Pozole Rojo

This Posole Rojo recipe is a delicious Mexican pork stew, slow simmered with the most amazing chiles. | gimmesomeoven.com

One of my random cooking goals for 2017 is to learn more about cooking with dried chile peppers.  ?

I’m always passing by them at the grocery store that I frequent most in Kansas City, which is beloved for its epic selection of Latin American favorites.  From soft homemade tortillas, to best selection of ultra-thick and ultra-thin tortilla chips, to homemade salsas and ceviches galore, to an enormous bin of always-ripe avocados, to every kind of fresh and dried chile peppers that you can imagine, it is absolute paradise for anyone who loves to cook Mexican food.  But while I’m comfortable by now with most of the fresh produce and spices in the store, I still feel like a total novice when it comes to that enormous display of dried chile peppers…which is crazy, because I absolutely love the flavor of chiles.  And know that cooking with dried chile peppers can often be the secret to making recipes taste extra delicious and authentic.

So anyway, 2017 is officially the Year Of The Chiles at mi casa!  Which of course probably means it will be here on the blog too.  ?  I stocked my pantry with a half dozen varieties of chiles last week to get started, and look forward to cooking and experimenting with them more regularly so that I can become more familiar with their flavors (and all of the various ways they can each be cooked).  And, I’m happy to say that my first attempt at making Mexican stew with three of my favorites chiles last week — ancho, guajillo, and chiles de arbol — was a smashing success.

Who wants some pozole rojo?!

Have all of you tried pozole before?  As many of you know, I already have a Pozole Verde (also sometimes spelled posole) recipe on my site — a green version of the soup, which I made with chicken instead of pork.  But I’ve been obsessed with ordering pozole rojo — the red version of the soup — out at Mexican restaurants for years and years, and love the rich red chile broth that’s the star of the show.  I’ve tried making it a handful of times to dried chile powders, but it was never quite the same.  So I figured this would be the perfect project to try attempt with my new collection of chiles.

And oh my goodness, you guys, they really did make all the difference!

To make the soup, begin by browning a bunch of pork (or you could also sub in chicken, like I did in the recipe above), then combine that with a simple soup base full of onions, garlic, hominy, and seasonings.  Then while the soup is simmering on the stove, grab those ch-ch-ch-chiles!

These are the three chiles used to make traditional Mexican Posole Rojo. Delicoius! | gimmesomeoven.com

Ok, I should actually confess that I decided to play things a little safe with this recipe to begin, since I’ve already worked with these three types of chiles before.  They’re some of the most popular dried chiles in Mexican cooking, and are probably the most widely available at grocery stores across the country.  (If not, you can always order them online.)  But if they’re new to you, I highly recommend giving them a try!  They include:

  • Ancho Chilesdried poblano chiles, which have a nice earthy and slightly-sweet flavor (not very spicy)
  • Guajillo Chilesa little bit spicier, with great flavor
  • Chiles De Arbol: bright red and very spicy (also optional in this recipe, especially if you don’t like much heat)

Since all of these chiles are purchased dried, they need to be soaked and reconstituted to make the chile paste for traditional pozole rojo.  So just break off and discard the stems.  Then give them each a shake (or slice them open) to remove and discard the seeds.  Then let them soak in boiling water for about 30 minutes, or until they’re nice and softened.

 

Learn how to make traditional Mexican pork posole with this easy recipe! | gimmesomeoven.com

Then add them to a blender or food processor, along with about 2 cups of the soaking water, and puree until totally smooth.  And then — voila! — your chile seasoning for the soup is ready to go!  Feel free to strain the chile mixture through a fine-mesh strainer if it’s not very smooth, but I just add it all straight into the soup.

Actually, if you’re a sensitive to heat/spice in your food, I actually recommend adding just half or 2/3 of the chile mixture to begin.  Then give it a taste and you can always add more.

Traditional Mexican Posole Rojo is slow-simmered with tender pork and chiles, and it's amazingly delicious! | gimmesomeoven.com (Gluten-Free)

Then just let the soup continue simmering until that pork is nice and tender.  Then pluck out the pork with some tongs and transfer it to a cutting board, shred it into bite-sized pieces with two forks, and stir it back into the soup.  Give it all a taste, and season with salt and pepper as needed.  And then…
This AMAZING Posole Rojo (Mexican pork stew) is slow-simmered with the most delicious chile broth, and it's so comforting and flavorful. | gimmesomeoven.com (Gluten-Free)

…voila!  This gorgeous, rich, flavorful soup will be yours to enjoy!

