You know how when you’re little and you get sick, you are given soup? I think it’s kind of a universal thing for some reason. Whenever one of us kids got sick, it was a never ending cycle: chicken noodle soup, saltines, 7-up, and more chicken noodle soup. Looking back on it, it seemed like some kind of conditioning ritual for whenever you’re sick or life kind of just gets you down – soup is there for you. Soup won’t let you down. Soup won’t flake on plans with you. It’s got your back.
The weather has been a little spastic lately and switching from sun, to rain, and to windy all in the same day, and it really put me in the mood for some heart-warming soup last week. I had some leftover carnitas from a few days prior, and I had been trying to think up some kind of pork soup when it hit me: pozole!!
For those who don’t know, pozole hails from Mexico and is a sort of soup/stew made with hominy as one of the main ingredients. And while it is absolutely glorious, its history is a little morbid… it was originally made with human meat from prisoners that had been through a ritual sacrifice. Then the Spanish came along in the 1500s and put all of that nonsense to rest by banning cannibalism. Rest assured – there is only pork in this recipe.
Pozole has three main varieties (rojo, blanco and verde) with rojo being the most common and the most available. I’ve had pozole rojo a few times, and I was excited to try making a pozole verde, because I’m addicted to salsa verde and anything with tomatillos in it.
The best thing about this soup though, is that you can pretty much do anything to it and it will be amazing. I added rice because I wanted it to be a little more substantial… but you could easily leave it out if you want. Or add in some chipotle purée for a smoky kick! You can literally do whatever you want, and it will be better than delicious. So have fun with it!
Pozole Verde with Pork and Rice
- 1 large pasilla or poblano pepper, cored and seeded
- 3 or 4 tomatillos, cut into quarters
- 1 jalapeno, cored and seeded
- 2 chilis de arbol, dried
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 large handful cilantro
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 medium or large white onion, cut into quarters
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 c. carnitas or other pulled / chunked pork; cooked
- 1 beer, preferably Mexican
- 5-6 c. chicken or vegetable stock (less if using liquid from carnitas)
- 1- 25oz can hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 c. white rice
- Radishes, avocado, lime slices, cotija cheese, sour cream, and shredded lettuce for garnish
If you are using my carnitas recipe for the pork, make sure to reserve 1-2 cups of the cooking liquid in the bottom of the dutch oven. You can either leave it in the pot if you’ll be using the same vessel for the pozole, or transfer to another pot. This will add a ton of extra flavor to your soup.
If you are using different pork, Make sure to cook through to an internal temperature of 165°, and shred or cut into 1″ chunks. Reserve your cooking liquid and add to the bottom of the dutch oven in step 2.
- Add tomatillos, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, chilis, garlic, oregano, pasilla or poblano pepper into a food processor or blender. Pulse until it is still chunky, but mixed. Add some of the stock to make it easier to blend, and process until desired smoothness (I prefer it to be a little chunky still, almost like a salsa verde.) If needed, blend in batches to ensure even mixing. Set aside, and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat with oil or cooking liquid from carnitas. Add in tomatillo mixture and simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavor. Add carnitas and heat through, followed by hominy. Add beer, and let cook another 5 minutes. Add the rest of the stock and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, add rice and give it a quick stir before reducing to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until rice is done, taking care not to overcook or rice will become gummy.
- Serve into warmed bowls and top with desired garnishes