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Pozole: Hearty Mexican Stew

Pozole is a traditional Mexican stew with robust flavors and hearty garnishes. It's also a well-recognized dish in New Mexico cuisine. Traditionally, large corn kernels called "maiz blanco" (white corn), are ground with lime, cooked and then rinsed. We will bypass that step and use canned white hominy, which is much easier - and more practical for most of us! (Another tradition we'll overlook is using portions of a pig head. We will select from the shoulder parts or the nether regions for our meat.)

Depending on the region of Mexico you visit, pozole is often cooked clear or with dried chiles, which will tinge it with red and add a little heat. It's also heavily garnished with salsa and a selection of spices, veggies, and lime. The clear version with white hominy is posole blanco (white), but you can also make it "verde," or green, from the use of fresh chiles.

Pozole, also spelled posole and pronounced po-SO-lay, is an excellent choice for larger gatherings. Just create it in any quantity desired, throw everything in, and let it simmer for a few hours. It's a wonderful crockpot meal, too.

Pozole Blanco (White Hominy Soup)
Serves 6

1 lb. boneless pork shoulder or rump roast
6 chicken breasts (mix in dark meat if desired)
¾ medium onion (divided use)
6 cups water (divided use)
2-3 cloves garlic (divided use)
2 cans white (or yellow) hominy
freshly ground black pepper to taste
salt to taste
-dried or fresh chiles of choice (optional)

-Cut up the pork in smaller chunks and place in a saucepan
-Place chicken breasts in a separate saucepan
-Add 3 cups water to each pan
-Chop onion into chunks
-Chop garlic
-Divide garlic and onion between the two sauce pans
-Bring both to a boil and simmer until done, about 60-90 minutes
-When done, remove meats and strain the broth
-Include the cooked onion if desired
-Add pork, chicken and broth from both to a larger pot
-Add hominy, after draining from the can
-Chop and include chilies (optional)
-Salt and pepper to taste

You can cook this for at least an hour, longer if desired - it only gets better.

While the posole is cooking, prepare these garnishes. Add them in bowls at the table so everyone can include what they wish. (Lime is not an option - a few squeezes are essential to the authentic flavor of this dish.)

-salsa, homemade or bottled
-fresh onion, chopped
-radishes, in thin slices
-lettuce, cabbage or both, shredded
-crushed, dried oregano
-avocado, if desired
-fresh limes, halved for squeezing

Serve with fresh tortillas or use tortilla chips.

In some parts of Mexico, as well as New Mexico, pozole is considered holiday fare. Eat a bowl or two of it on New Year's (and/or December 31) and good luck will be forthcoming. Some Mexican cities also encourage weekly pozole gatherings. This includes large or small groups of folks and business owners who leave work early and congregate for a rousing good time, along with a warming meal.

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Pittsburg, TX 75686
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