Since the broth is so warm and rich and spicy, I love topping it with all things fresh and bright and creamy to balance things out, such as fresh cilantro, radishes, avocado, lime juice, and cheese.  But go with whatever sounds good to you.  Also, if you don’t have time to make this recipe on the stove, it could be easily adapted to be made in the slow cooker.  (See tips below.)

So grab some chiles and give it a try!  I think you’re going to love it!!

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Pozole Rojo

This traditional Pozole Rojo recipe is made with tender pork and hominy, slow-simmered with the most delicious chile seasoning, and it’s sure to warm you up through and through!

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces dried ancho chiles, dried guajillo chilesor a combination of both
  • option to add more heat: 2-3 chiles de arbol*
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder**, cut into 1.5-inch cubes
  • 1 medium white onion, peeled and diced
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans hominy, rinsed and drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican oregano)
  • optional toppings: chopped fresh cilantro, crumbled cotija cheese, diced avocado, fresh lime juice, shredded cabbage, and/or thinly-sliced radishes

Directions:

  1. Remove and discard the stems and seeds from the chiles.  (You may need to give them a shake to get all of those seeds out!)  Place the chiles in a medium mixing bowl, and cover them completely with boiling water.  Let the chiles soak for about 30 minutes, or until softened.  Once they are soft, transfer the chiles to a blender or food processor, along with 2 cups of the soaking water.  Puree for 1 minute, or until completely smooth.  (Always be careful when pureeing hot liquids — the hot water tends to expand, so be sure that your blender or food processor isn’t too full!)  Set the mixture aside for later.  (You can also strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to make it extra-smooth if there are some little chunks still in there, but I usually skip that step.)
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the pork and saute, turning occasionally, until all sides are seared and browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Transfer the pork with a separate spoon to a fresh plate and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the stockpot.  Add the diced onion, and saute for 4-5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.  Stir in the garlic, then saute for 1-2 minutes more until fragrant, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add in the chicken stock, hominy, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, cooked pork, and the chile mixture.  (I recommend stirring in 2/3 of the chile mixture to begin, then taste the soup and add the rest of the chile mixture if you’d like).  Stir to combine.  Continue cooking until the soup reaches a simmer.  Then reduce heat to medium-low so that the soup is just barely simmering, cover partially, and cook for 1.5 to 2 hours, or until the pork is tender and shreds easily.
  5. Once the pork is tender, use some tongs to transfer it onto a cutting board.  Then shred it into bite-sized pieces using two forks.  Return the pork to the soup and stir to combine.
  6. Taste, and season generously with salt and pepper if needed.  (Heads up — I used nearly a tablespoon of salt, but go with whatever tastes good to you.  The brand of your chicken stock will also make a difference here.)
  7. Serve warm with your desired toppings.  Or transfer to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

*Chiles de arbol are definitely spicier (i.e. more heat) than the guajillo and ancho chiles.  I only recommend adding them if you’d like a spicier soup.

**I recommend trimming off the noticeable sections of excess fat.

To Make This In The Slow Cooker:

Follow Step 1 above to make the chili paste in a blender or food processor.  Then add the chili paste and all of the remaining ingredients (excluding toppings) to a large slow cooker.  Cook for 6-8 hours on low, or 4-6 hours on high, or until the pork shreds easily with a fork.  Then follow Steps 5-7 (shredding the pork, etc.) to complete the recipe.

Slightly adapted from The Food Network and Simply Recipes.

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If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

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50 comments on “Pozole Rojo”

  1. It looks so spicy – my favourite!

    Charmaine Ng

  2. This looks so yummy! x
    Lovely post. 
    Izzy

  3. Totally buying dried chile peppers and making this over the weekend!! Sounds SO flavorful!!! I also love that you added thinly sliced radishes as a topping. They provide such a great crunch! :)

  4. WOW…I love Mexican food and this recipe will help take my dishes to the next level. Will have to try these in making sauces for Rancheros dishes and chilaquilles dishes. Thank you for posting!!

