This dish, called pozole verde in México, features bits of braised pork, chicken, and hominy lolling in a thick, flavorful broth of puréed chile, tomatillo, onion, garlic, and ground pumpkin seeds and is garnished with a raft of good things including chunks of avocado, sliced radishes, cilantro, and crisp tortilla chips.
DINNER IN A BOWL
Pozole is both the Mexican name for hominy as well as the name for this ancient family of stew-like soups that feature the vegetable. With all its delicious variation of taste, texture, and nutrition, it is very much a meal in itself.
Read Related: Heritage Recipe: Easy Pozole Rojo con Pollo
PORK, HOMINY & VEGETABLE STEW WITH GREEN CHILES & PUMPKIN SEEDS (POZOLE VERDE)
3 lbs meaty pork neck bones (or 1½ pounds pork neck bones and 1½ pounds fresh pork hocks)
1 lb chicken wings
1 large white onion, quartered lengthwise, peeled with stem intact plus ½ large white onion, finely chopped and soaked in a few changes of water, 5 to 10 minutes each, drained
3 large cloves garlic, 2 crushed, 1 left whole in its skin
16 cups cold water
½ lb tomatillos (about 6 medium), husked and washed
¾ cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
2 green serrano chiles, or 2 small jalapeños
1 large poblano chile
2 TSP ground coriander
1 TSP ground cumin
1 generous TBSP lard or vegetable oil
Two 15 oz cans white or yellow hominy, rinsed and drained
- Place the pork bones, chicken wings, two of the onion quarters, the crushed garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt in a heavy 12- to 16-quart stockpot and cover with the water. Bring just to a simmer and skim off any impurities that rise to the top. Reduce the heat to maintain the barest possible simmer and cook for 2½ hours, checking occasionally to make sure that only a few bubbles break the surface as it cooks. Strain through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer placed over a bowl, reserving pork and chicken. When meats are cool enough to handle, pick the flesh from the bones (discarding bones and connective tissue). Shred the meat fairly fine, and if you have more than 3 cups, reserve remainder for another use. Wipe out the pot and measure the broth; you should have about 6 cups. Add water or stock or simmer broth to reduce volume, if necessary.) and pour it into the pot.
- Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat and add the tomatillos. Reduce the heat and simmer until tomatillos are soft but not falling apart, about 10 minutes. Drain and reserve.
- Place the pumpkin seeds in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the seeds, stirring and tossing regularly, until about half have turned a pale nut brown color, 5 to 10 minutes. Do not burn. Transfer to a small bowl and reserve.
- If using an electric stove, preheat the broiler.
- Return the skillet to medium heat and add the 2 remaining onion quarters, cut-side down, and the remaining clove of garlic in its skin. Cook, until the onion is lightly blackened on the two cut sides, 5 to 10 minutes, pushing on them to help them make contact with the skillet. Transfer to an enclosed paper or plastic bag or covered bowl to steam and reserve.
- If using a gas stove, place the serrano and poblano peppers on one of the gas burners over a medium-high flame. Roast until blackened and blistered all over, 4 to 8 minutes, turning every few minutes to expose all surfaces to the flame. If using the broiler, place the peppers about 4 inches from the heat and handle as above (take care with smaller thin-skinned chiles so the flesh beneath doesn’t incinerate). Place blackened peppers in the bag with the onions and garlic and let them steam until cool enough to handle.
- Peel the peppers to remove most of the blackened bits of skin but don’t wash them. Seed, stem, and coarsely chop the peppers and place in the bowl of a blender. Peel the reserved garlic clove and coarsely chop along with the reserved blackened onion and add to the blender. Add reserved pumpkin seeds, tomatillos, coriander, and cumin to the blender; first pulse and then process the mixture, adding a few tablespoons.