Earthy, spiced authentic Mexican Pozole Rojo De Puerco for a crowd
About the recipe
This pozole recipe turns out a rich, spicy, brothy stew.
This is a complex recipe with several steps, but well worth the effort if you're serving a small crowd of people you love. It calls for nixtamalizing dried corn, which means boiling it with culinary lime for hours. You should do that the day before.
Can't find dried corn or culinary lime? Adapt this recipe by using hominy instead.
Read through the recipe before you begin. The equipment you'll need includes a braising pot, a blender and a 10-quart pot.
This recipe is courtesy of Maricela Vega, adapted from Chico with permission. Read more about Vega and other chefs trying to bring heirloom corn to the U.S. here.
Cooking time: Up to 6 hours (including 4-6 hours for nixtamalizing corn)
Hands on time: 2 hours
Servings: At least 10. Freezes well.
1 pound dry red bolita maize and 1 tablespoon lime (calcium hydroxide, also known as culinary lime) or one large (110-ounce) can of white Mexican-style hominy.
5 pound pork shoulder
3 heads of garlic
8 dried guajillo peppers, deseeded and destemmed
4 fresh jalapeno peppers, deseeded and destemmed
3 large onions, chopped
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Handful of spices: allspice, clove, cumin, peppercorn varieties, annatto
seed, split into 2 batches. A handful is approximately 8 tablespoons. Adjust to your personal taste.
Nixtamalize the maize. Bring 8 quarts of water, corn, a head of garlic and culinary lime to a boil in a large pot. Once boiling, drop to a simmer and allow to cook for 4-6 hours. Once the kernels are tender, flush the maize clean by running it through water. Set aside.
If you want to skip this step, you can substitute one large can of Mexican-style white hominy, and add the hominy into the stew in the last 30 minutes of the recipe.
Cook the pork: Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. While your corn is cooking, season the pork shoulder with salt. Heat over medium heat an oven-safe pot large enough to hold your pork. Brown the pork shoulder on all sides. It should release its own fat, but add cooking oil if needed. Add in 8 cloves of roughly chopped garlic and the chopped onion, along with half of the spices.
Fill pot with enough water to cover the pork, and bring it to a boil while scraping off cooked bits from the bottom. As soon as the water comes to a boil, remove from heat and place pot in the preheated oven. Braise pork at 425 degrees until the meat breaks apart easily, at least 4 hours.
Once your pork is cooked, remove the meat from the liquid to cool. Skim about 70% of the fat. Strain the liquid and reserve it. Pull or chop pork into chunks when it's cool enough to handle.
Make a sauce: While the pork is braising, boil the de-seeded guajillo peppers in 2 quarts of water with a handful of salt. Once the peppers soften, cool the mixture.
Meanwhile, peel the last head of garlic and toast the second batch of spices over low heat. Add the jalapeno peppers, the cooking liquid with the guajillos, the toasted spices and the garlic to a blender and puree. You may need to do this in several batches. Splash vinegar into the sauce.
Finish the dish: In a large 10-quart pot, combine the maize (or hominy), the pork liquid, the pork chunks, the red sauce, and add in a few quarts of water or stock to your stew mixture. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes before serving. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
Serve with garnishes such as oregano, lime, onions, tortillas and cabbage.