Saturday, May 23, 2020

Quarantine Cooking Series: Pozole Rojo

Wes says that he normally wouldn't try to make pozole at home, since he enjoys going to a mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant to have a bowl over the weekend with chips, tortillas, and all of the usual accoutrements.  But when his craving hit during the pandemic, he decided to look up some recipes and figure out how to make this magical Mexican stew.  We're lucky that we live near some ethnic markets in Altadena.  Baja Ranch Market is our go-to place for legit, thick corn tortillas, cheap produce, and pretty much any Mexican ingredient.  Super King is our place to go for interesting cuts of meats and of course, more produce.  Fortunately, we two inexperienced Chinese people were able to get everything we needed to make pozole!  Ah, but we did have to return to the market for more hominy.  Lots more.  We underestimated how much was in that can...and Wes loves hominy.  We still are not sure what the difference is between pozole and menudo, but Wes has made this recipe twice, and the second time he added tripe.  I think that it's more commonly seen in menudo, but anyway, nobody's stopping him from adding it into this pozole recipe.  Customization is the beauty of cooking at home!  I really enjoyed the rich, multi-dimensional taste of this hot red Mexican pork stew, and all of the toppings that Wes served it with made for an even more customizable flavor profile.  So anyway, here is the recipe and method, adapted from a recipe on the Food Network.


5 or 6 dried guajillo chiles (note: the original recipe uses chiles de arbol)

4 or 5 dried ancho chiles

6 cloves garlic (2 smashed, 4 finely chopped)

Kosher salt

2 - 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder and pork neck bones

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 tablespoons oil

1 large white onion, chopped

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 bay leaf

3 15-ounce cans white hominy, drained and rinsed

Diced avocado, shredded cabbage, diced onion, sliced radishes and/or fresh cilantro, lime wedges, or tomatoes for topping


  1. Soak the pork neck bones in cold water to draw some blood out of the bones for 15 minutes.  Boil water and add the pork neck bones into boiling water (if you want to add tripe, do the same) for about 10 minutes to flush out some more impurities.  Run under cold water. 
  2. Break the stems off the chiles and shake out as many seeds as possible. Put the chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water; weigh down the chiles with a plate to keep them submerged and soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Transfer the chiles and all of the soaking liquid to a blender. Add the smashed garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth. 
  3. Rub the pork all over with the cumin and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Add oil into the stock pot and brown the pork.  Remove after browned.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high. Push the onion and garlic to one side of the pot; add the pork to the other side and sear, turning, until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in about 4 cups of water and 4 cups of chicken broth, oregano, bay leaf, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the blended chiles. Bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Partially cover and cook, turning the pork a few times, until tender, about 2.5 - 3 hours.  Transfer the pork to a cutting board; roughly chop and return to the pot. Add some water or broth if the pozole is too thick. Add hominy and simmer uncovered for another 45 minutes to an hour.  If you're adding tripe, you may need more time.  Season with salt. 

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