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What is pozole?

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  • David Nov 5, 2003 01:55 PM
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  1. The Spanish word for hominy.

    6 Replies
    1. re: flavrmeistr

      Actually, the *Nauhatl* word for hominy is *nixtamal*. Pozole is the name of the soup/stew the original poster is talking about (and thanks to nja for linking to my August/2003 post about it).

      I'm taking some tourist-people to my favorite cenaduría (supper joint) for pozole this evening. I'm sure they'll want it with *pura carnaza*~just lean pork meat~rather than with the delicacies of lips, tongue, cheeks, ears, and snout. Pozole is traditionally made with the pork foot (pata), the head (cabeza), and as much pork shoulder as needed to round out the pot, plus freshly prepared nixtamal.

      The rich pork broth is prepared with dried chiles guajillo (soaked and ground) to give the broth its deep red color and mildly spicy flavor. I've never known it to be prepared with tomatoes, but then I haven't eaten it everywhere in Mexico. Here, it's the regional specialty. Next weekend the new *señor cura* (pastor) of our parish is being welcomed with a fiesta and a blow-out pozole supper prepared by the community and served in the town plaza.

      Where I live, pozole is traditionally accompanied by tostadas, big crunchy dried and then fried corn tortillas. I first watched batches of tostadas being fried a few years ago and was amazed to see that the salt was applied to them as salt WATER, spray shaken onto them from a small twiggy brush, as the tostadas came out of the hot oil they'd been fried in. The water instantly evaporated, leaving only the salt (imbedded in the tostada) behind.

      The pozoleras (bowls for individual servings of pozole) range from small (the size of a great big soup bowl) to large (the size of...well, a bathroom sink comes to mind). Where we're going tonight the toppings will include shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, minced white onion, a choice of several kinds of salsa in varying degrees of heat, sea salt, dried oregano, and key limes to squeeze into the bowls. Also on the table will be a fresh cucumber salsa, a *curtido de chile habanero*, zanahorias en escabeche (the ubiquitous pickled carrots and jalapeños), and a fresh pineapple salsa.

      And the three of us will waddle out after paying the equivalent of $6.00USD.

      Come down and join us.

      1. re: Cristina
        b
        babar ganesh

        sounds wonderful.
        what part of mexico are you in?

        1. re: Cristina

          Hi Christina. You always have good info on this stuff, but where is "here" for you? I'm guessing Jalisco based on your torta ahogada post a while back. (You noted the original form, which varies when made by people from diff. regions up here in Chicago.) We get lots of pozole rojo up here, too, but I actually prefer the green (with pumpkin seeds)and the white, from Guerrero. Down there they seem to claim they invented pozole. Know anything about this?

          1. re: JeffB

            You're right, here is Jalisco. I think that a lot of places claim to have invented pozole, including the Jalicenses. All I have to say about that is: HOORAY for whoever it was.

            1. re: Cristina

              Amen. It's especially good when its about 10 degrees (F) up here in Chicago. And a massive bucket of the stuff with all the trimmings costs maybe 5 bucks, even at the nicer places. I get the impression that, culturally, Mexican people refuse to pay much for pozole/menudo. It's like a gift. My gringo friends always look longingly at my little $5 feast, which is about 1/4 done long after their tacos are gone.

          2. re: Cristina

            Well rats, I forgot the cost of the drinks when I figured the bill. Two large pozoles, one small pozole, all the tostadas/salsas we wanted, one beer, two homemade *aguas frescas de guayaba*: total bill, 81 pesos (about $7.50USD). The tourist-people said, "THIS CAN'T BE RIGHT!" But it was.

        2. To me, pozole is a mexican style stew/soup with hominy.

          1. Pozole is a wonderful pork and hominy stew. In Mexican families it is a meal for special occasions. Even here on the border, it is often a special or weekend dish at the more authentic Mexican spots, rather than a regular item on the menu. The pork should be in large chunks with bones. A split pig's foot in the stew is OK too. The broth should be richly flavored with ground dried chilies, but not fiery hot. A good pozole is served with a number of condiments for each diner to add on her/his own, usually including diced onions, shredded cabbage, whole dried oregano, dried chili flakes, lime (or lemon) wedges, and fresh cilantro. It can come with beans/rice and should come with tortillas (corn ones go best with it, but some like flour better).

