<p style="text-align: left;">It has been several years since I've written about pozole, the hominy-based Mexican soup that has long been a Halloween tradition.
It is time to revisit it, as it is one of the most delicious fall feasts around. You can find it in restaurants, but it is rare to come across a version that tops homemade pozole. And even though the ingredient list seems long, it's not at all difficult to make.
It doesn't have to be Halloween to enjoy pozole, though I do find fall the best time to indulge, in part because fresh chiles are so wonderful at this time of year and in part because it warms us up on cold fall nights.
Don't serve too much before the pozole. I once made the mistake of making queso fundido as an appetizer — grated cheese topped with chorizo, serranos and cilantro, melted in the oven and served with warm tortillas — and had so much pozole left over we were eating it for months (it freezes well). Good chips and salsa are plenty as a starter.
For dessert, I recommend bowls of pomegranate arils doused with a bit of rose water, orange flower water or sparkling wine. If that seems too lean, top the pomegranates with a big scoop of dulce de leche ice cream.
To drink? Bohemia, ice cold, or a dry sparkling wine, such as an inexpensive Spanish cava or your favorite local bubbly.
I've always preferred the green side of things when it comes to Mexican food, but if you prefer red, you'll find my recipe for Pozole Rojo at "Eat This Now" at <a href="http://pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com" target="_blank">pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com</a>, along with some other favorite Halloween recipes. In this version, there are no green chiles, but it is easy to add them. Just consult the variation at the end of this recipe.
<strong>Pozole Blanco with a Variation for Pozole Verde</strong>
<em> Makes 12 servings</em>
<strong>For the pozole:</strong>
1 pork shoulder or butt roast, 4 to 5pounds
— Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into small dice
1 garlic bulb, cloves separated, peeled, crushed and minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 pounds pork neck bones
2 pig's feet (trotters), optional
8 cups homemade chicken stock
2 28-ounce cans white hominy (pozole), drained
—Black pepper in a mill
— Cilantro Sauce (recipe follows) or 2 cups chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 white onion, cut into small dice
2 or 4 green serranos, stemmed and minced
1 large bunch radishes, trimmed and cut into thin julienne
4 cups very thinly sliced fresh cabbage
3 avocados, cut into small cubes
5 or 6 limes, cut into uneven wedges
8 ounces Mexican crema or creme fraiche, stirred
1 pound grated Monterey Jack or similar cheese
— Bottled Mexican hot sauces of choice
24 (or more) corn tortillas, heated until soft and pliable and wrapped in warm tea towels
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
Set the pork roast on a clean work surface and rub it all over with kosher salt, using about 2 tablespoons. Put it into an ovenproof pot, add about ?-? inch water and set it in the oven. Cook until it falls apart when pushed gently with your thumb or a spoon, about 5 hours. (You may also cook it in a crock pot or other slow cooker, using the manufacturer's instructions.)