The Mexican soup or stew known as pozole has become a beloved tradition among my family and friends on Halloween. For years, I've made my signature pozole verde and sometimes made a pozole rojo, too, so that my guests would have a choice. This year, I'm changing it up a bit and making pozole blanco instead.
Pozole blanco is a kissing cousin of pozole verde, with bright, pure flavors. The main difference is that I don't add poblanos or lime juice but instead serve them on the side. It is also quite mild, so that both kids and adults who don't care for the heat of chiles can enjoy it. For those who love a spike of heat, there are minced serranos on the side.
Recently, I've gotten several requests from readers who have lost their printed copies of my pozole recipes and have noticed a few technical errors (sometimes fractions and such don't post accurately) on the ones I've posted at this column's companion blog, Eat This Now, which you can find at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com. I'm revising all my pozole recipes and reposting them on the blog so they are up to date and ready to go for your Halloween feast.
You don't really need appetizers or side dishes with pozole, but if you want to start with something, make sure it is light — guacamole with chips, perhaps. For beverages, agua fresca and a good Mexican beer like Bohemia are perfect.
For dessert, I like dulce de leche (Mexican caramel, also known as cajeta) ice cream topped with fresh pomegranate arils. It's hauntingly delicious.
Makes 10 to 12 servings
1 pork shoulder or butt roast, 4 to 5 pounds
— Kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds meaty pork bones
2 pork trotters
1 yellow onion, cut in wedges
1 garlic bulb, cloves separated
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
8 cups homemade chicken stock, optional
3 28-ounce cans pozole blanco (white hominy), drained
3 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano
— Cilantro Sauce (recipe follows)
— Poblano Rajas (recipe follows)
1 bunch radishes, very thinly sliced
5 juicy limes, quartered
1 small green cabbage, shredded
2 firm-ripe avocados, cut into medium dice
2 large heirloom tomatoes, such as Golden Cherokee, diced
1 small white onion, diced
3 to 4 minced serranos
1 cup Mexican crema or creme fraiche, stirred to loosen
2 dozen small corn tortillas
Set the pork roast on a clean work surface and rub it all over with kosher salt, using about ? cup.
Set the pork in a clay cooker or other ovenproof pot with a lid. Add ? inch of water, put on the middle rack of a cold oven, set the heat to 250 degrees and cook for 5 to 6 hours, until the pork is fork tender. Remove from the oven and let rest in the pot. This can be done a day in advance. To prepare in advance, simply refrigerate the pork in its container and remove it from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before finishing the pozole. To use immediately, transfer the meat to a clean work surface and hack it into chunks.