Red Posole (also referred to as “Pozole”) is a traditional Mexican stew (or, maybe we should call it a soup?) I love it. In fact, it’s probably my favorite thing to eat besides tamales.. and everyone in the family absolutely goes crazy when I get a chance to make it.
There are many recipes for Mexican posole – some with pork, some with chicken – then red chile, some with no chile, and some with oregano and cumin (while some omit those altogether). No matter what the recipe it can be laborious, and perhaps that’s why many restaurants only make posole on the weekends.
You’ll often find that Posole can differ in recipe depending on the specific area of Mexico – my Father-in-Law is extremely particular about his Posole – and for that reason, we try to stay away from taking him to Mexican restaurants because he’ll frequently mention that theirs is incorrect 😉
In our family, we routinely make red posole – we don’t eat pork and prefer to use chicken. It’s a favorite in our house, and it’s not made all that often as it can be somewhat time consuming.
Posole tastes amazing when made in a huge batch, and reheated over the next few days. Definitely one of those dishes that gets better with time. I love to load mine up with lots of onion, cabbage, and radish – then some fresh squeezed lime. My husband usually does the same, but he’ll also add a little dry red chile too.
The word Posole (po-so-LAY) comes from Nahuatl and means “foam” – the hominy expands while the posole is cooking and opens up (or, appears to bloom). When it blooms, it foams on the surface of the liquid signaling that it is ready.
Hominy can be picked up in several forms – I’d say most people usually opt for the large cans of hominy at the market for a few dollars. Others might prefer the dried hominy that they ALSO sell at the market. While both are wonderful, I’m a little more particular about the hominy part of the soup since it’s a corn-based product.
It’s incredibly difficult to find organic hominy – Amazon doesn’t carry it, nor does your typical grocery store or Mexican market. Why organic? Corn is one of those crops in the U.S. that is largely genetically modified.. it’s pesticide laden, which should be concerning to anyone.
You can pick up an organic hominy kit from South Carolina and have it shipped to you – it’s one of the ONLY places I have found for organic hominy in the United States. If you do this route, you’ll need to learn how to prepare the corn (maiz) – it’s tricky, but not impossible.
One day I’ll have to do a separate post on that because it’s a very long, drawn out process. As for now, we’ll assume you are using canned hominy.
- 1 lb dried hominy or, (3) 29 oz cans of hominy, drained and rinsed
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 white onion, halved
- kosher salt (to taste)
- 2 dried ancho chiles (rinsed, stemmed, seeded)
- 4 dried guajillo chiles (rinsed, stemmed and seeded)
- 1/2 white onion, quartered
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground oregano
- 1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
- 6-7 limes, halved
- 1 bunch radishes, sliced thin
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 1/2 head cabbage, sliced thin
- First, you must make the white posole - if you are using dried hominy, place the hominy in a large pot, and add enough water to cover (by 4 inches), and toss in the head of garlic. Bring the water to boil, then reduce the heat to medium/low - partially cover and cook 4 - 4 1/2 hours. The hominy should bloom (open up) and you may need to add more water as needed. Test the hominy to ensure it's cooked - it should he chewy. If done, then remove from the heat and add 2 tsp salt.
- If you are using canned hominy, open the can, drain the water, and add the water to your covered pot. Add water just until the hominy is covered.
- Turn the pot on medium/low and simmer.
- Place the chicken in a large pot of water - cover by a few inches. Once the pot begins to boil, reduce the heat and cover partially - simmer until the chicken is done about 40-45 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot, and strain the liquid over a mesh strainer and keep the liquid.
- Let the chicken cool, then remove the skin and shred into smaller pieces.
- Dump the chicken into the pot with the hominy, and add the cooking liquid from the chicken. Continue to simmer this mixture on low/medium while you make the puree.
- To make the puree, place the ancho and guajillo chiles in boiling water for 20 minutes or until soft. You may want to place a plate on top of them to ensure they stay weighed down under the hot water.
- When the chiles have softened (about 20 minutes), place the chiles and 3/4 of their soaking liquid in the blender with the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt (to taste). Puree until smooth.
- Heat 1-2 Tbsp of oil in a skillet - pass the puree through a strainer over this skillet, pressing the puree with the back of a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible into the skillet of oil.
- Once you have passed as much as you can through the strainer, toss the rest of the puree. Simmer the chile in the skillet until thickened, then remove from the heat.
- Add the chile to the hominy and chicken mixture and simmer on low/medium another 30-45 minutes. Remove from the heat and ladle into soup bowls.
- Enjoy your posole topped with lime juice, radishes, cabbage, onion, and eat alongside tostadas.
- Pork variation: substitute the chicken with pork shoulder (butt). Pork will take twice as long to cook as the chicken, but upon completion, reserve the broth to add to the posole.