Mar 29, 2017

Pork Pozole Verde

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 2 hrs
This Mexican soup has a spicy base featuring tomatillos, jalapeños and poblano peppers and also includes hominy and tender pork shoulder.

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Pork pozole verde is a Mexican stew with a spicy base featuring tomatillos, jalapeños and poblano peppers and also includes hominy and tender pork shoulder. The origins of the dish trace back to the Aztecs. The soup is served hot with various topping options such as cilantro, cotija cheese, sliced jalapeño, radish, avocado, shredded cabbage, crispy tostadas (or tortilla chips). The accompaniments can be adjusted according to preference.

Pork Pozole Verde

More About Pozole

There are three different types of pozole, green, red or white.

  • Green – Green or verde, like this recipe features a tomatillo-based sauce.
  • Red – Rojo or red pozole is made with a combination of Guajillo and ancho chilies which give it a bright red flavor.
  • White – White pozole is made without a chili sauce for a more delicate stew.

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Hominy – Hominy is a chewy, puffy version of corn and is made from dry corn kernels that are then treated with a lye or lime solution to soften the outer shell. They add texture and a nutty corn flavor to the soup.
  • Pork shoulder –  This cut can be referred to as the pork shoulder, picnic shoulder or picnic ham. Because this cut gets a lot of work, it is a very muscle-heavy cut, making it ideal for simmering or braising. Slowly cooking the meat at a low temperature helps to break down the tough meat, resulting in tender, succulent pork. 
  • Tomatillo – Tomatillos grow with a thin, papery husk on the outside which can be easily removed. They look similar to smaller green tomatoes (their name translates in Spanish to little tomato) though they have a more acidic flavor and denser texture than green tomatoes.
  • Chicken stock – I use chicken stock in this recipe because it has a richer, more robust flavor than chicken broth, though either can be used in this soup.
  • Cotija – Cotija cheese is a type of hard, crumbly and salty Mexican cheese made from cows milk that has a consistency between feta and Parmesan. Locate it in the cheese sections at large markets such as Whole Foods or Hispanic markets.

How to Make Pork Pozole Verde

seared pork in Dutch oven
Step 1: Sear pork. 

Heat a large heavy bottomed Dutch oven or pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat through. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear the pork on all sides, about 8 minutes. Return the pork to the pot and add 4 cups of water.

Step 2: Simmer pork. 

Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.

simmered pork shoulder in Dutch oven
tomatillos and peppers simmered in water
Step 3: Simmer tomatillos and peppers. 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat, add the tomatillos, jalapeños and poblano pepper and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.

Step 4: Sauté onions. 

Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil and heat through. Add the onions and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 8 minutes.

sautéed sliced onion and garlic
Tomatillo verde sauce blended
Step 5: Blend tomatillo mixture. 

Remove from heat and add to a blender with the tomatillo mixture cumin and oregano. Blend the mixture until pureed and smooth. Set aside.

Step 6: Shred pork. 

Remove the pork from the pot and set aside. Skim the fat from the pot and reserve the cooking liquid. When the pork is cooled, shred it and discard any excess fat. (It’s ok if the pork is still slightly tough, it will continue to become tender as the soup cooks).

shredded pork shoulder
simmered pork pozole verde in pot with wooden spoon
Step 7: Simmer pozole.  

Return the shredded pork to the pot with the cooking liquid with the tomatillo puree, chicken stock and hominy. Continue to simmer until pork is falling apart and hominy increases in size, about an additional 30 minutes.

Step 8: Garnish and serve. 

Ladle the pozole into soup bowls and top with cilantro, cotija cheese, jalapeño, radish and avocado as desired. Serve immediately.

simmered pork pozole verde in bowl

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

Swaps and substitutions
  • Another popular topping for pozole is shredded cabbage or iceberg lettuce.
  • The pork can be swapped with chicken. I recommend using chicken breasts and lowering the cooking time. They will not need as much time to become tender.
pork pozole verde in stone bowl on marble table with sliced avocado, radish, cilantro, jalapeño slices

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this pork pozole verde recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Pork Pozole Verde

pork pozole verde in a stone bowl with avocado jalapeño radish on marble table
Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1” cubes
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and halved
  • 2 medium jalapeños, cored, seeded and halved
  • 1 large poblano pepper, cored, seeded and halved
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 (29-ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed

For serving:

  • ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 2 medium jalapeños, thinly sliced
  • 2 radish, thinly sliced
  • 2 avocados, thinly sliced

Instructions:

For the pork pozole:

  • Heat a large heavy bottomed Dutch oven or pot over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and heat through. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear the pork on all sides, about 8 minutes. Return the pork to the pot and add 4 cups of water.
  • Lower the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat, add the tomatillos, jalapeños and poblano pepper and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil and heat through. Add the onions and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 8 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add to a blender with the tomatillo mixture cumin and oregano. Blend the mixture until pureed and smooth. Set aside.
  • Remove the pork from the pot and set aside. Skim the fat from the pot and reserve the cooking liquid. When the pork is cooled, shred it and discard any excess fat. (It's ok if the pork is still slightly tough, it will continue to become tender as the soup cooks).
  • Return the shredded pork to the pot with the cooking liquid with the tomatillo puree, chicken stock and hominy. Continue to simmer until pork is falling apart and hominy increases in size, about an additional 30 minutes.

To serve:

  • Ladle the pozole into soup bowls and top with cilantro, cotija cheese, jalapeño, radish and avocado as desired. Serve immediately.

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