Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pozole Rojo

I'll be the first gal to admit that some recipes on this blog are better than others.  This Chicken Pozole Rojo is one of those.  

This pozole is detoxifyingly spicy, hearty, and warming while still being flavorful, light and refreshing.  In fact, I'm pretty sure there is a detox diet of some lemon juice and paprika concoction, and this would be a much better alternative that is actually delicious and nutritious.  Something detoxifying was quite needed after a weekend of bridal shower and birthday celebration that included one very posh high tea service at the Peninsula Hotel followed by a double-dose of birthday pizza for Bree and my nephew, Max.  The pozole is citrusy, smoky, and comforting...perfect to shake these last few weeks of cold weather.  I would liken it to a Latin version of a very spicy Thai soup.  

Seriously, this is the best meal I've made in a while.

But, I had never made pozole before, so I scanned a few recipes and quickly got the picture.  I used a lot of the latino soup/stew methods from the Tomatillo Chicken Chili post, but changed the ingredients and added layers of spice.  I also kept it much brothier since I didn't want a chili consistency.  I warn you, this recipe is quite spicy, so leave out the jalapeno or cayenne if you prefer something more mild. 

Ingredients for Pozole (makes 6 servings):
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 large cans of white hominy, drained
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 dried ancho chili, diced (or 1 tbsp. red chili flakes)
  • 1 small can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, blended until smooth
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Garnishes (yes, these are essential):
  • avocado, diced
  • julienned radish (about one per bowl)
  • cilantro, roughly chopped
  • lime wedge (about one per bowl)
  • Although I didn't use this, toppings of diced onion and arugula would also be fantastic

This recipe is an excellent opportunity to practice your knife skills, but feel to use a food processor for the onion, jalapeno, and garlic.  Since there are a lot of diced components, it is helpful to prep everything before you cook.
Heat a large pot above a high flame and add 1 tbsp. olive oil.  Salt and pepper the chicken breasts, and sear them in the pot on both sides, until browned.  Remove from the pot and set aside.
Add the onion to the pot and cook for about 4 minutes, until translucent.  Add the salt, cumin, coriander, oregano, and cayenne.  Then, add the jalapeno and garlic, cooking with the spices for another minute.  Toss the tomato, ancho chili, and pureed chipotles into the pot and cook all together for about three more minutes.
Pour all the chicken stock and lime juice into the pot and re-add the chicken with any juice on the plate.  Cover and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.   When it is, remove each breast and shred the meat with two forks.  Add back to the pot along with the hominy.  Return to high heat.
Serve with avocado, cilantro, radish, and lime wedge.


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