            7 Replies
            1. re: e.d.

              Good answer. It's very rare, but not unheard of, to find it made with chicken or seafood.

              Here's a recipe for the pork kind, with a small photo:
              http://www.southernnewmexico.com/Arti...

              Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

              1. re: nja

                The cooking time seems a little "short" to me. 30 minutes to make a meat-based stew? I would have thought it would (or should) take a bit longer, especially if using unfancy pork bits and parts. Maybe a few hours simmering (with the hominy and other ingredients added towards the end)?

                1. re: tastyjon

                  The recipe calls for 'pork roast'. If that is already cooked (roasted) then 30 minutes in the liquid would be fine. For that matter, if it is uncooked pork loin, 30 minutes would be ok, especially since it is cubed.

              2. re: e.d.
                s
                Stanley Stephan

                I really love pozole and just found a place that serves a pretty good version for the US. There's a wonderful place in Mexico City called Las Ranas (the frogs) that has a tasty pozole.

                HOWEVER, I'm ethnic soup challenged. I needed instructions for eating pho.

                So I've wondered, how do you eat those condiments. Dump them all in the soup at once and squeeze with lime?

                Add a little of this and a little of that for each spoon full and a squirt of lime here and there?

                Soup and condiments eaten like a salad?

                Those tortillas, just fold and take a bite in between sips of soup?

                You gave such a great answer I thought you could clue me in on pozole etiquette.

                1. re: Stanley Stephan

                  Ay Stanley, here's how to do it: squeeze the lime in first, add salsa and salt to your taste, then pile everything else EXCEPT the tostada on top of the soup. Dig around in your bowl so that a bit of everything comes up in your spoon, and down the hatch. Eat tostadas (well, in your case, tortillas) at will. Enjoy.

                  1. re: Cristina

                    Good answer, Christina. But I would caution Stanley that sometimes a restaurant will serve too much of a condiment, and I remember once having a pozole that had too much onion and cabbage for my taste. If the pork is on the bone, I usually fish out big pieces, separate meat from bones, and put in a folded tortilla with salsa. Or put back into the soup. I have also seen people save some of the condiments to add to their pozole tacos. But I don't know if this is done in Mexican families--it may just be what some of my gringo friends do.

                  2. re: Stanley Stephan

                    I've always wondered, what is the proper way to eat pho? Just chunk everything into the bowl?

                2. The other posters are all partially correct. The word pozole is both the Mexican word (in Spain and most other Spanish speaking countries it is not in the vocabulary) for hominy, and the spicey stew/soup made from chicken or pork that contains hominy.

                  1. Hey there, glad I found this topic !

                    I was recently down in Mexico visiting some friends, and was introduced to this tasty brew in various forms.

                    As the other posts indicate, it's basically a stew with hominy and meat (I've seen pork, beef and even chicken used), the classic one involves pork or beef though. Much of the key to the tastyness lies in the toppings and sides though, a good salsa, nice tostadas, fresh radishes, cilantro and shredded cabbage.

                    Menudo is another stew that uses hominy, however, I'm a picky eater, and I don't use the meat they use for menudo, therefore I like to stick to Pozole.

                    I've had a hard time finding Pozole in the US as tasty as the one down in Mexico, however I was successful in finding a rather tasty canned version from La Chata, for those of you that don't know, they are the authority when it comes to beans with chorizo, chilorio, and similar tasty things.

                    http://www.mymexicanpantry.com/mexica...

                    The chili broth is just divine and the pork meat is nice tender and clean. I usually like simmering my broth longer so that it gets a bit thicker and more stew like. The only unfortunate thing is that finding tostadas like the ones you find in mexican cenadurias is rather difficult.

                    Glad to see I'm not the only one hooked on pozole !

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: sakelover75

                      Pozole can be an iffy topic for me. You can basically classify it as a sort of Mexican Beef Stew, while Menudo is more about guts and the like, Pozole is friendlier as it is made with meatier bits.

