New Mexico Comfort Food

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Pozole

Comfort Food At Christmas

Everyone has their version of the “must have” dish during the holidays and usually these dishes have roots in our shared family experiences. Chef Ed Vigil, of Anaviv’s Table in Richmond says that Pozole is the dish that reminds him most of home with his grandparents in New Mexico. Vigil, an army brat, grew up all over the world but both of his parents are from New Mexico—-The Vigil’s near Albuquerque and the Garcia’s near Sante Fe. Both families make Pozole—pronounced Po-zo-le for Christmas Dinner but with slight variations. Pozole’s primary ingredient is hominy made from shelled dried corn. It is puffy and slightly resembles the flavor of a corn tortilla. The dish is thought to have originated with the Aztec Indians who worshiped the Corn God and made the dish during feasts and celebrations. According the Vigil, the beauty of pozole—kind of a cross between a stew and a soup—-is that it allows you lots of freedom to create your personal version. Pozole can be made with chicken but pork is really the way to go for traditional flavors. Vigil prefers pork neck bones as the base but says pork shoulder (preferred by Grandma Vigil) works just as well. 

Pozole is usually made either with red chiles or green chiles but Vigil makes the one common in New Mexico Pozole Blanco with  both red and green Chile sauces on the side along with lots of other tasty condiments. This dish takes some time but it only gets better as a left over. It’s a great dish for a chilly December night. 

 

Makes one Hefty Pot serves 10

Ingredient List

Soup Base

8 quarts of water or chicken stock for richer broth

4  8 oz cans pozole or 1 number 10 can

4 tablespoons Mexican oregano

2 Beers of your choice lighter the better

4 pounds cubed pork shoulder

5 pounds of pork neck bones

2 white onions  chopped

6 cloves garlic  chopped

2 stalks celery chopped

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon ground cumin, coriander

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup of fat of your choice (olive oil, lard, bacon drippings, duck fat)

Heat up stock pot with 1/4 cup of fat, brown all ingredients except liquid,  oregano and pozole until slightly caramelized.  Add beer and cook until reduced. Add water or stock bring to boil reduce and simmer 1 hour and add pozole and oregano continue cooking for 1 1/2 more until meat falling off bone. Keep at simmer entire time. Let cool and remove bones if you desire.

Green Chile Sauce makes 2 quarts (will keep in fridge)

1 large white onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon Mexican Oregano

1 bay leaf

6 4 oz cans of hatch green chiles (trader joes)

8 ounces cold water

Salt and pepper sauce

1 tablespoon white vinegar

In a 6 quart sauce pan combine all ingredients simmer for 45 minutes taste for salt, pepper, cumin.Blend in blender in small batches  while still warm. Make sure blender set on low to avoid large mess in kitchen. Can serve that day but better the next day serve room temperature

Red Chile Sauce

12 to 14 Dried Red New Mexico Chile Pods destemmed with some seeds shaken out. Cut into ribbons with a pair of kitchen shears. 

1 large white onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon Mexican Oregano

1 bay leaf

Rind from 1/2 an orange

8 ounces cold water

Salt and pepper sauce

1 tablespoon white vinegar

In a 6 quart sauce pan combine all ingredients simmer for 45 minutes taste for salt, pepper, cumin.Blend in blender in small batches  while still warm. Make sure blender set on low to avoid large mess in kitchen. Can serve that day but better the next day serve room temperature

Other condiments:Shaved Red Cabbage, Shaved Radishes, Limes, Flour or Corn Tortillas. 

Heat up pozole, serve in bowls with Chile sauces and condiments on the side.