Pozole is an example of the ingenuity of our ancestors: first of all, it contains hominy – an ancient method of turning hard, indigestible feed corn into an edible starch by a process known as nixtamalization, where the corn was softened by cooking in lye or limewater. It’s a stew of somewhat storied Pre-Colombian origin, well-known as a hangover cure featuring common ingredients: hominy, pork, chilis and tomatoes. I looked at several recipes, but this one was the easiest to adapt to my project.
At first, I thought this would be a great opportunity to use stewed tomatoes…then I read the ingredients list on stewed tomatoes and found the third ingredient was sugar (actually, HFCS but who is counting.) Ick. Canned tomatoes with chilis are relatively high in salt (so find low-salt versions if you can) but at least they don’t have sugar. For this reason, I’m not adding any salt to this recipe (and with all those chilis, you don’t need it.)
1 pound pork sausage, any type (I used breakfast sausage, but smoked sausage will work)
1 cup canned chicken broth
15 oz canned diced tomatoes, with their juice (or canned tomatoes with chilis)
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 tbsp chili flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp dried minced onion (or 2 tbsp if you don’t have onion with your peppers or tomatoes)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 29 oz canned hominy, well-rinsed and drained
9 oz jar of roasted red peppers, well-rinsed and drained
(I was lucky enough to find roasted red peppers and onions, even better!)
Cayenne pepper to taste (I omitted this as we are not chiliheads, however, start with 1/8 teaspoon and work your way up to a heat level that works for you.)
If I’d have been smart, I’d have started by slow-cooking the sausage in the bottom of my soup pot (I didn’t – I cooked it in a frying pan and then had to deglaze it with some of the pozole liquid.) So be smart – start by putting a pot on medium-low and slowly cooking your sausages for at least 10 minutes, flipping them periodically until they release most of their fat and are well-colored on two sides. I used regular breakfast sausages, but a smoked sausage will work just as well. When the sausages had released most of their fat (and shrunk to about half their size), I drained them, put them in the food chopper and buzzed them into crumbles (if you are using a smoked sausage, simply dice it at this point.)
Deglaze your pan with the chicken stock, and then add the tomatoes, onion, chili flakes, celery seed, oregano and cumin (if you don’t have access to cumin, oregano and chili flakes, use a tablespoon of chili powder.) Bring to a boil, stir well and add your hominy and peppers. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add your crumbled sausage and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until your stew has reduced and thickened. Taste and season to taste with cayenne. Serves 6: Nutrition information.
This is a hearty stew that really hits the spot on a cold winter’s day! Enjoy!