All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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I have never had any version of this soup but the one I made today. I made it early in the day so that I could get it all documented & then, at dinner time, just relax & eat the soup in peace. Fat chance! I tasted it for salt & then stood over the pot on the stove in a feeding frenzy like a starving shark that suddenly found itself surrounded by chum. It is so delicious – just naked out of the pot – without any toppings. I was amazed! The soup itself is very basic. It is an Ancho chili puree with some hominy (for which I still lust) and pinto beans (optional). Pozole is served kind of like a soup-bowl taco in that the bowl is the taco shell, the pozole is whatever meat (of fish or whatever) and then all that remains is the art of topping it with what cha want – from a selection of the same sorta things you would see on a taco bar. I added feta because I had it but you could use Cotija or some other hard, salty cheese (or even cheddar) – and you vegans can just cut the cheese. Cut the cheese! You vegans – always cutting the cheese. lol
And – I am officially an 8 year old.
I opened a can of hominy that weighs nearly 7 pounds – so brace yourself for more hominy recipes in the near future. It only cost $2.29 – so I couldn’t resist! It was cheaper than the small cans, for Chrissake.
I quick soaked some dry pinto beans. Click that link for instructions. You could do that or soak some beans overnight or use canned beans. Soaked beans are apparently less good for your heart because soaked beans cannot claim “the more you eat the more you fart.” The longer they soak – the less chance you have of getting Dutch-ovened by your fucker of a bed-mate later that night. Don’t say I never did anything for you.
1 pound of dry beans soaked for a few hours produced about 4 cups of beans. I only used 2 cups in this recipe. Look at these silly beans.
I’ve pointed this out before but – just in case you are alarmed – SETTLE. THESE beans are great for cooking. It says so – right on the bag. Crisis averted. Moving on.
Look how PRETTY they are dry!
That all kinda fades away during the soaking so don’t get too attached.
I grilled fresh corn for one of my garnishes – but that is totally up to you.
And – predictably now, I used the produce I had around that needed using. Another sad & wilted orange bell pepper. You can use a fresh one – of any color!
I happen to grow fresh oregano (and sage & mint) because – despite going dormant outdoors over the winter – they all spring back in the spring. Free fresh herbs! Try it. Just plant your mint in its own container because mint is like kudzu & will take over your entire home. Still – you can buy fresh oregano – if I’ve just now given you notice to grow it far too late.
Anyway – this soup is DELICIOUS. This recipe makes about 6 servings, I’d guess. especially if you use a lot of toppings. You could add some cooked meat or fish if you wanted to – or some vegetarian/vegan option, too – but it is so not necessary!
Vegan Pozole with What Cha What Cha What Cha Want!
For the Soup
4 dry Ancho Chilies (or guajillo or some combo)
1 small onion
1 bell pepper
6 garlic cloves (or less)
3 TBS fresh oregano
1 cup reserved chili water (from soaking the Ancho chilies)
1 TBS olive oil
6 cups stock (I used vegetable)
2 TBS dry Mexican oregano
4 cups hominy
2 cups cooked pinto beans (optional)
juice of 2 limes
S&P to taste
IDEAS for the toppings –
Grilled or fresh corn cut from the cob
Chopped cabbage (red or green)
Red onion – diced
Lettuce – chopped
Feta or Cotija (or other) cheese
Corn tortillas (chips)
Sour cream or yogurt or Mexican Crema
And – anything else you want or what cha want on your taco – get loco!
Quick soak the beans – if you are using dry ones.
Boil a pot of water & turn off the heat. Put a few small cuts in your dry Ancho chilies & submerge them in the boiled water. Let soak 20 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the chili water & then drain the chilies. Remove the hard stems & seeds.
Roughly chop the tomato, bell pepper & onion.
Add the onion, bell pepper, tomato, oregano, garlic, Ancho Chilies & the cup of reserved chili water to the bowl of your food processor (or blender) & blend into a smooth puree. I did this in stages. You needn’t.
In a soup pot, heat the dry oregano in the olive oil for about a minute. Add the puree.
Cook this down over med-high heat for about ten minutes or until it gets thick & begins to darken a bit.
Add the hominy & pinto beans (if using) and the 6 cups of stock. Bring to a boil & then reduce heat & allow it to simmer while you prepare your toppings – which means – as you chop everything up.
To serve – simply put the toppings you prepared in individual bowls on the table. Ladle some soup into bowls. Allow everyone to dress their pozole they way they like and you do What Cha What Cha What Cha Want!