Pozole Verde

Posted on February 22, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Apparently, I like to attend schools that include children’s activities as part of the curriculum. In drama school we played many different versions of tag. Now that I’m working on a master’s degree in Food Studies, it’s show & tell. Don’t knock it, friends. Children’s activities are awesome. Tag is superduperfun, and when you become the champion of a game called “Name Tag,” you feel all warm and special.

Our Food Studies “show and tell” activities are pretty amazing. Last semester, we had to bring in a food that was important to our culinary identity; I cooked a matzo ball soup. This semester, we were given the task to explore part of the culinary landscape of a particular geographic area. I was assigned Latin America, and chose to make pozole.

Pozole is a pork and hominy stew that originated in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero. Some people claim that the stew dates back to the pre-Colombian era, though it would have to have been made without pork then, since the pig emigrated to the Americas with the Spanish.

Adapted from a recipe from Diana Kennedy’s The Art of Mexican Cooking. Kennedy credits Senora Carmen Villa for development of the recipe.

Ingredients:
½ Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds
2 Cups Tomatillo, hulled, rinsed, and quartered
2 Cups Water
10 Sorrel Leaves, rinsed and stems removed
2 Tablespoons Oil or Lard
½ Serrano Pepper, seeds removed
3 Cups Cooked Hominy Corn*
1 Rotisserie Chicken, shredded**
2 Tsp. Dried Epazote
Salt

For the Garnish:
Radishes, diced
Avocado, diced
Onion, diced
Jalapeño, diced
Cilantro, chopped

Begin by toasting pumpkin seeds in a frying pan over medium heat. Seeds will swell and pop. Toast until they just turn brown. Remove from pan and let cool. Once cool, grind to a powder in a spice/coffee grinder.

Cook tomatillo in a pan with ½ cup water for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Most of the liquid should be absorbed. Transfer to a blender. Add sorrel, serrano pepper, and one cup of water. Blend until smooth.

Heat oil over medium-high heat, and add blended ingredients. Sauté for 5 minutes, and then add ground pumpkin seeds. Sauté for another 10 minutes.

Add hominy, chicken, epazote, and 4 cups water (or chicken stock). Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Serve with garnish.

*For the Hominy: You can buy cans of hominy, and use them. Kennedy recommends making the corn from scratch. This is actually super time consuming, and will require you to source ingredients that might not be easily found. However, the result is worth it; homemade hominy is leaps and bound better than the canned stuff. If you want to do that, here’s what you do:

Start with 1½ cups of dried white corn. Rinse well with cold water. Cover with water, and let soak overnight. Drain. Add soaked corn and 1½ teaspoons powdered lime (calcium oxide) to a pot, and cover with 2 inches of water. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool. Drain, and rinse thoroughly. Then rinse again. Rub kernels with hands until skins are removed from corn kernels. Return to pot, add ½ onion and 2 cloves garlic. Cover with about 3 inches of water, and boil until cooked through, about 2 hours.

**I used rotisserie chicken instead of pork because I was feeling pretty lazy after making the hominy. It was a good call.

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