Pozole is popular in many Latin American countries. It is made from corn that is treated with lime (the mineral), and then cooked with spices and often meat to make a hearty soup or stew. The lime treatment enhances the nutritional value of the corn and changes its flavor.
In the markets and several other street locations in Morelia, the capital of the state of Michoacán, you can find some of the best pozole in Mexico. That is not to say that there are not other great versions, but this one typifies for me what pozole is all about.
- 16-24 ounces fresh or frozen pozole*
- Salt, to taste
- 2 ½ pounds pork stew meat or pork shoulder meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons pork lard or vegetable oil
- 1 medium-sized white onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
- Generous pinch of cumin
- 1-2 tablespoons Mexican oregano, toasted, plus more for garnish
- 2 bay leaves, toasted
- Pinch of ground clove or allspice
- 1 ancho chile, toasted, stemmed, seeded, and chopped coarsely
- 1 guajillo chile, toasted, stemmed, seeded, and chopped coarsely
- 1 chipotle chile en adobe, puréed (optional)
- Water or pork broth
- Shredded cabbage, chopped onions, radishes, fresh limes, cilantro, or toasted ground chili powder, for garnish
- Cotija or other sharp, crumbly cheese, for garnish
In a pot, gently boil the pozole in enough water to cover for 25-40 minutes. The kernels will just begin to open up or “blossom.”
In a separate skillet, salt and brown the pork well in the lard or vegetable oil. Remove from the pan and, in the same pan, lightly brown the onion and garlic. Return the pork to the pan and add the spices, the chopped chiles, and chile purée, if using.
Stir well and fry for about 3 minutes, then add water or broth to 1-inch above the meat. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 25-35 minutes until the meat begins to get tender.
Combine with the pozole and simmer for 25-40 more minutes until the meat is very tender. Garnish and serve.