Pozole is a classic Mexican soup made with pork; big, fat kernels of corn (hominy); and traditional Mexican seasonings. All that having been said, I make no guarantees that this recipe is “authentic”, but I do guarantee that it tastes delicious. It adapts well to a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or a standard large soup pot or dutch oven.
In a hurry? Use the pressure cooker to tenderize the meat. Planned ahead for a busy day? Use the slow cooker; just put your ingredients into the slow cooker, set it for high (6 hours cooking time) or low (10 hours cooking time) and get on with your day. Dinner will be ready at the magic moment when everyone converges on the kitchen with “Mom, I’m starving. What’s for dinner?”
Traditional pozole generally uses a homemade chili sauce, but I have opted for the use of red enchilada sauce. Why? Mostly because my eyes start to glaze over and my brain goes numb when I think about the multiple steps involved with an authentic chili sauce. I’ll have to get braver one of these days and make the real thing. One of these days.
There are three types or colors of pozole: red, green, and white–the colors of the Mexican flag. Obviously, from the picture at the top of this post, I have opted for the red pozole in this recipe. If you want it green instead, then use green chili sauce or green enchilada sauce.
The amount of heat in the sauce is up to you. The heat in this recipe comes from the addition of chipotle peppers in adobo. I used only two peppers with seeds and found that it was all the heat I wanted. Everyone’s heat appreciation level is different, so start with one pepper if you are not certain about how hot you want the pozole. If heat is generally a problem for your palate, then be sure to leave out the seeds from the chipotle peppers. Seeds = increased heat.
Hominy brings an interesting texture to the soup, dense and somewhat potato-like, which offsets the heat of the peppers. Although this is corn, forget about it being like the standard sweet little nuggets you may be used to seeing and eating. Hominy is big and starchy, offering a meaty texture. It comes in white or yellow. I prefer the flavor of the yellow hominy, but either color is just fine for pozole.
Most of the ingredients for this soup can be found in the Hispanic foods isle at the grocery store. Walmart keeps an especially well-stocked Hispanic food section.
As for the pork in this recipe, pork shoulder is often the cut of choice for pozole. However, I used pork that was labeled by my grocery store as being good for carnitas. In the past I have also used precut pork cubes. These look similar to the beef cubes used for stew…except, of course, they are pork. The pork for carnitas came in thick, rough-cut slices, similar in looks to boneless pork chops. I cut them into bite sized pieces, cutting away the fat. Pork for pozole needs less fat than is required for carnitas.
Hopefully, in the interest of providing taste and texture education I haven’t scared you away from making pozole. This recipe is very easy to make and would be a great accompaniment or main dish for many types of Mexican style meals. Traditional toppings for pozole include shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, and cilantro. Very Springy, in season types of veggies and herbs! Radishes and raw cabbage may sound a bit odd, but they really bring a nice flavor to the pozole.
Note: The following recipe instructions are for making pozole in a slow cooker. The main goal for the cooking time on pozole is to allow the pork to become tender. Please see “Alternate Cooking Methods” at end of recipe for using a pressure cooker, large stock pot, or dutch oven.