I learned about Pozole during my trips to Acapulco while I was attending university. My best friend at the time had relatives living there, so each time we could escape, we would go visit them. We had some very fun times in what was then a very popular beach town for international tourists and Mexicans alike.
Nowadays, unfortunately, Acapulco is in what we call a “zona caliente”, or hot zone, dangerous because of drugs and cartel activity. I don’t think I will return to Acapulco anytime soon, but I hold on to very good memories of my time there.
One of the things I love about Acapulco is the fact they had (and still have) an official city-wide Pozole day. Restaurants and home makers have a set day of the week dedicated to making and eating Pozole. Let’s just say it’s a specialty of the town, and it is absolutely delicious.
Pozole can be red, white or green depending on the region it’s made in. The red one is made with pork and chicken (or only pork, in some cases), and seasoned with dried chiles - they add heat and give it its colour. The white one is seasoned with aromatics and herbs, and the green one - my favourite, is chicken based, and seasoned with lots of green stuff like poblanos, tomatillos, cilantro, epazote and pumpkin seeds to give it a bit of a thicker texture. It is delicious!
The other ingredient that characterizes Pozole is the use of “maíz pozolero” or hominy corn. Yes, you can use canned hominy, but if you go the extra mile and cook your own corn from dried, you will never go back, trust me on this one. If you own a pressure cooker, you can cut the cooking time in half, but if you don’t have one, soak your hominy overnight and then cook as directed, it will go a bit faster. If you can’t find maíz pozolero, you can use dried Peruvian mote blanco pelado (peeled white corn), it works like a charm.
As in many Mexican soups, the garnish is just as important as the soup itself. Crown your bowl of Pozole with avocado, radishes and Mexican oregano, and add a generous splash of lime juice and serve with corn tostadas on the side. You will certainly feel like you are in Mexico, at least for a little while.
Pozole Verde estilo Acapulco
Green Pozole, Acapulco style
For the Hominy:
2 cups dry hominy corn
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
For the Pozole Verde:
450g fresh tomatillos, husked and washed, quartered
2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled and deveined, chopped
2 jalapeño chiles, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 Tbsp dried epazote (or 8 fresh leaves)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1 Tbsp vegetable or grapeseed oil
2 litres chicken stock
3 chicken breast halves, poached and shredded
Salt to taste
1 avocado, peeled and cut into chunks
6 radishes, thinly sliced
Corn tostadas for serving
For the hominy corn:
In a medium saucepan, place the dry hominy corn. Cover with 2 inches of water and add onion, garlic and salt. Place it on the heat and bring to a boil. Turn down and simmer, covered, for 1 1/2 hours, until corn is tender, adding water if it evaporates too fast. Remove onion and garlic, drain and reserve. (This can be done a day ahead. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.)
For the Pozole Verde:
In blender container, place tomatillos, roasted poblanos, jalapeños, onion, garlic, pumpkin seeds, epazote, cilantro, oregano and a bit of chicken stock. Blend until completely smooth.
In large saucepan, heat oil and cook sauce over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add chicken stock, shredded chicken and cooked hominy corn. Add salt to taste and simmer, partially covered, for at least 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
Serve, garnished with avocado chunks, radish slices and crumbled Mexican oregano. Serve with lime wedges and corn tostadas.