Pozole Rojo

The bitter cold weather always seems to appear around Mardi Gras time in Louisiana.  That's about the time that I'm preparing delicious party food to feed a crowd.  Pozole Rojo is one of my go-to recipes that can be prepared in advance, and becomes more flavorful over time.  I've served this at breakfast gatherings where my husbands parade krewe enjoyed a hearty meal before heading out to the parade staging area.  It's always a requested dish and served at our French Quarter open house as we watch the passing Mardi Gras festivities.  It can simmer in a pot for hours, and your guest can customize each serving with their favorite toppings.  

Tender chicken and hominy in a rich chili broth is the foundation of Pozole Rojo. Pozole is often served with a large number of accompaniments that can include lime wedges, onions, avocado, tomato, cilantro leaves, jalapeno peppers, radishes and finely shredded cabbage. Adding a generous squeeze of lime juice to your bowl of pozole is a must. The change in acidity of the broth will give you an authentic Pozole Rojo flavor.

POZOLE ROJO

Servings: 6

Tender chicken and hominy in a rich chili broth is the foundation of Pozole Rojo. Pozole is often served with a large number of accompaniments that can include lime wedges, onions, avocado, tomato, cilantro leaves, jalapeno peppers, radishes and finely shredded cabbage. Adding a generous squeeze of lime juice to your bowl of pozole is a must. The change in acidity of the broth will give you an authentic Pozole Rojo flavor.

1 oz dried ancho chilies

1 ½ cups boiling water

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces

2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

2 Tablespoons olive oil

4-5 garlic cloves, minced (3 Tablespoons)

1 Tablespoon dried oregano leaves

1 teaspoon ground cumin

3 Tablespoons masa harina

5 Tablespoons cold water

3 ½ cups room temperature water

29 ounce can Mexican style hominy, drained

8 small radishes, thinly sliced

3 limes, cut into wedges

2 avocados, diced

1 small onion, diced

1 bunch cilantro, stems removed

1. Remove the stems and seeds from the dried ancho chilies.  In a small bowl, soak the chilies in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water until softened,15-20 minutes.  Place the softened chilies and the liquid in a blender.  Blend on medium-high speed until puréed, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

2. Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5-10 minutes.

3. Reduce the heat to low, and add the garlic, oregano, cumin, and the remaining 2 teaspoons salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is softened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in puréed chilies.

4. In a small bowl or cup, dissolve the masa harina in 5 tablespoons cold water.  Add to the pot and whisk well.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally as the broth thickens. 

5. When a boil has been reached add the 3 ½ cups of water and hominy. Return to a boil and reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes. 

6. Serve in a bowl garnished with sliced radishes, lime wedges, avocado, onions and cilantro.  

Do Ahead: Pozole can be made up to 4 days ahead, and it becomes more flavorful when reheated.