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Pozole Verde

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SKILL LEVEL :
Easy but takes some time

Chicken pozole verde | Something New For Dinner

Pozole, also spelled posole, is a traditional Mexican soup that dates back to the Aztecs. Pozole roja is the most common pozole and is typically made with pork and a red sauce, but there are also variations that are made with chicken and a green or white sauce. Red chiles are used to make pozole roja and green chiles and tomatillos are used to make pozole verde.

Hominy is the Foundation of Pozole Verde and Pozole Roja

Hominy is what makes pozole pozole. Hominy is dried corn that has been soaked in lime water and has the germ removed, a process called nixtamalization.  Hominy is considered a whole grain. You can buy hominy dried and prepare it like you would dried beans or buy it canned. Just like dried beans, dried hominy makes a better product, but the ease of using canned hominy is very enticing and is what I use for this recipe. Feel free to prepare your pozole from dried hominy if you have the time. Dried hominy is readily available at Mexican markets and on Amazon.
Note: SNFD is an Amazon affiliate and we may make a small commission when you purchase through our links.

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1 cup of dried hominy makes about 4 1/2 cups cooked hominy. One 15-ounce can of hominy equals about 1 3/4 cups cooked hominy, so if you are using dried hominy plan on about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups dried hominy for this Pozole Verde recipe.

Nutritional and Health Value of Hominy

Hominy is a nutritional powerhouse in that it is low in calories, but high in protein, fiber, omega-6 fatty acid, and a wide variety of minerals. The nixtamalization process improves its nutritional value over regular corn by making B vitamins more available and adding calcium.

Celebratory Meal with a Gruesome History

In Mexico, pozole is traditionally eaten on special occasions such as Christmas, birthdays, weddings and quinceaneras celebrations. Interestingly, the Aztecs also ate pozole for special celebrations, but instead of pork or chicken, their pozole was made with sacrificed human flesh. Yikes!

Make a Big Batch for Your Freezer

I find pozole to be a very comforting fall soup that can be made in a large batch and frozen. This recipe makes 6 quarts, or 12 - 16 servings, depending on whether you serve up 1 1/2 or 2 cup servings. Pozole verde freezes beautifully, so spending a little time on the weekend to make up a big batch will pay off in creating several meals to pull out of the freezer for busy week nights. Personally, I double this recipe and make 12 quarts of pozole verde at a time.

Garnish for the Win

A good pozole verde is made even better by serving it with a variety of garnishes. Garnishes may include:
  • Thinly sliced cabbage or lettuce
  • Queso fresca or feta cheese
  • Sliced radishes
  • Sliced onions
  • Avocado
  • Pico de galo
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
  • Jalapeno or other peppers
  • Rice
  • Hot sauce

Chicken Pozole Verde

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 12 - 16 servings

This pozole verde is deeply satisfying, makes for a delicious special occasion meal and freezes well for future easy weeknight meals. The fun part of serving pozole is allowing guests to individualize their garnishes.

Ingredients

For the chicken: 

  • 3 quarts chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

For the green sauce:

  • Splash of olive oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and sliced into 8 wedges
  • 6 garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 poblano chiles, seeded and sliced into quarters
  • 2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and sliced into quarters (use more if you like heat)
  • 2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and sliced in half
  • 1 T dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 1 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1 cup roasted pepitas
  • 1 bunch of cilantro including stems, washed
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

For the soup:

  • 3 15-ounce cans hominy, drained
  • 3 medium to large zucchini, chopped in bite-size pieces

For the garnish:

  • Sliced lettuce or green cabbage
  • Slices avocado
  • Sliced onion
  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Sliced radishes
  • Queso fresca or feta cheese
  • Cooked rice
  • Pico de galo
  • Sour cream
  • Hot sauce

Instructions

For the chicken:

  1. Pour chicken broth into a large soup pot. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil. Add chicken, allow to return to a boil and reduce heat. Cook for 10-12 minutes until done. Remove chicken from broth and allow to cool on a plate. When cool, shred into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Note: don't overcook the chicken or it will be tough. Turn the broth heat down to a low simmer while you prepare the sauce and shred the chicken. 

For the green sauce: 

  1. While the chicken is cooking heat a dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed large pot over medium-high heat. When the pot is hot, add a splash of olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add onions, garlic, poblano and jalapeño chiles, oregano and cumin. Cook over medium heat until the onions start to take on a little color and the chiles soften. Add the tomatillos, a pinch of kosher salt and 1 - 2 cups of broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until the tomatillos soften and turn a darker green, about 15 minutes. 
  2. While the vegetables are cooking put the roasted pepitas in a blender or food processor and whirl until they are finely ground. When the tomatillo and chile mixture is done, lift them out of the remaining broth and put them in the blender along with the ground pepitas, cilantro and lime juice. Blend or process until smooth. Add kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. 

For the soup:

  1. Pour the remaining liquid from the pot of chiles and tomatillos into the stock pot along with the green sauce, hominy and zucchini. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until zucchini is soft. 
  2. Add the chicken back to the soup pot and cook for about 5 minutes to warm the chicken back up. Do not allow to come to a boil or the chicken will be tough. 

To serve:

  1. Put out bowls of the different garnishes and allow guests to add the their preferred garnishes to their individual bowls. 

Courses Dinner

Cuisine Mexican

THIS SERVES WELL WITH
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