Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's Pozole

My sweet baby is nothing if not an idea man, and this was definitely one of his better ideas: making pozole on New Year's Day. After girding ourselves with a few bloody mary's from Big Star, and stopping for a few last minute groceries from the miraculously open corner store, we put our pork in a pot with half an onion and set it a-cooking. As it simmered, we catnapped and watched The Princess Bride - another brilliant idea. When the movie was done, the meat was cooked, and we pulled it off the bones and chopped it up. To be totally frank with you, I'm not entirely sure what happened next, because I am still suffering from the deleterious effects of jetlag, and I simply could not stay awake. I roused myself when the soup was basically done, and obediently chopped up the accoutrements for it. A big, hot bowl of this stuff is a meal in itself - a spicy, soul-warming serving of awesome. Happy New Year's!

Pozole Rojo, adapted from Rick Bayless' Mexico One Pot at a Time

1/2-1 pound of pork shoulder
1 pound pig head, chopped into chunks (we were going to get trotters, which is what the recipe calls for, but the nice guys at Butcher and Larder persuaded me that head would be richer and meatier.)
3 cans hominy
1/2 head garlic, cloves peeled and halved
1 large white onion
4 medium dried ancho chiles
2 arbol chiles
1 small cabbage
1 bunch radishes
dried Mexican oregano

Put all the pork in a large pot with half the onion, diced, and cover with 4 quarts of water and a tablespoon of salt. Bring to a boil, skim off the grayish foam that appears on the surface, and let it cook over medium low heat for about 2 hours. Let it cool in the broth.
Meanwhile, rehydrate the chiles in a little bit of hot water for about 20 minutes. Leave the seeds in if you want it spicier, or remove them if you want it milder. We did about half and half, and ours was pretty fiery. Put them in a blender and puree the ever loving crap out of them.
Remove the meat, pull it off the bones and chop or tear it up. Skim the fat off the top of the pot - lick the spoon off every so often for a little taste of heaven.
Put the two cans of hominy in a small pot with a bit of water and the garlic. Cook for about 20 minutes.
Throw that into the pork broth. Push the pureed chiles through a medium sized strainer. Now that you've got all that combined, add a few cups of water and simmer the soup for 45 minutes or so, reducing it down. Add the meat and simmer another 15 minutes or so.
  Meanwhile, chop up the rest of the onion, rinsing it in cold water. Slice the radishes thin. Cut the lime into wedges. Chop the cabbage into thin ribbons. Chop up an avocado. Set these all out as a kind of buffet, along with a small bowl of the oregano and a pile of tostadas. Let everyone add what they will.