Authentic Chicken Pozole
I’ve had so much going on lately that I haven’t been able to spend much time at home. With the holidays approaching much faster than I’d like, I decided to slow down, step away from my social calendar, and spend a nice quiet weekend at home. I had it all planned out, in addition to the long list of projects I wanted to accomplish, one of the things I was really looking forward to is cooking in my new kitchen. I’m a pretty good gourmet cook, (if I do say so myself), and I had a craving for my homemade chicken pozole.
So, What is Pozole?
Pozole is a hardy soup consisting of a broth, hominy, other veggies, seasonings and a garnish. Pozole soup originates from Mexico going back to the Aztecs. The spelling of this delightful concoction has evolved over the years, the correct spelling is pozole, but it is also known as pozsole, pozolé, pozolli, or posole. Since maize was considered a sacred plant to the Aztecs, pozole was reserved for special occasions. Recipes for authentic Mexican pozole vary greatly, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had pozole soup the same way twice, (even when I make it), because everyone puts their own spin on it, which is part of the beauty of the dish. It can be what you want it to be. There’s green pozole, white pozole, vegetarian pozole, some pozole is made with a seafood based broth, there’s chicken pozole, pork pozole, I’ve even heard of an all meats pozole recipe. No matter what the combination of ingredients, there’s one ingredient all pozole has in common, hominy or corn (I prefer hominy). Pozole incorporates a variety of subtle flavors that highlight the nuttiness of the hominy, with seasonings and veggies. Pozole is often complimented by the spicy kick of some kind of warm roasted peppers, like green chiles.
How to Make Pozole:
I like to make things completely from scratch. For this recipe, I make my own chicken broth and roast all of the veggies. I like layering the flavors and letting them build to bring out their full flavor profile. The only thing in my recipe that comes from a can (and I hate that it did) is the hominy. I bought the veggies right down the street from Shed 1, (the Local Produce section), of the Dallas Farmer’s Market. I love shopping at the Farmer’s Market and using local ingredients whenever possible. The quality is better, everything tastes fresher and I like knowing that I’m supporting my local community.
- 3 Yellow Onions
- 1 Whole Head of Garlic
- 4 Medium Poblano Peppers
- 3 Jalapeno Peppers
- ¼ Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Whole Chicken Cut into Pieces
- 1 Sweet Potato (3 Cups Cubed)
- 1 LG Can Hominy (3 Cups)
- 4 Sm Zucchini (3 Cups)
- Course Sea Salt (To Taste)
- Fresh Ground Pepper (To Taste)
- Red Pepper Flake (To Taste)
- 1 Large Bunch Cilantro Finely Chopped
- 2 Med Ripe Avocados
- 8 Oz Queso Fresco
- 4 Fresh Limes Quartered
- Chop onions into rings. One onion will go in a pot for the chicken broth and the other two will go in a roasting pan. Slice just the very tops of the garlic cloves off the bulb and place it cut side up in the roasting pan with onions. Remove 2 large cloves of garlic, peel them and and place them in the stock pot with the single onion.
- Chop the peppers in half, discarding the hard stem tops and any seeds. Place chopped and seeded poblano peppers and jalapenos in roasting pan with onions and garlic. Drizzle both pans with olive oil, being sure to well cover the garlic cloves, add sea salt & pepper. Cover the roasting pan with aluminum foil and place in a pre-heated 350 F oven for approximately 45 minutes. When done, remove roasting pan from oven and let cool.
- Sweat the onions, garlic, olive oil, sea salt and pepper in stock pot over medium heat be careful not to let them brown. When onions begin to wilt add chicken pieces and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil. The chicken meat will take approximately 20 minutes to cook. Remove chicken pieces from the pot and place them in a bowl to cool. Set broth aside while chicken cools enough so you can handle it. Once the chicken has cooled, remove skin, fat and bones placing them back in the stock pot. Separate edible chicken meat and shred the meat in a bowl. Discard any parts you do not want to eat (bones, fat, etc) back into the stockpot. If the level of liquid is too low, add water. If the pot. Return pot to heat and continue to boil for another 20 minutes. The favor from the chicken will build the broth flavor. Remove all remaining chicken solid parts and strain the broth. The strained broth will be the base of the soup.
- Return strained chicken broth to stock pot. Salt and pepper to taste if needed, add red pepper flake. Add roasted peppers, onions and garlic to stock pot with shredded chicken meat and simmer over low heat. Peel and cube the sweet potato and discard any brown spots add cubes to stock pot. Rinse hominy and add it to the stock pot. Add ½ of the finely chopped cilantro, reserving the other half for garnish. Rough chop zucchini, and add it at the end, it doesn't need to cook long. Serve or allow to sit for better flavor.
- To serve, add some Pozole to a bowl, crumble 1 oz of Queso Fresco on the top of each serving, add some fresh avocado pieces, sprinkle with cilantro and squeeze a wedge of fresh lime juice to garnish.
While there are easy pozole recipes, they don’t taste as good as this. I like to experiment with the recipe each time I make it, one time I’ll use green tomatillos in the broth, another time I’ll use hatch chiles with lots of lime. Sometimes, I’ll use different peppers, depending on what looks good at the market that day, and other times, I’ll stick to the basic recipe. This chicken pozole recipe takes a while to make, but it’s totally worth it, its just what you want on a crisp fall day, and the bonus is your whole house will smell amazing.