Pozole Rojo with Pork (GF)

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Oh, pozole. It's just the thing in the winter - a hot, chile infused, pork filled soup with a multitude of little toppings to dress it up. I love it but hardly ever make it at home because it can be pretty time consuming. I've edited this recipe down so it's easy and has minimal steps. 

If you've never had it, it is a brothy mexican soup made with chiles, pork and hominy. There are two kinds that I'm aware of - rojo (red) and verde (green). This is the red one. Toppings like any combination of toasted tortillas, cheese, avocado, sliced radishes, shredded cabbage, cilantro leaves, diced white onion and lime wedges should be served with it. 

A note on ingredients: hominy is a dried corn kernel that has been nixtamalized, meaning it was soaked in an alkali mineral bath that makes it easier to digest. You can find it dried or canned. Canned is much more convenient, just drain, rinse and add it to the soup. Treat the dried stuff as you would dried beans, soak overnight and simmer in a large pot of water for a few hours until softened. They will be puffy and chewy. 

To make the tortilla crisps in the photo, just heat a soft corn tortilla in a skillet over medium heat until it it crisp, golden and blistered, flip and repeat on the reverse. 

serves 4. 

Pozole Rojo

1 dried ancho chile pepper

2 cup boiling water

dash oil

6oz cooked, shredded pork

2 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1 quart and 1 cup pork, chicken or vegetable stock

1 14 oz tin drained or 8oz dried then cooked hominy

s+p, to taste

lime juice, to taste

In a small skillet over medium high heat, toast ancho pepper. It will puff up and become toasty. Be careful not to burn it - it won't taste good. Once toasted, remove and discard stem, seeds and membranes. Break into pieces, cover with 1 cup boiling water. Cover and set aside for 15 minutes. 

In a medium pot, heat a dash of oil over medium heat. Cook pork, garlic, bay leaf, oregano and cumin until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add stock and hominy. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. 

Blend chile with soaking liquid until very smooth. Add to soup. Continue to simmer until hominy is nice and soft, wanting to fall apart, maybe 30 minutes overall, depends on what kind you used, Add more water or stock during cooking if needed. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice. 

Serve with garnishes on the sides like toasted tortillas, cheese, avocado, sliced radishes, shredded cabbage, cilantro leaves, diced white onion and lime wedges. 

Pozole Rojo Enchiladas

Have you had posole (or pozole) soup before?  The red one?  It's a great thing.  These enchiladas are based on that soup.  We used the same chiles for the sauce, filled them with hominy and served then with a number of toppings like avocado slices, cilantro, shredded cabbage and limes.  

Serves 4.

Pozole Rojo Enchiladas

For the sauce:

3 ancho peppers, stemmed seeded

3 guajillo peppers, stemmed, seeded

1/2 large yellow onion, peeled, coarsely chopped

4 garlic cloves, peeled, smashed

2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded

1 tablespoon dried oregano

juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup stock, chicken or vegetable

1 teaspoon agave nectar

many pinches of salt      

sugar to taste 

For the chicken:

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs

s+p

1 teaspoon olive oil

Sprig fresh thyme

2 bay leaves

Juice 1/2 lime

Pinch garlic powder

1/2 yellow onion, halved

For the enchiladas:

1 tin hominy, rinsed, drained

12 corn tortillas

1 cup grated cheese ( I like a blend of jack, Colby, cheddar) 

chopped fresh cilantro leaves

shredded lettuce or cabbage

diced onion

lime wedges

sliced radishes

sliced avocado

Soak chiles in hot water for 30 minutes.  Drain and discard water.    In a blender, blend chiles, onion, garlic, tomatoes, oregano, lime juice, stock and agave until very smooth.  Strain, discard any solids.  Pour into a small sauce pot and simmer 20 minutes.  Adjust to taste with salt and sugar.  

While chiles are soaking or the sauce is simmering get the chicken going.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss chicken thighs with salt, pepper, olive oil, thyme, bay leaves, lime juice, garlic powder and onion.  Place in 9 or 8 inch baking dish and roast about 20 minutes or until done.  (Internal temperature will read 165.)  Remove from oven and cover.  Let rest at least 10 minutes.  Uncover and shred.  Discard, onion, thyme sprigs and bay leaves before shredding.)

Turn oven to 350 degrees.  Mix shredded chicken, hominy and 1/2 the cheese in a bowl with 1/3 of the sauce.  Heat tortillas in a microwave or in a skillet to make them more pliable.  (Warming them in a skillet is more time consuming but yields better flavor.)  Spoon filling into tortillas and roll, place seam side down in a 9 x 13" baking dish.  Cover with remaining sauce and cheese.  

Bake 10 to 15 minutes, cheese will be melted and contents hot.  Serve with desired garnishes.  My suggestions are cilantro, shredded lettuce or cabbage, diced onion, sliced radishes and avocado.