Spicy pork pozole with beans

Enrique Olvera's pozole recipe by Primary Beans

 

Deliciously comforting and nourishing, and fortified with hominy, chiles, and pork, it’s no wonder pozole is a celebratory dish all over Mexico. Here we feature techniques from Enrique Olvera. His flagship eatery in Mexico City, Pujol, has been recognized as one of the best restaurants in the world. We love his method of toasting the chiles and spices so that they are extra aromatic.

While we are deeply conscious about altering anything that is rooted in tradition, we wanted to honor Mexican bean varieties that could work well in this dish. Beans create a pleasant sense of contrast to the chewy hominy and tender pork, and they also make it possible to reduce the amount of meat and keep the high protein content.

If you can find dried hominy (aka nixtamalized corn, see note) rather than canned, use it. Like beans, cooking it from scratch gives you better flavor and texture compared to the canned counterpart.

Which beans to use? Beans with a sweet-nutty flavor like Cranberry (aka Cacahaute beans in Mexico), Flor de Junio, or BayoTake 'em from dried to cooked with our guide

 

The details

  • Serves: 8
  • Time: 3 hours
  • Cookware: large pot, cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet, blender or food processor

 

    What you’ll need

    • 2 lbs pork shoulder cut into 1-inch pieces
    • Coarse salt and pepper
    • 3 tbsp neutral oil
    • 1 lb dried white or yellow hominy, soaked in water 6-8 hours
    • ½ lb dried beans
    • 5 guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
    • 4 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
    • 2 chiles de árbol
    • 8 peppercorns
    • 1-½ tsp cumin seeds
    • 2 tbsp dried Mexican oregano
    • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
    • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
    • Toppings: thinly sliced radishes, thinly sliced cabbage, chile powder, dried Mexican oregano, lime wedges

      Steps

      Cook the pork: Season pork generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Sear pork in batches until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

      Make the chile mixture:  Heat skillet over high heat. Add chiles and toast until aromatic, 30 seconds per side. Transfer to a small bowl and cover with hot water to soak. Add peppercorns, cumin seeds, and oregano to the skillet and toast until fragrant, ~1 minute. Transfer to a blender. Place remaining onion and garlic cloves on the skillet and cook until charred, ~15 minutes. Add charred onion, garlic, 2 tsp salt, and drained chiles to the blender. Blend to a purée using chile soaking water to thin if necessary. It should be watery.

      Prepare the stew: Add 1 tbsp oil to the large pot used to cook pork (do not wipe clean) over high heat and once hot add the chile sauce. Stir until it turns orange, ~5 minutes. Return pork to pot and stir in drained hominy, beans, and 7 cups water. Simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Uncover and simmer for about 1 to 1-½ hours more until pork, hominy, and beans are tender, adding water as needed if too thick. 

      Serve: Discard bay leaves and thyme and add salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with radishes, cabbage, chile powder, dried Mexican oregano, and lime.  


      We imagine this with…

      It’s a meal in and of itself, but to make it a dinner party: chips and guacamole with pomegranate seeds; green salad with persimmon, queso fresco, and toasted nuts.

       

      NOTE: Nixtamalization is the process of soaking dried corn in an alkaline solution, which causes the kernels to swell, improves the nutritional profile, and brings out the flavor. The result: hominy.

       

      Slightly adapted from Tu Casa Mi Casa: Mexican Recipes for the Home Cook by Enrique Olvera (Phaidon Press, 2019).

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