Tuesday, December 15:
One of my favorite soups is pozole, it’s a Mexican soup with pork and hominy which is a little bit spicy or maybe it was spicy because I wasn’t sure which chile to put in the soup. Either way, it started to get chilly here in the desert and I thought, perfect, I’ll make pozole! How hard can it be? Throw some pork and canned hominy in the pot and let it simmer for a few hours, come back and enjoy…come to find out, it’s a little bit more involved than that. It’s especially confusing because I had to use 3 different recipes to arrive at the final product. Initially, I asked my friend Angela if she had a recipe for pozole because if she made it, I know she would find a way to make sure it’s pretty healthy and tasty at the same time. I was feeling like I was coming down with the flu on Monday so I texted her my question and knocked out shortly after.
The next day I get her response and her fiance suggested I check out the Rick Bayless pozole recipe, so I took a look at it and it called for three different cuts of pork, I had 5 lbs of pork shoulder, didn’t know what “trotter” was or what that would taste like so I thought, skip that body part. The recipe also was made to feed an army, I only wanted to use 5 lbs of pork shoulder. Next, I read the rest of the recipe and I haven’t gone to the big Mexican grocery store my aunt recommended so I wasn’t going to be able to get “3 pounds (about 7 cups) dried pozole corn, preferably red pozole corn, OR 4 pounds (about 10 cups) fresh or frozen nixtamal corn, well rinsed” I thought, I better find a recipe that lets me use canned hominy even though I read the real pozole corn tastes better.
Here are the links to the other two recipes I integrated together.
Pozole Recipe 2
Pozole Recipe 3 – Chef Michael Chiarello’s from Travigne Restaurant – I recommend using this recipe for a smaller batch and the Rick Bayless recipe to feed 25 – 30 people.
I ended up following most of Pozole Recipe 2, using the proportions from Pozole Recipe 3. Although, I might be using the third recipe in the future, I would have gone the Rick Bayless route but there were too many ingredients I was unfamiliar with. On Tuesday night after I made spanish rice, shrimp tacos, and fish tacos for dinner, I started the pozole making adventure. I chopped up the pork shoulder into pork chop slices, threw them into the pot, and covered with lightly salted water like the recipe asked. Then I put the 2 jalepenos into a pan and started browning it, it was kind of scaring me because it kept making these popping sounds, I was just hoping the jalepenos wouldn’t explode. I didn’t know if I should pierce them like a sausage to let whatever was popping escape.
Next, I did a rough chop of the onions dumped them into the pot, along with garlic, threw in the Mexican oregano (thankfully it was labeled on the package at the store), then in went some cumin which I measured because I don’t like the taste of overpowering cumin. That was supposed to boil, then simmer for at least 45 minutes. In the meantime, the hominy was soaking, not sure if it needed to or not. Then I asked my dad for rubber gloves so I can chop up the chiles and jalepenos the next day.
Wednesday, December 16:
The recipe said to skim off the foam that showed up on top of the soup, I apparently missed the foam and wasn’t able to skim that off. My dad said the foam shows up right before boiling and gives the soup the clearness, why doesn’t the recipe say, BEFORE the soup boils watch for this foam.
My mom helpd me skim the fat off the top of the stock, which to me was more important to get rid of excess fat than to get rid of foam. Since I had to cut the meat into 1 inch cubes, I also cut off any visible fat and threw that away to make it healthier. While cutting the onions, I had to leave the kitchen to rinse my eyes in the bathroom because they were tearing so much. I just watched Julie & Julia and Meryl Streep as Julia Child chopped a mountain of onions and didn’t tear at all! If only this was a movie, I could swap with the real chef for the next stage of the recipe. Janet commented on Facebook that she could see me in the kitchen with safety goggles and if I had thought of that I would have put on my snowboarding goggles to cut the onions. Here I thought I was prepared by getting the rubber gloves to chop the jalepenos. I know I’m a total wimp in the kitchen. At this point, I’m thinking, why didn’t I just want to make sopa de fideo??
Browning the meat and the onions went without further incident, then I realized I didn’t know which chiles to use. I already had these 2 jalepenos but I didn’t know if I should use the ancho or the arbol chile. I mean the arbol chile is so tiny, how many of these would I need for the recipe?? The Rick Bayless recipe calls for a cup of the arbol chile, recipe 2 calls for 2 jalepenos, and recipe 3 calls for 3 whole ancho chiles. I decided to throw in 1 tiny arbol chile, the 2 jalepenos, and 1 ancho chile. Ummmm….I probably should have left one of those off because my lips were tingling when I ate it, my dad and sister thought it was good though and it tasted the way I wanted it to taste, except for the part where it was a bit too spicy for my other daughter to eat.
I have to say, it was a lot of work, and it took a while for my eyes to stop burning. I think the end result was worth it, maybe next time I will be armed with snowboarding goggles, a big cleaver knife, gloves, and just the third recipe to simplify the process. Maybe no teeny arbol chile either…maybe I’m not meant to be a domestic goddess after all. The picture in this post is the end result of the two day pozole adventure.