In the week leading up to Thanksgiving, I found myself on a Mexican food kick. I was cleansing my palate with spicy food. I hungered for something different than the Turkey with all the fixings I make on the big day.
*If you’ve been wondering why this blog seems Tex-Mex themed recently…there you go.
Pozole is a pork and hominy stew served throughout Mexico. It has been a staple of Mexican cuisine since pre-Columbian times.
Hominy is the name we picked up from Native Americans for corn that has been treated with lime, in the process called nixtamalization. In Mexico, it is called pozole, posole, or nixtamal; the dish picked up its name from the main ingredient. And yes, the corn is the main ingredient; the meat is supposed to be a supporting player.
I’m taking the easy way out and making this pozole with canned hominy. I wanted to make dried hominy in the pressure cooker, but I also wanted a weeknight meal. When I read it would take an hour and a half to cook dried hominy, even with the speed of the pressure cooker, I reluctantly went back to canned hominy.
*This is the kind of trade off I make as a weeknight cook. I’m going to revisit pozole in the future, so I can try out dried hominy in the pressure cooker.
**Dont’ have a pressure cooker? No worries. Check out the Variations section below the recipe…
Recipe: Pressure Cooker Red Pozole
Adapted From: The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
- Pressure cooker, at least 6 quarts (bigger is better, like my giant Kuhn Rikon 12-quart pressure cooker)
Pressure Cooker Red Pozole – have a hearty Mexican soup ready in a litte over an hour using canned hominy.
- 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch strips (my local grocery store sells these as “western ribs”)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 chipotle en adobo, minced, with some adobo sauce
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablesopon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
- 3 tablespoons masa harina flour (or substitute regular flour)
- 2 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade) or water
- 2 (15-ounce) cans hominy, drained and rinsed
- 14-ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (Piloncillo is authentic, but annoying to grate)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Brown the pork: Sprinkle the pork evenly with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Heat the vegetable oil in the pressure cooker over medium-high heat until shimmering. Brown the pork in two to three batches, depending on the size of your pressure cooker. Brown each batch for six minutes total, turning the pork halfway through the cooking time to brown it on two sides. Remove the pork to a bowl, leaving as much fat behind as possible.
- Saute the aromatics and toast the spices: Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and 1/2 tsp kosher salt to the pressure cooker. Saute the onions until softened, about 5 minutes, scraping occasionally to release the browned pork bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic cloves and chipotle en adobo, and saute for one minute. Make a hole in the middle of the aromatics and add the chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Cook for one minute, or until fragrant, then add the masa harina flour and mix into the aromatics.
- Cook the pozole: Put the pork (and any juices in the bowl) back into the pressure cooker. Add the chicken stock and hominy and stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pot one more time. Add the tomatoes on top, but do not stir. Lock the lid on the pressure cooker, and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes in a stovetop PC, or 24 minutes in an electric PC. Turn off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure. Add the lime juice and brown sugar, stir, then taste the pozole. Add salt, pepper, and more brown sugar to taste – I usually add another teaspoon or two of kosher salt, plus a good grinding of black pepper.
- Serve: Serve the pozole in bowls, with one or more of the following toppings on the side: sliced radishes, diced onions, sliced avocado, tortillas, tortilla chips, and/or hot sauce.
- Heat level: Don’t want to start with a spicy Pozole? Skip the chipotles en adobo and it will be very mild, but still full of flavor. Want more heat? Up the chipotles to 2 tablespoons. (Or, add hot sauce at the table, which is what I do.)
- Don’t have a pressure cooker? Cook the recipe in a dutch oven. In step 3, instead of pressure cooking on high, bring the pot with all the ingredients to a boil. Then cover the pot and move it to a 350*F oven for 2 hours. Remove from the oven, and season to taste.
- Speed up the browning with two pans. Instead of browning all the pork in the pressure cooker, brown one batch in a fry pan and the other batch in the pressure cooker. Remove all the pork to a bowl, continue with the onions in the pressure cooker, and simmer the stock (or water) in the fry pan, scraping the browned pork on the bottom of the pan into the stock.Pour the stock from the fry pan into the pressure cooker when the recipe says it is time to add the stock. (Those browned bits are full of flavor we don’t want to leave behind.)
- This recipe is made for leftovers; it tastes better the next day, and freezes very well.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook
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