoon or more.)

The resulting soup should be rather brothy, as you will be adding a lot garnishes. Add more water if necessary.

8 Assemble garnishes: When getting ready to serve the pozole, you can prep the garnishes (slice the cabbage, chop the cilantro, etc.)

To serve, arrange the garnishes in bowls on the table and serve the pozole soup into bowls. Let your guests pick and choose which garnishes they would like on their pozole.

Serve with tostada shells (or tortilla chips if you can't find tostada shells).

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Links:

Chicken Pozole here on Simply Recipes

Red posole for New Year's Day from Lisa Fain, the Homesick Texan

Vegetarian posole from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks

Posole with roasted green chiles from Use Real Butter

Bowl of ungarnished Posole Rojo

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

162 Comments / Reviews

No ImagePozole Rojo (Mexican Pork and Hominy Stew)

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Lorena

    Made it and it was awesome!! great recipe for beginners and amatures…thank you!!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Karen Blasingame

    I’m a home cook, and I cant wait to cook that this weekend! I’m going to break down a pork shoulder (bone in) to get that added flavor. My father-in-law says that he has graduated from experimental taste tester to expert flavor judge. I’ll keep you posted…

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Michael

    GREAT RECIPE!!!!! I had some leftover pork roast so i used that. Also like mine a little thicker so i added small can of tomato paste. Tasted just like i had as a kid that my Mexican friends mother’s made. Thank you the seasoning was right on….

  4. Krizia

    Best Pozole I’d ever have! Everyone is always excited when the time comes for me to make this. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. icharmeat

    4 oz of dried chiles seems like a lot to me. I’m preparing this up until the long, tenderizing simmer tonight. but I’ve only used about 1.5 oz. of guajillo dry chiles. I’ve assembled the soup and simmered for 15 minutes after adding the chile preparation just to start bringing things together and the heat level is adequate- an amount of heat that wouldn’t send me to the kitchen looking for hot sauce but there is definitely chile heat in the broth. 2.5X might be a bit more than some in my household would fully appreciate.

    I guess I will see if this is wimpy tomorrow (I have time to adjust) but I wonder if anyone found this too zesty with 4 oz of chiles. FWIW, I’m not a chile-dare kind of guy but i eat some pretty hot stuff like my burger schmear which is a whole, minced habanero, a puny garlic clove from the middle of a bulb, blue cheese and lime juice all mashed together with some textured salt into a spreadable goo. This makes enough for one burger- mine (feel free to use this and adjust as you see fit).

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Pozole Rojo (Pork and Hominy Stew)Pozole Rojo (Mexican Pork and Hominy Stew)