Tuesday, January 25, 2011

HEAD TO TOE POZOLE ROJO


mmmmm...POZOLE

this is a rich porky-meaty stew that is hearty, savory, and playful.  i say "playful" because you're eatin' along enjoying every bite, but you don't really know what bite of the pig you are enjoying....could it be an EAR?...a SNOUT?...a CHEEK? ...the BUTT?....or is it that TROTTER that really sends it over the top?....what ever part it might be i guarantee you'll love every bite...slurp and spoonful.


as far as i can tell, authentic POZOLE is made from a whole pig's head.  it's boiled and stewed for hours, then picked apart and every edible morsel is thrown back into the broth along with a few spices, onions, chilies and hominy.  although there was a whole pig's head available at my favorite Mexican market (Northgate in Santa Ana) i had to pass.  instead i went for the Pozole blend...small ready cut parts of a pig's head...it's a blend of cuts that seemed to be calling for my attempt at Authentic Pozole. don't know what seems scarier...the whole head?... or the grab bag i went for.  i recognized the ear and the snout and i think some tongue, but the other bits i'm not so sure...i went for it anyway.  to go along with that i bought some shoulder butt and scouted out the freshest trotters i could find.  i also had a terrine in mind for trotters so i needed a few.  the terrine came out FABULOUS!...i'll post about it soon.





straight up?...don't be afraid of this soup because of it's weird bits and pieces.  you can easily substitute with good pork shoulder-butt or any cut that works well for a stew.

a while back i made a CHICKEN POZOLE VERDE.  although it turned out fabulous and so very delicious, i was ever so gently informed that it was not "real Pozole".  a few of my Latino friends kind of giggled and looked at me funny when i said i had made Pozole.   the Pozole they had grown up knowing was deep red with the whole head simmering all day.  mine was made with Chicken and it was green???...well, i had to right my wrong and go for the real thing...or as close as i could possibly get here in Newport Beach.


my version of POZOLE ROJO

1 lb. of Pozole mix of meats from a Mexican market or Carniceria aka Mexican Meat Market
(this includes all the bits and pieces from the head of a pig)
OR...if you're daring you can just go ahead and purchase 2 ears, a snout and some tongue.
1 lb. pork shoulder/butt nice and fatty cut into large cubes the same size as your Pozole mix.
what ever you buy 2 lbs should be about enough
 AND 1-2 trotters (pig feet)...they usually come split in half

NOTE...when buying pig parts you need to do 2 important things.
1st....go over every inch and make sure there are no short little hairs that were missed by the butcher.  you can sear these off with a lighter or shave them with a razor...i know it's weird, but it's gotta be done.
2nd...put all the parts in a big pot and bring to a boil.  boil for about 10-15 mins to remove any impurities that might be there.  drain pot, discard water, clean the pot and wash off the pig parts.  this is just for food safety...we're talking ears, snouts and feet here, understand?

now, everybody back in the pool.

in a large pot put all the meats, 1 large onion (quartered), 4-5 smashed garlic cloves, 2-3 halved jalapenos, a few cut up celery stalks, 1 heaping Tbsp dried Mexican oregano, 1-2bay leaves, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp Mexican chili powder.  cover with 1 box low sodium chicken broth and the rest with water.  bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer for about 3-3 1/2 hours.  check your water levels every now and then.  remove when meats are fork tender...i mean REALLY fork tender.  if using trotters they take the longest...your other meats might be done in 2 to 2 1/2 hours...poke 'em...how do you really know when an ear is done if you've never done it before?...

while this is cooking make your RED SAUCE.  this red sauce is good for everything. 
this post is getting long so here's a link to the red sauce i make all the time.
note for the red sauce...take the extra time to strain the sauce...some recipes say it's not necessary, but it's much better strained.

remove from heat and strain the broth.  cheese cloth in a strainer works well or i try to completely separate the fat.  remove your meat and let cool to the touch.  remove all bones and hard bits from the trotters.  cut everything in uniform size pieces..

everybody back in the pool....

(in the washed out stock pot)...with 1 can of good hominy...Juanita's is best 
2-3 chilies in adobo sauce (from the can) diced
optional...1 med. onion diced and sauteed
add your red sauce...should be about a cup
add broth.  i liked mine thick...you can always add more broth to thin it out
check for seasoning...might need salt
might need cumin
heat everything and gently stir a few times for about 20-25 mins.  this is one of those things that gets better as it sits and all the flavors meld together

whew!!! almost done.  garnish with any or all of these....cilantro, radish, shredded cabbage, diced jalapeno, queso fresco and chiccarones (fried pork skin) 

sorry this was long.  if you really want to make this and my instructions are to sketchy, check out these few links that i used to make my first try at "real Pozole".  i had fun making my own version and it turned out FABULOUS.  if you have any questions let me know.

3 comments:

Junkshow said...

You're about to turn a non-chef cooking-hater into a total nesting foodie! Your pictures are so beautiful and recipes so...welcoming. Thank you!

cparadis4219 said...

Bravo! That about summs it up.

Wendy said...

I had bowl of pozole rojo in a little Mexican restaurant here in Denver and decided I must make it myself... so I stumbled upon your blog while looking for recipes and plan to follow your recipe this weekend... Trotters and all. Thanks for sharing your images and recipes!

Wendy

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