Monday, November 13, 2006

Pozole for a Birthday Crowd

A 20-gallon stockpot of pozole was the centerpiece of my granddaughter's birthday party Saturday night. Her great-aunt Vella prepared the mildly-flavored pork and hominy stew on the back porch.

It's easier to make in large batches, said my son-in-law. His family often gathers around the large stockpot, which Vella heats over a one-burner Camp Chef stove, and enjoys the stew. Each cook in the family prepares the dish differently. Some use more heat while Vella make a mild version. Condiments are available to "kick it up."


20 pounds pork meat
4 (#10) cans El Pato brand tomato sauce
5 pasilla chilies, whole
Garlic, to taste
Salt to taste
7 (#10) cans El Mexicano brand hominy

When we talked, Vella mainly gave me the ingredient list for her large stockpot of Pozole. We didn't get around to discussing preparation.

She essentially tosses all but the hominy into the pot and covers it with cold water. Vella did say that she removes the pasilla chilies, purees them and adds the chilies back to the pot. And she emphasized that she uses very little garlic.

The hominy is added during the last hour of simmering. Make sure the meat of almost tender before adding the hominy. I'd be inclined to use chicken stock in place of water and add several bay leaves, dried oregano and maybe some dried ground cumin. But resist the temptation to overly season the soup. Let the condiments do their job.

Prepare bowls of shredded cabbage and iceberg lettuce, chopped yellow onions, sliced radishes, lime and lemon halves and chili oil for condiments. Although not served, chopped cilatro adds a distinctly peppy flavor. The beauty of this soup is that each person can flavor it as he wishes.

She prefers the El Pato and El Mexicano brands. Try if you can't locate these items at your local market.

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