Pozole: Ancient Mesoamerican Soup

This soup dates back to ancient Mesoamerica where it had ritual significance for the Aztecs.
December 21, 2016

Ingredients

For the Soup
  • 1.8 kg (4 lb) chicken, in portions/jointed
  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) pork (leg is best), cut into 5 cm (2 in) cubes
  • 1 large onion
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) hominy
  • 1/2 garlic bulb, cloves separated
  • 3 dried ancho chillies
  • 2 dried cascabel or guajillo chillies
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, pan-roasted then ground
For the Garnish
  • shredded lettuce (iceberg works best)
  • thinly sliced radishes
  • finely chopped green chillies
  • finely chopped red and white onion
For the tortillas
  • 240 g (8 1/2 oz/2 cups) masa harina flour
  • 250 ml (8 1/2 fl oz/1 cup) hot water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

Make the Soup

Place all the soup ingredients in a large saucepan or stockpot, except the cumin and oregano, adding enough water to cover. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for about 1 hour or until the chicken and pork are tender and falling off the bone.

Remove the chicken and pork from the stock, then remove the meat from the bones and set aside. Remove the onion, garlic cloves and chillies from the stock and set aside. The only ingredient left in the stock should be the hominy.

Place the cooked onion and garlic, the cumin, oregano and 125 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) of the stock in a blender and process until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve back into the pan.

Now place the cooked chillies in the blender with a further 125 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) of the stock and process until smooth. Strain through a fine sieve back into the saucepan, as you did with the onion and garlic mixture.

Return the chicken and pork meat to the pan and season to taste. Return to the heat and simmer gently over a low heat for another 10 minutes.

Make the Tortillas

The first part of this recipe makes masa dough, which is used in many delicious recipes, not just for making tortillas!

Place the flour in a bowl with the water and olive oil. Mix together to form a dough and then let rest for 20 minutes before using.

When ready, roll the dough into walnut-sized balls. Using a tortilla press, flatten the dough balls to form your tortillas. (It is easier to peel your tortillas from the tortilla press by lining each side of the press with baking paper.)

If you don‘t have a tortilla press, sandwich the masa dough balls between 2 pieces of baking paper and roll out with a rolling pin to 2 mm (1/16 in) thick and 15 cm (6 in) in diameter.

To cook, place a lightly oiled frying pan over a high heat. Place the tortillas in the pan, one at a time, cooking them for about 2 minutes on each side or until the edges begin to colour. Wrap your cooked tortillas in a clean tea towel (dish towel) to keep warm.

Makes 12 large tortillas

To serve, place a ladle of broth and a good portion of the meat in each bowl and top with the garnish. Eat with fresh, hot corn tortillas. ¡Exquisito!

About this recipe

Pozole, literally meaning “foamy”, is a very special soup dating back to ancient Mesoamerica where it had ritual significance for the Aztecs. With the main ingredient of hominy, a type of dried corn, pozole was considered a sacred dish.

Ingredients

For the Soup
  • 1.8 kg (4 lb) chicken, in portions/jointed
  • 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) pork (leg is best), cut into 5 cm (2 in) cubes
  • 1 large onion
  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) hominy
  • 1/2 garlic bulb, cloves separated
  • 3 dried ancho chillies
  • 2 dried cascabel or guajillo chillies
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, pan-roasted then ground
For the Garnish
  • shredded lettuce (iceberg works best)
  • thinly sliced radishes
  • finely chopped green chillies
  • finely chopped red and white onion
For the tortillas
  • 240 g (8 1/2 oz/2 cups) masa harina flour
  • 250 ml (8 1/2 fl oz/1 cup) hot water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
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