Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pozole Rojo

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Rich red pozole with hominy and pork, brought to life with fresh toppings
I just started participating with The Daring Kitchen group who put out monthly kitchen lessons in 2 categories - baking and cooking.  The March, 2012 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Carol, a/k/a Poisonive – and she challenged us all to learn the art of Braising! Carol focused on Michael Ruhlman’s technique and shared with us some of his expertise from his book “Ruhlman’s Twenty”.  These challenges allow you to either cook a recipe provided by the challenger or to use the technique in a dish of your own.

I chose to use the braising technique in a dish of my own, pozole rojo.  This Mexican classic is all about rich flavors that are achieved with lots of peppers and low and slow cooking.  You then bring the dish to new heights with piles of fresh and full flavored toppings when it is finally time to eat.  MMmmm!

Pozole Rojo
If you are using dried hominy for this recipe (which I recommend), be sure you set those to soak overnight the day before. If you really wish you can use canned hominy instead, just hold off on adding it until the last 1 1/2 hours of cooking time.
  • 3 lbs pork shoulder, bone-in, cubed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 lb dry hominy (soaked in water overnight)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs oregano
  • 8 dried Guajillo chili peppers, seeded and cleaned
  • 4 dried Ancho chili peppers, seeded and cleaned
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 1 juice of one lime

  1. The night before pour your dried hominy into a large bowl and cover with cold water by at least 3 inches.
  2. The next day, bring 3 cups of water to boil in a small pot. Add the cleaned dried chiles to the water after roughly chopping them to about 1 inch size. Turn off the heat and let the chilis soak for 45 minutes.
  3. While the chilis are softening up and rehydrating, put a very small amount of oil into the bottom of a large dutch oven or enamel covered dutch oven and put over a high flame. When the oil is just starting to shimmer and wisp a little, carefully brown your seasoned cubes of pork making sure you do not crowd the pot and that you let the bits sit without moving them until a deep brown crisp is formed. Turn over and repeat, then remove to a plate. Do this several times in small batches until all of the pork is seared and a dark color. Don't skip the bone in this step - brown it well too and add it to the plate.  Set this aside.
  4. In the same pan you used to brown the pork add the onion and salt and stir, just cooking until the onion is translucent. Add in the garlic, cumin, oregano, and 1/4 cup of the cilantro, stirring well. Add the cups of chicken stock and the juice of the lime, then return the meat and bone to the pot too. Bring back up to a boil.
  5. While the soup is coming up to a boil, pour the rehydrated chilis and all of their soaking liquid into the blender. Holding the lid carefully tight and covered with a towel, blending until the chilis are smooth. Through a mesh strainer pour the chili sauce into the dutch oven. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to smoosh the chiles in the strainer, getting every last red drop.
  6. Stir everything together and as soon as the pot reaches a boil turn it down to a very slow simmer. Add in the hominy and cover the whole thing with a tight fitting lid. Let this all very slowly cook for 3 - 3 1/2 hours, making sure you don't disturb things too often.  Add additional water if you need to, but most often you will not.
  7. Serve in a large bowl with tortillas, limes, cilantro, radish slices, avocado, sour cream, and any other items that inspire you. So delicious!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 12 servings

This has been shared with Real Food Wednesdays.