  5. This looks delicious! How about a future post on what to do with and/or how to cook with tomatillos?

    • Thank you, Rhonda — we hope you enjoy it! And we think that’s a great idea, we’ll take that into consideration for sure! :)

  6. Could you use beef instead of pork?

  7. I’m really impressed that you can get Mexican Oregano in Kansas City!  Around here, at least at the park where we volunteer, it grows wild.  The radishes you’ve used for topping are traditional, as is green cabbage.  I haven’t made pozole in quite some time, but may just have to try your recipe, because it sounds wonderful.  And yes, those dried chiles add wonderful flavor.  I’m guessing that pozole is sometimes spelt posole is because the ‘z’ in Spanish is pronounced like an ‘s’.  I love Mexican food, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else you post as you try out different dried chiles.  One of the ones I like, which is not very hot, is the cascabel variety.

    • Thanks for sharing, Susan — we hope you can give this a try soon, and that you enjoy it! :)

  8. Lovely! This looks like such a cozy dinner

  9. Yum, I could eat this off the page, it looks gorgeous and delicious. I love the sliced radish/cilantro crunch as a topping too. I just added the ingred including chilies to my shopping list. :)

  10. Hi Ali! Having lived back here in Arizona for almost 3 years;(Am a Wisconsin transplant for the 3rd time!);have also been learning more about all the amazing varieties of peppers there are!I literally use them in all types of food,not just Mexican.Once I chopped up a fresh Poblano,put it in a soup.Now,nearly EVERY soup I make must have them in !Apparently the ghost pepper is the hottest.Am digressing?.So will be following along with you and the ? Read you every post anyway,lol.One of my faves and first of close to 600,that I subscribe to or follow on Bloglovin!!?!Love the food,Love the foodies!!

  11. This looks amazing! I was wondering, why is the pork cut into 1.5 inch cubes if it’s going to be shredded after it is cooked?  Also, 1.5 to 2 hours seems a long time to cook such small cubes. Could the pork be left whole? Thank you for all your wonderful recipes, Ali.

    • You’re welcome to skip the step of cutting it into chunks. But I like cutting it so that the pieces sear/brown more quickly and evenly, and then they cook more quickly in the soup. (And then you also get the bonus of having more edges of the meat with that yummy caramelized sear.) But that said, you’re totally welcome to just leave the pork whole. :)

  12. I love your posts, but this one its beyond….
    As a mexican I can tell you that your recipe it’s authentic and I feel extremely happy to see that you went that extra mile in Mexican Food. Our food it’s more than tacos! Pozole it’s a typical dish in many states of Mexico and we usually eat it in celebrations as the indepence day or even new year’s eve! We eat it with totopos (tortilla chips) and as toppings crushed pepper, oregano, lettuce and radishes and lemon. We don’t put cheese, but in case you want to add some and you live in Canada, Canadian Feta taste a lot as Cotija cheese.

    Little tip: It taste much better the second day, like almost every leftover.

    Thanks for including Mexican cuisine in your posts and if you wanna try more recipes with chiles try Mole and Adobo!

    • Thank you for your sweet words, Arayanzi! We’re glad you enjoy the blog and we’re happy you like this recipe — we hope you can give it a try sometime! :)

  13. Oh MY!!! How wonderful this looks. Always wanted to cook with dried chilies, but never knew what to do! Thanks!

  14. Yum! That looks awesome. And did I miss it, or did you say which grocery store that is with all those Latin American specialties? We moved to Lawrence from AZ almost three years ago and still make our own tortillas a lot of the time bc the selection here is …lacking. :) Although there are some good homemade ones at our co-op, but they’re pricey. Thank you!!

    • Thanks, Tiffany — we hope you enjoy this! And Ali loves the Price Chopper at Roe and 35, or the Sun Fresh on 18th Street. Both have great selections of dried chiles!

  15. That looks amazing!  I’m just curious, which grocery store you are referring to?  I feel like I need to take a field trip!

    • Thanks, Lori! Ali loves the Price Chopper at Roe and 35, or the Sun Fresh on 18th Street. Both have great selections of dried chiles!

  16. This looks INCREDIBLE! Also I’m dying to know the grocery store of which you speak (because it sounds magical) as I live in Iowa and frequently make trips “down south” to KC. Definitely making this soon.

    • Thanks, Holly — we hope you enjoy it! And Ali loves the Price Chopper at Roe and 35, or the Sun Fresh on 18th Street. Both have great selections of dried chiles!