                      The Pozole from la Chata mentioned by sakelover above is not bad at all for a canned one, I even prefer it to some pozoles I've had around here honestly :P

                      The key to a good Pozole I think is good garnishes, chopped cabbage or lettuce, radishes, a good salsa and warm tortillas ! A good pozole and good sides make for a heavenly combo.

                      1. re: sakelover75

                        My two cents:

                        > Pozole is an ancient dish that dates back at least 600 years to the Aztecs. Sahagun recorded versions that featured a variety of proteins included human flesh (served to honor Xipe). Other writers noted it was a common dish prepared with a variety of proteins including xoloscuintles (a special breed of canine), venison, turkey, sweet shrimp, crawfish... and it was flavored with a variety of chiles, herbs & wild greens.

                        It should be noted that Pozole is most popular in areas where Nahuatl (and its close Mexika dialects were the dominant languages)... Nayarit, Colima, Jalisco, Guerrero Highlands, Mexico State etc.,

                        It basically comes in three types of broth.... White, Red & Green... and still made with a variety of proteins... within Jalisco alone you see some regional preferences.... Pork in Guadalajara, Chicken in the Highlands, and Shrimp on the Coast. There is a version with fresh Corn kernels called Pozolillo... and also Pozolito which is just Pozole that is served very watery with lots of Cabbage, Lettuce, tender Quelites, Radishes, Herbs etc.,... I actually really this.

                        1. re: sakelover75

                          Pozole is one of my 'go to' dishes because it is so easy to make, affordable, extremely tasty and very approachable for other gringos. I prefer to use pork shoulder because more traditional 'left over' cuts (head, feet, ribs) cost much more around here!

                          It is such a no fuss dish; I can't understand why more restaurants don't serve it.

                          The topic of pozole comes up frequently on the Home Cooking Board. Here are some local recipes:
                          http://www.chow.com/recipes/11133
                          http://www.chow.com/recipes/11675

                          Canned pozole - yuck!
                          Xoloitzcuintle - kinda pricey :-) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_...
                          Pork 'roast' - only if you like rubbery protein

                        2. Gotta add my two cents!

                          We go to Zihuatanejo every year and that is where I was introduced to pozole. Every Thursday night is Pozole Night in town and there is actually one little alley that is referred to as Pozole Alley. The three or four restaurants all serve up their version of pozole for about $2 to $3 a bowl! Best deal in town! It comes in pork or chicken, white or red. All are delicious! Sides include white onion, radish, avocado, tortillas or chiccarones (sp?) and chili powder.

                          I have made it at home but putting a cut up pork shoulder in my large stock pot, with some onion and garlic. Sometimes I add either whole or soaked and pureed red chili depending on my mood. Cover the whole thing with water and simmer on the stove until all of the pork is falling apart, 5 or 6 hours. Then I break the meat up and add a restaurant size can of white hominy and simmer another hour or two. Soups on! I love it with the radish, onion, avocado and crushed good quality tortilla chips. It makes a ton and freezes great so there is always a batch in the freezer.

                          The first time I made this I had my husband take it to work for his Mexican co-workers to try to see how I did and one said it was better then his madre's! I took that as a huge compliment!

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: jodymaryk

                            Do you have any idea why Thursday is Pozole night in Zihua?

                            1. re: Eat_Nopal

                              I don't know why, but will be sure to ask when we go back in October for three weeks!!

                            2. re: jodymaryk

                              OMG, I was just thinking about Pozole alley. We actually ate at the one restaurant that makes a verde pozole... intoxicating. All seven of us (4 adults and 3 children—ages 4,9,10) were all ooing and awwing... Divine! My mouth still waters. Attached is a photo (all rights reserved camacho 2007-2008. I have yet to replicate it but Emeril has a recipe on Food network that is somewhat close. I usually blend the idea with a pozole recipe from Two Hot Tamales ladies.

                               
                              1. re: WineUnleashed

                                Small world! I am one of those people who can't stick to a recipe and adjust it to my liking. I will check out Emeril's recipe for the verde pozole. Are you planning on going back to Zihua anytime soon?

                                1. re: jodymaryk

                                  I wish. We just returned from Puerta Vallarta. I can still taste that pozole. it really was a spiritual experience.

                                  1. re: WineUnleashed

                                    PV doesn't stink either!