My good friend, Daisy first introduced me to this soup. She makes hers with chicken also and spices it up with chipotles, which I LOVE. You can check out her version here. What’s funny is that while working in Fontana, California all my students (the majority of whom were Hispanic) would tell me that their favorite thing to eat was pozole. “Because you get to put a bunch of stuff in it.” Having never tried it, I had no idea what they meant. Then I moved to Salt Lake City, where, let’s face it the majority of people were white and it was there that I had my first taste of pozole. Let me just say that I can now totally agree with all my former students. One of the best parts about pozole is definitely putting “a bunch of stuff in it.” While I love the hominy and the spiciness of the chiles, I absolutely love adding avocado, cilantro, radishes, and cabbage along with a healthy squirt of lime. I made this this week and my family ate it twice for dinner, but then I got to enjoy it for a few lunches as well. Nothing beats warming up by eating a spicy soup while it’s snowing outside.
I have had traditional pozole which is made with pork and I’m not gonna lie, it was amazing. Some of the PTA members at my school made some for the teachers to have during parent-teacher conference night and it was hands down one of the best soups I’ve ever had. The thing is that it’s made with pork, which we don’t eat because I don’t buy it and it takes like 4-5 hours to make which just seems like a super long time to me. I guess if you’re on top of things and you’re great at planning ahead it’s not that big of a deal, but if I can find a way to make something quicker then I do.
I love shortcuts. So this version definitely doesn’t take four or five hours to make. In fact, it’s closer to one. I prefer to make the red sauce the day before or at least well before I’m in the swing of making dinner so that it’s one less step I have to worry about. This makes more than enough red chile sauce too so you can use it to make chilequiles or enchiladas. Those recipes should be coming soon…
- 3/4 cup dried chiles de arbol
- 4-5 ancho chiles
- 6 cloves of garlic, divided (2 smashed, 4 finely chopped)
- 3 large chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion
- 8 cups chicken broth (4 cans)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 25 oz cans of white hominy, drained and rinsed
- 2 avocados (for garnish)
- shredded cabbage (for garnish)
- diced onion (for garnish)
- sliced radishes (for garnish)
- 1 bunch cilantro (for garnish)
- limes (for garnish)
- tostada shells or tortilla chips (for garnish)
- Boil two cups of water. Use a knife to score each chile, slicing them down the middle. Open them up and scrape out all the seeds. Put the chiles in large bowl and cover with the boiling water. Add another smaller bowl on top of the chiles to keep them submerged. Allow them to soak for 30 minutes. Transfer the chiles and 1 1/2 cups of the soaking liquid to a blender. Add the smashed garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, pushing the sauce through with a rubber spatula; discard the solids. Set sauce aside.
- Add the chicken into a large pot of water (enough to cover the chicken about 10-12 cups) and bring to a boil until chicken is cooked through. Empty about half of the water out of the pot, leaving about six cups. Take out the chicken breasts, shred, sprinkle with salt & pepper and return to the pot.
- In a small skillet add vegetable oil and sauté the onion until soft (about five minutes) and then add the chopped garlic and cook an additional two minutes. Add these to the pot of chicken.
- Add cumin, oregano, chicken broth, bay leaf, & hominy along with 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of red chile sauce. I like to go with only 1/2 cup to ensure that it’s not too spicy for my two little ones. That way my husband and I can add extra sauce as we prefer it.
- Cook soup at a simmer for about thirty minutes. Discard bay leaf.
- Serve with extra broth in each bowl so you can load it with all the fun toppings.
Notes- Serves 6-8