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Make Gonzalo Guzmán’s pozole rojo

Straight out of the Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen cookbook, this recipe for red pork soup with hominy provides an authentic taste of Aztec cooking

Make Gonzalo Guzmán’s pozole rojo

Serves 8

Preparation time 45 minutes

Cooking time 3 hours

Pozole is one of Mexico's oldest soups, supposedly dating back to Aztec times. Though nowadays there are a million different versions, this old-school recipe has a smoky red stock spiced with pureed chiles. You wouldn't call it pozole without the addition of hominy—whole white corn kernels that have been acidified to soften their casings and render their kernels plump and chewy.

Pozole is all about the garnishes, from corn chips to radishes, limes, cabbage, and fresh oregano. Feel free to pile them high in your bowl. And because every Mexican has to have something spicy on the table, we finish ours with a mix of ground chilli powders (or you can substitute hot sauce).

You need a large stockpot to make this dish, or you can divide it among two large cast iron casserole dishes.

Ingredients

  • ½ white onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 8 stems of coriander, plus fresh coriander leaves for serving (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.4kg pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Adobo (recipe below)
  • 1.28kg cooked hominy or store-bought canned hominy (maize kernels)

Adobo:

  • 8 large dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large white onion, roughly chopped
  • 1½ tsp dried Mexican oregano (normal oregano will do)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Salt

For serving:

  • 900g julienned green cabbage (about 1 small-to-medium head)
  • 16 radishes, thinly sliced
  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 limes, halved
  • 2 tbsp chilli powder
  • Chopped fresh oregano, or dried
  • 100g tortilla chips

Method

For the adobo:

  1. Place the chiles in a heatproof bowl and add boiling water to cover; let sit until the chiles are softened, about 20 minutes.
  2. Transfer the chiles to a blender (reserve the soaking water). Add the garlic, onion, oregano, cumin, and a generous pinch of salt to the blender and puree, adding just enough of the soaking water to form a thick, smooth paste.

For the soup:

  1. In a piece of cheesecloth, wrap the onion, garlic, coriander stems, and bay leaves; secure with twine to form a bundle, then set aside.
  2. Season the pork on all sides generously with salt. Place the pork, adobo, and the cheesecloth sachet in a large stockpot; add 5½ litres of water to cover, and stir or whisk to incorporate the adobo. Season generously with salt, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook until the pork is tender, about 1 hour.
  3. In a blender, puree 160g of the hominy with about 235ml of the braising liquid from the pork. Add the pureed hominy and the remaining 1.1kg of hominy to the pozole and bring back to a boil. Turn off the heat and let it cool slightly, then skim away the excess fat that rises to the top. (Pozole can be made in advance and refrigerated at this stage.)
  4. Bring the stew back to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Ladle into 8 serving bowls and serve with the cabbage, radishes, red onion, limes, chilli powder, oregano, coriander, and tortilla chips.
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