Well, I guess I jumped the gun on the whole summer grilling thing. It was nice enough to grill for approximately 15 hrs and luckily I took advantage of it. But that was short-lived and I’m back to comforting, warm (but low cal) food as it’s been cloudy and rainy for the last little while here.
I don’t know why, but all of a sudden I got a wild hair to make Mexico’s delicious version of chicken soup, Pozole, even though I’ve never made it before, nor had I had the desire to do so. So I looked at a couple of recipes online, got the general idea (there are a ton of different versions depending on regions and availability of ingredients), and decided what was going to work for me. It had to be relatively simple, healthy and flavorful. So I decided to do it like this:
For the soup:
1/2 an onion
3 cloves of garlic
4 chicken thighs
1 can of hominy
1 can mild green chilies (because I’m a wimp… you could use ‘hot’)
For the garnish:
shaved cabbage slaw
1/2 an avocado
jalapeno hot sauce
a tortilla chip
First, slice the onions and smash the garlic. Put them in a pot with a little EVOO. Sautee until they’re very lightly browned. You don’t want to let them go too far because the whole premise of the soup is pretty light… in flavor and color… until it looks like this:
Then toss in the chicken thighs. I like to use thighs because they have a little fat and therefore braise better than the breasts. If you wanted to, you could use a whole, cut up chicken, or legs and thighs. It’s not a bad idea to use something still on the bone because the bones add flavor. It’s like making your own stock inside the soup. And it’s not that much extra work to get the bones out once the meat has cooked long enough… it’ll just fall right off. Anyway, let them get just a little color, like the onions, before you add the stock. You can also use canned broth, but in that case, I suggest you use half water so that the flavor of the soup is more natural and not overwhelmed with canned broth flavor.
Now you can add the cumin and oregano. You want to add them at the beginning so that they have time to develop with the soup but don’t go all out yet. The soup will reduce a little and you don’t want to put so much that the spice flavor is too intense once the soup gets to the right consistency.
Now for the hominy (that’s the big, white corn kernels). I used the canned stuff just because it’s much easier, but the real way would be to get the it dried, soak it over night and add it to the soup to cook. I didn’t have the time to do it this way, since I decided in the afternoon to make it for dinner. I put half the can in my vitamix with some water and the can of green chilies and pureed it until smooth (it acts as a thickening agent when you add it to the still brothy soup). The other half I left whole and added it directly to the soup.
Everything should be in the pot by now. Bring it to a boil, drop it to a simmer and let it go for an hour or so.
|Not the prettiest looking thing, yet, but it’ll get there.
All you have to do for the fresh, bright garnish is mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and let them sit while your soup simmers.
|I liked this jalapeno hot sauce in the mix. Green, fresh, and a little spicy.
The pozole will probably be done in less time than an hour, depending on the cut of chicken you use, however, the longer it sits, the more the flavor will develop and come together. You just want to make sure that the chicken is tender. You’ll be able to pull it apart with tongs or a fork when it’s ready. Be sure to taste it now and adjust your spices, salt and liquid content. If you want it thicker, turn up the heat and boil it down. If you want it thinner, add a bit of water or stock. After I did that, I turned the stove down as low as it would go and the pozole stew for another hour or so (but that’s just because we weren’t ready to eat yet).
When we were ready, I put the soup into bowls and scooped some of the garnish onto a tortilla chip which I then placed on top of the soup. The pozole was just thick enough that chip would float, displaying the vibrant colors of the garnish.
The soup turned out really delicious, if I do say so myself, even if it was my first time making it. I think it’s a good go-to. I’m going to keep it logged in the recipe box in my brain for another time.
PS. If you want more info on the super blender I mentioned above, check out these vitamix reviews