Monday, August 13, 2007

The Eats Sheet: Pozole Rojo

Several months ago, my wife and I were invited to dinner by a family in the stake. We had pozole, (po-SOH-lay) a recipe that had been graciously gringo-fied by the Mexican abuelita that gave the recipe to the inviting family. Instead of pork, there was chicken; instead of repollo, there was lettuce; instead of spice, there was mildness.

Pregnancy is an interesting thing. Yesterday, it's incontrovertible decrees mandated that Mrs. JKC eat pozole for dinner. So I set about making pozole with my rudimentary knowledge of the culinary mysteries of el sabor mexicano. I kept it relatively mild, but I was still able to get the flavors working. It turned out really really well. This is how I did it:

1. I preheated the oven to 325 and rubbed down a few pieces of pork shoulder (with the bone in) with olive oil, powdered chipotle, paprika (the smoky Spanish kind is best, but the sweet Hungarian stuff works too), garlic, and salt.

2. I put a heavy cast-iron pot on the stove with some olive oil and let it get real hot over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, I diced an onion, cut three garlic cloves in half, and stirred them with a few bay leaves in the pot until the onions began to caramelize.

3. I pushed the onions and garlic to one side and seared the pork on the cast iron about 1 minute per side.

4. I dumped in 5 cups of water, seasoned it with a few shakes of salt, paprika, and chipotle powder (I imagine that you could probably use any chili powder, but I like powdered chipotle the best), got the water boiling, covered the pot, and popped it in the oven for an hour.

5. I pulled the pot out of the oven, and pulled the pork out of the pot. I half sliced and half shredded the pork into bite-sized chunks and dumped them back into the pot, skimmed off the fat that had risen to the surface, and added 2-3 cups of water. I seasoned the water with paprika, cumin, chipotle, and salt, got it boiling over medium heat, and then covered it and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes.

6. I drained and rinsed 3 cans of Hominy and added this to the pot with about 1/2 teaspoon each of cumin, chipotle powder, oregano, black pepper, allspice, and two chopped garlic cloves. I let it simmer for 10 minutes and then kept it warm on the stove for the next hour or so until it was time to eat.

7. I got a grid iron smoking hot over the stove and roasted an Anaheim chili (a few jalapeƱos wouldn't have been bad either) on it until it was black on the outside. I took out the seeds and cut it up and put it into a bowl. I also shredded some cabbage and sliced a few radishes razor thin. I also sliced up an avocado. These, with some Tabasco, were the condiments. If I had had more onion, I would have diced some. It was too bad that I didn't have any limes to squeeze or fresh chopped cilantro.

8. I didn't have any fresh corn tortillas (the ones I did have were old and stiff and kind of scary looking) so I made some honey-hush cornbread (from the Dino BBQ). It turns out cornbread goes pretty well with pozole.

We had it with the cornbread, blue corn chips, and chocolate cake for dessert. It made enough to feed us and two hungry missionaries and still have enough leftovers for lunch and dinner the next day.

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