Pozole with Chicken
Nighttime temperatures are in the mid-50s this week, so I’m happy to announce the return of soup season in my house. Comforting and delicious, this Mexican-style Pozole with chicken is like a warm hug in a bowl.
It is interesting how certain foods and flavors promise solace. Soup is one of those foods that seems to provide a sense of well-being and warmth, both figuratively and literally.
The gold standard for comforting soups: chicken soup.
You can find some form of chicken soup made by mothers and caregivers in almost every culture in the world. My mom loves soups and served many to my brother and me when we were growing up. A steaming bowl of bisque, broth, or chowder certainly provides all the homey feels.
It’s fun to plan for various soups as we head into sweater weather. Some sort of brothy goodness is now a staple on my weekly menu plan. I like ones that pack some nutritional punch, so those that include protein, fiber, and veggies are at the top of my list.
In addition to chicken, this soup recipe features chiles and hominy.
Have you had hominy? It’s corn but blown up. These kernels look like the recipients of lip filler.
Dried corn kernels are treated and soaked with lye or lime in a process called nixtamalization. Yes, really. Nixtamalization.
The soaking in the alkaline solution causes the kernels to swell and double in size. The result is a puffy, meatier version of corn with a pleasantly chewy texture. And that pouty, bee-stung look.
- Don’t be afraid of all the chiles in this soup. The dried ancho and guajillo chiles are mild and add sweet, smoky, and tangy notes. My husband and I don’t eat super spicy food anymore (hello, middle-age) and this recipe was just right for us.
- Dark meat on the bone provides the best depth of flavor for a soup. If you insist on using breasts instead, at least leave it on the bone as it cooks.
- Have fun with the garnishes! I chose bright, fresh, and pretty ones because they make me happy. Escabeche would be nice served alongside, too.
Many thanks to Martha Stewart for her red chicken pozole recipe.Print
- 2 ½ lbs. chicken thighs and legs
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 white onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 dried guajillo chiles, stem and seeds removed
- 1 dried ancho chile, stem and seeds removed
- 1 fresh jalapeño chile, stem and seeds removed
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅓ cup fresh cilantro
- ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (29 ounces) hominy, drained
Garnishes: lime wedges, sliced radishes, chopped cilantro, tostadas, or tortilla chips
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large pot. Salt and pepper the chicken before adding it to the pot, skin-side down. Cook 8 minutes, flipping once, to brown.
- Add 2 onion quarters, chicken broth, and 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm. Strain the broth and return it to the same pot.
- While the chicken is cooking, make the pepper paste: heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Once it is hot, add the dried ancho and guajillo peppers. Cook for 2 minutes, turning to blister on each side. Remove the peppers to a bowl and add hot water to fly submerge them. Let them soak for 10 minutes.
- In the same skillet, add 1 tablespoon of oil and 1 onion quarter, jalapeno, and garlic. Saute for 8-ish minutes over medium-high heat until everything starts to brown. Transfer the items to a blender.
- Add the soaked chiles to the blender, plus ½ cup of the soaking liquid. Add oregano, cilantro, cumin, lime juice, and salt. Blitz it all together until smooth.
- Pour the pepper paste into the same skillet and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes. The mixture will thicken and get darker.
- Now, strip the chicken of the skin and bones. Chop the meat into bite-size pieces and add back to the broth. Pour in the pepper paste (all of it) and hominy. Simmer for 15 minutes or until heated through.
- Dice the remaining onion quarter and add it to the garnishes that are served with the soup.