Tuesday, August 3, 2010
An interesting blurb on Wikipedia claims that at one time, pozole was made of people. Kind of Mexican soylent green. 'Since corn was a sacred plant for the Mexicans and other inhabitants of Mexico, pozole was made to be consumed on special events. The conjunction of corn (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars because the ancient Mexicans believed that the gods made humans out of cornmeal dough. According to research by the National Institute of Anthropology and History and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, in these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human. After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with corn. The meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat, as it "tasted very similar", according to a Spanish priest.' In the name of authenticity I use pork, the other white meat.
Part of the fun of pozole is the garnishes. Piled high with fresh avocado, cilantro, green onions, radishes, limes, tortilla chips, and queso cotija. I like the contrast of textures and colors. So many lovely things to choose from yet you need to find just the right combination or everything gets out of balance. Plus you have to pile it precariously high because you don't want to miss out on anything. I personally like to garnish the bowls of pozole myself if I'm feeding guests because A) I'm a total control freak, B) I have a total lack of faith in people garnishing their own food correctly, and C) I am a total arrogant control freak. "No really, you don't like avocado? Get the hell out of my house." "You don't want cilantro in your pozole? Why do you have so much hatred towards my Hispanic heritage? No really, just leave." I take it personal, ya know? Quit so being picky about your garnishes and we'll get along just fine.
8 cups pork stock or chicken stock
1 lbs pork shoulder or butt
1 large white onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 poblano or Anaheim chilies, sliced (seeded if you want less heat)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp dried New Mexico red chile powder
1 30-ounce cans white hominy
salt and pepper tt
thinly sliced green onion
chopped white onion
queso cotija or jack cheese
Cut the pork into 1" cubes. Season with salt and pepper. In a large pot with little olive oil, saute the pork over medium high heat to get a nice brown crust (4-5 minutes). Remove to a plate and keep warm. Add a little more oil and add the diced onion and saute 2 minutes. Add the garlic, carrots, and peppers and saute a few more minutes until all the vegetables are soft (3-5 minutes). Add the pork back to the pot. Add the chili powder, oregano, and cumin and stir until fragrant. Add the white hominy and pork stock, cover, and simmer over low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until the pork is almost falling apart. Garnish and serve. Such a simple and perfect breakfast. Sometimes I top it with a fried egg. Delicioso!