Sunday, September 12, 2010

Pozole Rojo

One thing I forgot to add during that last post: Marcela Valladolid totally stole my cooking show. (Mexican Made Easy!). Whatever, Marcela. Just because your name is more Spanish than mine and you wear cute clothes and actually lived in Mexico and probably speak native Spanish and went to Ritz Escoffier in Paris doesn't mean you're better than me.

Well, maybe it does a little.

But I still have my family recipes. And I think my aunts would agree that even though their niece is super annoying for occasionally responding to their Spanish conversations IN ENGLISH (...gringa), at least she can cook.

(In my defense, everyone speaks really fast. I can't think at warp speed in Spanish!)

So, how about pozole for a Sunday dinner?

Some of my favorite memories as a child involve eating pozole at my aunt's house with my cousins. She'd literally make enough for 20 people and I can remember fishing around in a giant pot for pieces of meat that didn't look like pork feet. (...gringa.)

(In my defense again, my mom says she would NEVER make pozole with pig feet. She thinks it's weird too even though she grew up on that kind of meat. So there. DECISION AFFIRMED.)

My aunt sent me her pozole recipe and specified a few things:

1) you must use pork espinazo (spine), trositos (small pieces of meat, usually shoulder), and patitas (feet).
2) you must use Jaunitas brand hominy
3) you must use Las Palmas Brand red sauce.

I broke the first cardinal rule of pozole. I only used shoulder because I didn't feel like driving to the next town over to find a carniceria that sold espinazo or patitas. (Although I probably would have left the patitas out to tell you the truth.) I live in a town where there are no carnicerias. Or Mexican people. (Just kidding.) (Mostly.)

So, in case you don't know much else about pozole besides the three primary ingredients I just specified, pozole is a stew that tends to be a special occasion dish. My uncles would probably tell you that it cures hangovers too. En serio. And my mom would tell you that it cures the flu. Like many Mexican dishes, it simmers for a good part of the afternoon, until the meat is tender and the flavors are just right.

Hey mom, how long do you think it's going to take for the pozole to be done?

It's done when it's done, Andrea.

That's the kind of dish this is. Take your time. Your house will smell like my aunt's house, and that is a very very good thing.

Pozole Rojo
Serves 6
You can make pozole with different sauces: red (rojo) as I did here, green (verde), or blanco (white) with no sauce. Make sure you include plenty of toppings to go around the table--they are an essential part of the dish.

• 1 lb. pork spine, 1.5 lbs pork shoulder cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces, and 1 pig's foot cut in half (ask the butcher); alternatively 2.5 lbs pork shoulder cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
• 1 small onion, sliced
• 1 19-oz can of Las Palmas enchilada salsa (I used spicy--try medium or mild if you aren't sure); alternatively, you can make your own red sauce like I did for the Carne Deshebrada post
• 2 28-oz cans Juanita's hominy, drained and rinsed
• 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
• 1 tablespoon oregano
• 5 cups water of beef broth
• salt and pepper to taste
• vegetable oil

• 1 medium onion, finely chopped
• 3 limes cut into wedges
• 3 cups sliced cabbage
• 6 radishes, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
• tortillas

Preheat a large pot to medium high and pour in enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Season the pork with salt and pepper. Brown meat on each side for about 5-7 minutes.

Once meat is browned, pour the salsa, 5 cups of water or broth, onion, garlic and oregano in pot. Simmer over low heat for 2-3 hours, or until meat is ropey and tender.

Add the hominy and continue to simmer for 20 minutes longer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toppings.
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