I adore the food of Mexico and I’m pleased that I got Margarita Arronte’s new cookbook for Christmas. I haven’t had a chance to delve into it yet but thought I’d share a Mexican dish that I’ve been cooking for years, pozole.
Each year our family hosts a Mexican themed new years party for friends who have kids. As much as us Scots love Hogmanay, the reality amongst our friendship group or urban family is that often we find ourselves at home with the kids watching the bells on STV, having the obligatory tipple before heading off to bed. So a few years ago I devised this daytime event where folk could bring along their kids, who would upon arrival, disappear into the sea of toys in our kids’ bedroom while the adults would share food, talk and celebrate the new year.
Pozole is a traditional hominy-based stew from the Guerrero region. I’ve no idea where I got the original recipe from and like most regional dishes the world over there are many, many variations of this dish. This particular one, the verde version, gets its name from the addition of green tomatillos and big fat poblano peppers. Most of the ingredients aren’t averrable to me fresh so I have to buy them in tinned. Comment below for some links to grocers.
- 1.65L chicken stock
- 500ml water
- 4 chicken breasts (optional – on the bone), with skin
- 450g tomatillos (fresh or tinned and drained – husked and halved)
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 2 poblano chiles (tinned or fresh – cored, seeded and quartered)
- 2 jalapeños, seeded and quartered
- 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
- A handful chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp oregano leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Three 450g cans of hominy, drained
- Finely shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced radishes, chopped onion, diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and lime wedges, for serving
- In a large, enameled cast-iron casserole, bring the chicken stock and water to a boil. Add the chicken breasts, skin side down, cover and simmer over very low heat until they’re tender and cooked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and shred the meat; discard the bones and skin, if any. Skim any fat from the cooking liquid and reserve.
- In a blender, combine the halved tomatillos with the quartered onion, poblanos and jalapeños, smashed garlic, chopped cilantro and oregano. Pulse until coarsely chopped, scraping down the side. With the machine on, add 250ml of the cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Season the tomatillo puree with salt and pepper.
- In a large deep skillet, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the tomatillo puree and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce turns a deep green, about 12 minutes.
- Pour the green sauce into the cooking liquid in the casserole. Add the hominy and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. Add the shredded chicken to the stew, season with salt and pepper and cook just until heated through. Serve the pozole in deep bowls, passing the lettuce, radishes, onion, avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips and lime wedges at the table.