Pork Pozole

Since we Galley Pirates seem to have a Latin American theme going here, let me throw in my favorite pozole recipe, that spicy Mexican soup that’s packed with a variety of Latin flavors. There are no two pozole recipes alike, but the one ingredient all pozole includes is hominy…peeled, puffed corn. It’s a great sailboat meal as many of the ingredients come in a can.  And don’t forget your pressure cooker…this soup can be made quickly under pressure.

On my weekly trip to Save-Mart, my favorite Hispanic market in Annapolis, I purchased all the ingredients for my pozole… anchos, garlic, Serrano peppers, onions, avocados, tomatoes, cilantro and hominy.  I already had a pork shoulder waiting. But as I eyed the freezer section I came across this…Choclo…

I was introduced to this South American white corn when we were in the Galápagos. It was corn on steroids with huge kernels the size of marbles that the locals would grill at festivals and on neighborhood sidewalks. It’s served on a stick, lightly charred with a sprinkling of salt; the perfect accompaniment to the never-ending Pilsners we consumed. So as a reminder of wonderful days spent in Puerto Villamil I decided to substitute the hominy with Choclo. The flavor of the soup remained traditional, but the Choclo added a heck of a lot more fiber. For true pozole though, stick with the hominy.

The locals of Galápagos celebrating their 45th year of independence as a province! All day! All night!

Pork Pozole

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For the braised pork:
3 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
3 lbs pork shoulder roast, cut into 3″ chunks
1-2 whole Habanero peppers, slit down the middle
6-8 cloves of garlic, crushed lightly
2 onions, quartered
1 stick cinnamon
1 tablespoon allspice berries
2 teaspoons peppercorns
2 teaspoons cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon anise seed
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
3-4 cups of water

For the Pozole:
2 ancho peppers
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
3 serrano peppers, seeded and chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 16 oz can dice tomatoes
1 16-oz can hominy

Garnish with:
Avocado chunks
Squeeze of lime

Cut the pork shoulder into 3 inch pieces; salt and pepper. Smash the garlic cloves with a large knife or cleaver (be careful!) and chop the onion. Cut a large slice into the habanero without removing the seeds or stem. This releases the heat and flavor of the pepper but lets you easily remove it from the pot after it has cooked. (and you can remove it at any time if you think your broth is becoming hotter than your crew or guests can tolerate!)

In your largest stew pot or pressure cooker, heat the olive oil. Sear the pork pieces until brown. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients and water. (start out with 3 ups of water and add more as needed.) Bring to a boil and let simmer for 1- 1 1/2 hours, until meat is braised, or falls apart at the fork. In the pressure cooker, this will take about 45-60 minutes.

While the stew is braising, mince the garlic and chop the anchos, serranos, onions and tomatoes.

If you’re using Choclo on the cob, pull the kernels off the cob. They pull off much easier than traditional American sweetcorn. If you don’t want the added fiber or crunchiness off the corn you can cut the eyes (dark pointed tips) off the kernels. Or just use hominy.

After the pork has tenderized add those vegetables, along with the can of hominy, (or Choclo) into the pot of braised pork. Let simmer on low heat for 20 minutes..

Serve hot in large bowls with chunks of avocado, sprinkled with fresh cilantro. Pozole os often served with slices of radishes and grated cabbage as well. Warm corn tortillas are a nice side to this.

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