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<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.

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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

<strong>For garnishing:</strong>

— 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.)

When the pork is cooked, set it aside to cool until easy to handle and then chop it into bite sized chunks. Use immediately or refrigerate (this may be done a day in advance).

While the pork cooks, pour the olive oil into a large soup pot set over medium low heat, add the onion and saute until soft and fragrant, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 2 minutes more. Season with salt.

Add the dried oregano, neck bones, pig's feet, if using, and the chicken stock, along with 4 cups of water. Increase the heat to high and when the liquid boils, reduce the heat so that it simmers very gently; cook for 2 hours.

While the soup cooks, prepare the garnishes and put them in attractive serving dishes.

Remove the stock from the heat and let cool slightly.

If using the pig's feet, use tongs to remove them and set them aside.

Strain the liquid into a clean pot, discard the neck bones and aromatics and return the strained liquid to the heat. Add the hominy and, if using, the pig's feet, and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Add the chopped pork roast, stir and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the pork is heated through. Season with several turns of black pepper, taste and correct for salt. Cover, remove from the heat and let rest while you arrange the garnishes on the dining table or on a sideboard.

To serve, ladle the pozole into wide soup plates or soup bowls and let guests add the sauces and toppings they prefer. Offer plenty of hot tortillas alongside. When it comes to the pig's feet, just let guests know you have them — someone will want to nibble on them.

Variations

For Pozole Verde, roast, skin, seed and peel 10 to 12 poblanos. Cut them into medium julienne and add to the soup along with the meat. For a spike of heat, mince a few serranos and add them to the onions and garlic when making the stock.

When you have leftover pozole, serve it for breakfast with a poached egg atop each portion and plenty of cilantro sauce and hot sauce alongside.

<strong>Cilantro Sauce</strong>

<em>Makes about 1 cup</em>

6 garlic cloves

— Kosher salt

1 serrano, stemmed and minced

1 1/2 cups cilantro leaves, chopped

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 to 3 limes)

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Put the garlic into a suribachi or molca jete, season generously with salt and use a sturdy pestle to grind it into a paste. Add the serrano, grind and crush it and add the cilantro leaves. Continue to grind and crush until you have a uniform and somewhat coarse mixture. Stir in the lime juice, taste and correct for salt. Add the olive oil, cover and set aside until ready to use.

This sauce can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days, but it is best when it is first made.

<em>Michele Anna Jordan hosts "Mouthful" each Sunday at 7 p.m. on KRCB 90.9 & 91.1 FM. Email Jordan at michele@micheleannajordan.com. You'll find her blog, "Eat This Now," at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.</em>