Many of you were clamoring for this recipe after a cooking demo the other day. If you can make soup, you can make this Red Pozole, it is quite simple. The rich flavors of dried chilies which make up the velvety broth are both earthy and seductive.
In my cooking demo set up you can see red chilies soaking in the top left corner. The dried chilies are soaked for about 30 minutes in warm water, then blended to a puree, which I can most closely associate with canned tomato sauce. It is used for the same reasons you would add tomato puree into a soup or stew, adding sweetness, body, color and character. The chilies are not too spicy, there is a warmth to the whole dish, but seems to be palatable even for children.
The garnishes are an essential part of this dish, radish, shredded green cabbage, cilantro, and lime. The sour, herbal, and fresh crunchy elements provide a totally needed balance for the warm meat stew.
Pozole tradition goes back a long time! It is from southern Mexico, a traditional dish of the Aztec people. Usually it is made with shredded meat, meatballs are a novelty. But I think they fit perfectly here. The hominy is puffy and round and the meatballs just a little larger.
A word about hominy, or pozole as some call it. It is a very cool, ancient way of treating corn kernels to 1) make more nutrients available to the body, 2) make the corn shelf stable, 3) make the corn able to turn into a dough.
Corn is treated with something alkaline, like ash or lyme, which breaks down the cellulose walls of the kernel, changes some of the oils, and links the proteins. Called nixtimalization, it basically transforms into a way healthier form of itself. Ground cornmeal and water does not form a dough on its own, but ground hominy corn and water will form a dough, called masa, used to make white corn tortillas for example. Hominy grits are also made from this treated corn.
Dont quote me, but I have heard that you could survive healthily for a good while on just hominy corn, because of how the proteins changed. But if you tried to survive on plain old yellow corn, you would quickly become malnourished. Cool, right. This is hominy corn, bright white, fluffy and soft.
Red Pozole with Chicken Meatballs