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Pozole Rojo

This Pozole Rojo is restaurant delicious (or better!), accidentally healthy, feeds a crowd (or great to freeze) and is layered with complex flavor. It’s made with juicy shredded, pork, earthy dried chiles, hominy (like giant corn kernels), fire roasted tomatoes, tangy green chiles, aromatic onions and garlic all topped with contrasting, cool, crunchy toppings of shredded cabbage, radishes, cilantro, lime, and avocados. This pozole recipe is warm and comforting, hearty, savory and practically hypnotic. It also makes fabulous leftovers (tastes even better the next day!) for a sensational make ahead meal of lunch through out the week.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 10 -12 servings

Ingredients

PORK

  • 4-5 pounds pork butt, bone-in if available trimmed of excess fat and cut into 4-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp EACH ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

STEW

CHILI SAUCE

GARNISHES (pick your favs!)

  • warmed corn tortillas, tostadas or tortilla chips
  • thinly sliced cabbage
  • thinly sliced radishes
  • thinly sliced red onion
  • chopped cilantro
  • chopped avocados
  • fresh lime juice
  • Cotija cheese

Instructions

STEW

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  • Whisk the pork seasonings together. While the pork is still on the cutting board, pat the pieces dry then rub pork all over with the seasonings, set aside. Reserve the bone.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large, (7-9 quart) Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pork and brown on all side; remove to a plate. Add the onions and cook until softened, scraping up the brown bits, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ground cumin and sauté 30 seconds.
  • Add the pork back to the pot followed by the pork bone, chicken broth, diced tomatoes, green chilies, oregano, coriander and bay leaves. Cover to bring to a boil then transfer to the oven. Bake at 300 degrees F until the pork is fall apart tender, about 90 minutes.

CHILI SAUCE

  • While the pork is cooking, make the chili sauce. Cut the tops off of all the chilies with kitchen shears. Cut chilies along one edge to open like a book; scrape out all of the seeds. Reserve some of the seeds to finish the soup if you want more heat.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and briefly toast until fragrant, about 1 minute on each side. Cover the chilies with enough water so that they aren't touching the bottom of the skillet (careful it will steam a lot). Simmer for 3-5 minutes until chilies are softened.
  • Remove chilies to blender along 1 ½ cups of the skillet liquid, cocoa powder, sugar and cinnamon. Process until smooth, leaving a corner of the blender open so steam can escape; set aside. If you don’t have a high powered blender, then strain the chili sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl, using rubber spatula to push the mixture through.

FINISH SOUP

  • Remove the pot from the oven and transfer to the stove. Discard bone. Using two forks, shred the pork (I find it easiest to transfer pork to a cutting board using a strainer, shred, then add back to pot). Add the hominy and chili sauce to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce to a gentle simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with 1½ -2 teaspoons salt and either some reserved chili seeds or cayenne pepper to taste for a spicier soup.
  • Garnish individual bowls with garnishes of choice.

Notes

Tips and Tricks

  • Step by step instructions:  see post for detailed step by step photos and instructions. 
  • *Potatoes: are not authentic to pozole but I think they add SO MUCH fabulous texture and flavor (every stew needs potatoes!).  If you add the potatoes, reduce the hominy to two 15 oz. cans.
  • Dried Chiles:  you can use all guajillo peppers or a combination of guajillo peppers and ancho peppers.  Both of these peppers are not spicy so the resulting chili sauce will be mild with a slight sweetness.  If you would like a spicy soup, then add 1-3 arbol chili peppers OR you can season the soup with cayenne pepper to taste at the end of cooking.
  • Pork butt/shoulder: both pork butt and pork shoulder come from the front of the pig (not the rear). If you have a choice between pork butt and pork shoulder, use pork butt, often called Boston butt because it has more fat marbling throughout the meat so it emerges more fall-apart-tender. 
  • Hominy: is what this recipe is named after and should not be skipped!  Use canned hominy located near the corn at your grocery store.
  • Don’t burn pork or chiles: take care you don’t sear the pork at too high of temperature and adjust the heat if needed. We want golden bits left behind in the pan and not black bits otherwise the pozole will taste burnt.  Same goes for the chiles, toast them for just a minute or so – don’t let them burn!
  • Bake until pork is tender: the tender, juicy shredded pork is the star of this pozole recipe, so don't shortcut it. If your pork isn't fall apart tender, cook on
  • Customize consistency:  pozole is a stew and as such, it is supposed to be on the chunky side. If you prefer it more brothy, simply add additional beef broth.
  • Don't skimp the garnishes! The garnishes are especially important in Mexican pozole because the soup itself is rich and earthy. It needs the brightness and contrasting crunch the toppings provide.
  • Storage: store pozole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.  
  • Make Ahead:  You can make the entire pozole ahead of time because it reheats beautifully.   Alternatively, you can prep the recipe through step 4, except go one step further and shred the pork.  Allow to cool to room temperature then refrigerate 1-2 days.  When ready to finish the soup, skim off the hardened fat, add the hominy and chili sauce and simmer for 25 minutes.