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Monday, May 7, 2012

Pozole




Pozole is a well known pre-Columbian dish in Mexico.  And what is it best known for?  Being a historical hangover cure - not exactly what I go looking for when I’m making soup for dinner.  It has a colorful history - almost as colorful as the soup itself.  When I tried it the first time, I loved it.  You will too.


Pozole is (in a nutshell) a meat & corn stew that has many variations.  I won’t go into exactly WHAT was in the original version - suffice it to say that today’s version(s) can vary widely from region to region.  

When you try it the first time, be prepared for everyone to say “What’s this white stuff?”  It has a unique texture and flavor.  Here’s why:

The corn used in Pozole is large kerneled white corn called cacahuazintle.  It is boiled in lime until the outer husks are freed and a frothy stew is left.  This corn (called Hominy in the US) is combined with meat and spices that vary from place to place.  If you use a can of hominy in the US, look for one that is processed the traditional Mexican way - and only add it once the meat is tender.

The process of soaking in lime kills the corn seed’s germ, which keeps it from sprouting in storage.  It also has several other advantages - it converts some of the niacin into a form that is absorbed more easily by the body, and improves the availability of the amino acids.  This process is called nixtamalization, and when used - it improved nutrition in cultures that depend on corn.  And... just as important - it tastes better (and more unique) than standard corn.

Pozole is a popular fiesta food, where you’ll find red or white in Jalisco, green in Coliima and Guerrero, white in Nayarit.  On the Veracruz coast, it is made with the local seafood and fish.  The most interesting thing about Pozole is the garnishes.  Lime wedges, shredded lettuce or cabbage, chopped onion, sliced radishes, and crispy tortilla strips are just a few.  I tried it with finely shredded cabbage and sliced radishes - surprisingly good! (and I’ve always hated radishes...)

This version is one I came up with by combining ingredients that are commonly found in Pozole.  I like it with chicken, but pork is supposed to be wonderful as well.  Easy, quick, and delicious with lots of your choice of condiments.

For the recipe, go to:



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