My Mother’s Pozole

Pozole

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Pozole is one of those traditional dishes that makes you feel Mexican. It conjures up images of grandmothers and aunties laughing in the kitchen. It brings up memories of Christmas eves’, wintery nights, and family celebrations.

It reminds me of my mother, cooking. Pouring all the love and dedication she has for her family into this dish. And it reminds me of my father. He has this way of eating the pork bones clean. There is nothing on those suckers once my dad is done with them. I can’t think of pozole without the image of my dad eating pozole.

It is, clearly, a family meal. It is meant to be enjoyed, slowly, coupled with the joys of family musings.

It is also best served pipping hot. Made of pork shoulder or shanks, espinazo (pork spine), hominy and seasonings, pozole is served with a side of cabbage, limes, chopped onions, and thinly sliced radishes. You add as many sides as you wish to the rich, oregano infused broth, and you get heaven on a spoon.

So, do you want to learn how to make pozole? Keep reading.

You need:

  • One very large pot
  • half the pot of water
  • 5 kilos of esinazo (pork spine)
  • 3 1/2 kilos of pierna de Puerco (pork shoulder or shanks)
  • 1 large can of hominy
  • 2 full heads of garlic
  • 5 chiles pasilla
  • 1 whole white onion (finely chopped)
  • 8-10 radishes (thinly cut)
  • 2 tablespoons of oregano
  • 10 lemons
  • 1/2 cabbage or 1 whole head of lettuce (whichever you prefer)(finely chopped)
  • salt (to your liking, we use aprox. 2 1/2 spoonfulls)
  • knorr suiza (to your liking, we use aprox 3 large spoonfulls)

The timframe from beginning to end for making pozole is roughly two hours, so make sure you start well before you want to eat.

Step by Step Instructions:

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Take a large pot like the one shown here, fill it up halfway with water, and add two whole heads of garlic. Cook on medium heat.

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Then mom hand washes each piece individually before placing it in the pot for the cooking

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She adds the meat piece by piece and adds oregano, liberally, as she goes along. We love oregano in our family.

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Once you have the garlic, oregano, and meat you have a lot of other things to do while it cooks!

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You need to get a second pot. This is the medium version.

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You take your large can of hominy and drain it (that’s my dad helping mom do this part). Like I said before, food is a family affair.

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Once you have drained the hominy, add water and wash it out

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Mom washing the hominy several times and mixing it. She takes great pride in her meticulous cooking. No one in our family will ever get sick from something not being washed enough.

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You then take your clean hominy and place it in the medium pot, add water, and set it on medium heat to cook. While that and the meat are cooking you will be working with the rest of the ingredients.

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Next, you will be working with the chile pasilla. This is what the chile looks like. You will use 6-7 pieces to start (but you can add more depending on how much flavor you like in your pozole).

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You cut the chile open and wash it thoroughly. Make sure to get rid of any seeds and cut out any veins. By the time you are done with the chile it should look like this picture

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Once washed

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You will now take the chile pasilla and boil them in a smaller pot. You can fill the pot up about halfway with water for this process and turn the heat up to high.

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You will let these cook until the water is boiling (approximately 7-9 minutes).

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This is what they look like once fully cooked

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Next, you need to place your cooked chiles pasilla into the blender and add two tablespoons of knorr suiza and water from the pot in which they were cooked. You want to add about 1/2 cup of said water (enough to make it liquid but not so much that it doesn’t turn into a paste in the end).

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Once the chile paste is blended you will add it into your large pot with the pork meat and let it all cook together

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After your meat has been cooking for an hour, you will take your now cooked hominy and slowly add it into the larger pot. Hominy absorbs a lot of liquid as it is cooking and, if cooked together with the pork, it will absorb a lot of the yummy broth in the larger pot. For this reason, we cook it separately and then add it to the rest of the mix once it is cooked. It will continue to cook with the meat and seasonings in the larger pot, thus absorbing the flavors, but it won’t use up all the water at this point.

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You should now have your meat, chiles pasilla paste, and hominy all in the larger pot. It is all cooking together and should stay on the stove for another 35-45 minutes. While it does that, you will be preparing all of the side items that we add to the pozole once it is on the table.

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First off are your radishes. You wash them thoroughly.

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And then you cut up your radishes in a thinly sliced manner.

Can’t stop staring at my mom’s apron? Several of you wrote me the last time she made us one of her specialties and asked about it. It is a hand made Arte Otomi apron and, yes, it is stunning! You can get your own, along with other beautifully crafted pieces, at the socially conscious ArteOtomi.

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These radishes will be added, at each persons discretion, to the pozole bowl.

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Also served with the radishes are finely chopped onions and more oregano. All three ingredients are added to your bowl of pipping hot pozole as you see fit.

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The last item is the 1/2 head of cabbage or whole head of lettuce. You can also serve both and let people choose. I like cabbage, my dad likes lettuce. Whichever you decide on, they both do the same thing: they are the final toping in your pozole.

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We also like to serve lemons (to add into your pozole) and more of the chile pasilla (just in case anyone wants to add more kick to their broth)

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About an hour and a half to two hours after starting, your pozole is ready!

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It is customary to place the lemons, chopped onion, oregano, cabbage/ lettuce and any extra chile sauce in the middle of the table. Each individual can then choose what they would like to add to their pozole and how much and customize this excellent dish to their liking. Enjoy!

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