  17. Your blog is among my favorites. I have lots of Mexican friends who are marvelous cooks. That being said, when making pozole rojo, please strain the puree thru a fine mesh strainer, working the liquid gently thru with a spatula. I have a Vitamix and nothing turns everything to liquid or a powder like that thing. However, please strain your puree thru a fine mesh strainer. The little bits of pepper can make your pozole bitter when eating. I’m not promoting anything here, but if you want the authority on Mexican cooking, refer to any of Rick Bayless’s books on Mexican cuisine. One more suggestion, tear and toast the chilies in a little oil just until fragrant and start to darken (be careful – do not burn – they can get really bitter), then soak them per your recipe. Toasting releases the essential oils and give your pozole a nice depth of smoky flavor. If you want a less spicy pozole, substitute the arbol with another guajillo or two. One more note on how to select fresh dried chiles in a bag; they should be flexible without breaking. If they shatter, they’re too old and dry.

    Just talking from experience…… Dave

  18. Hi Ali, 

    Pozole is a soup I’ve been dying to make and yours looks delicious. I’m especially fond of colorado (red) sauces, so thanks!

    I can’t find the pressure cooker tips. Did you forget them or is it just my blind idiocy? 

    • Thank you, we hope you love this! :) And oops, we mistakenly left those out (sorry about that!) — adding them in now!

  19. And, yes, the Ghost or Bhut Jolokia pepper is extremely hot. Example: most have experienced the jalapeno and serrano – both have a nice spice level.
    To give you an idea of just how hot a ghost pepper is: Jalapeño peppers range from 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale, while Ghost peppers (a.k.a. the Bhut Jolokia) weight in between 855,000 – 1,041,427 Scoville heat units so use caution because a little piece goes a long, long – long way – and wear gloves for sure when working with that one.

  20. This looks delicious! I live in KC too and wonder if you might share the name of the grocery store where you find these amazing chiles.

    • Thank you, Sara — we hope you enjoy it! And Ali loves the Price Chopper at Roe and 35, or the Sun Fresh on 18th Street. Both have great selections of dried chiles!

  21. Oh my gosh, I LOVE pozole! I had it for the first time when I was a missionary for my church. A Mexican lady made it and I was enchanted! Now every time I meet a Hispanic person, I say, “Do you know how to make pozole?” Not really. But it is one of the first thoughts that comes to my mind. Your recipe looks so authentic and wonderful! I am dying to try it!

  22. try roasting your chilis a few quick minutes in the oven before soaking. really nice smokey flavor. watch them though, they will burn quickly.

  23. Do you think this would freeze okay?

    • Hi Clara! We think this should freeze okay (just freeze without the toppings). We hope you enjoy it!

  24. Hi! I made this last night. SUGGESTION – strain the puree before adding it to your soup. I pureed mine in a Ninja Blender and did not strain it… :( Bits of the pepper pods were in the soup. Outside of that, it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

    • We’re glad you enjoyed it, Lisa — and thank you for your recommendation, that’s helpful!

  25. What an awesome recipe! I’ve made pozole for years–family recipe–but we have always used chili powder. I never even thought to make a chili paste because I just made it the way we always have, but now I can’t wait to try this version! Pozole is one of my go-to comfort foods.

  26. I made this last night, almost to the letter, except with homemade pork stock. It was a completely stellar recipe, “one of the best soups I’ve ever had,” according to the guy – and I make a lot of soup! One note – I cut the recipe in half and used one can of hominy, and it was almost too much. I think a can and a half for a half recipe would have been too much. Otherwise, it was terrific! Garnished with cilantro, red onion, avocado and WATERCRESS. Great addition!

  27. Making this tonight!!!! For the recipe it says to cut up the pork in bite size pieces. Later in the directions, it says to remove the pork with tongs and shred it into bite size pieces. I’m assuming either will work? I was thinking of plopping the whole piece of pork in the pot and letting it breakdown that way, then shred it. Can’t wait to try this! 

    • Hi Lisl! We’re sorry we’re just now getting to your comment. Yes, you can do it either way, we hope you enjoy!

  28. When cooking in slow cooker, do you add the oil as well? Should meat be browned prior to placing in crock pot?

    • Hi Samantha! Yes, we’re sorry about the confusion, you will want to brown the meat in the oil before adding it to the crock pot. We hope you enjoy!