Pork Pozole

I hope everyone had a grand Valentine’s Day filled with every kind of love. I know I should have posted more about treats to gift your favorite people, but I was busy, and I’m sure you all made do without me.

Last year one of the best meals I had was at The Vanderbilt in Brooklyn. The food is always great there, tucked away on a little street in a neighborhood that was buzzy for a little while a while back. The cocktails are even better – my favorite is the Tupelo Julep. A concoction of bourbon, honey, & mint poured over a towering dome of shaved ice, it’s an adult version of a sno-cone. But I digress.

The meal that I am referring to was a Cinco de Mayo tasting menu with tequila and cerveza pairings. The meal was fantastic & the company was fun. It was everything a night of celebration should be. And the dish that sticks out most was the pozole. It consisted of chewy hominy, pork so tender it practically melts in your mouth, a mountain of cabbage, radish, & white onion all floating in a clear, light broth. The menu was served in May, but somehow the dish was hearty enough to be filling and warming without being overwhelmingly so.

With the crazy warm weather we’ve been having up in the Northeast, it seemed like the perfect thing to post. This meal is shockingly easy, and looks so impressive. It’s also crazy cheap and makes a lot – so invite some friends over. The only thing worse than keeping a big ol’ pot of pozole to yourself is… Well shoot, I’m actually stumped. I’m not sure there is anything worse than hogging the pozole.

Pork Pozole
adapted from Rick Bayless’s Classic White Pozole

serves approximately 10

1 lb dried pozole
5 cloves garlic, peeled & halved
3 lbs pork shanks
2 lbs pork shoulder
1 small white onion, diced
¼ cup coarsely ground spicy dried red chile
2 limes, cut into wedges
1 bunch of radishes, thinly slices
½ head of cabbage, shredded
1 bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp dried oregano
1 dozen tostadas

To cook the corn, put the pozole and garlic in a pot or slow-cooker and cover with water to submerge 3 inches. For a slow-cooker, set on low, cover with the lid, leaving it cracked. Let cook for 6 hours. If in a pot, bring to a boil, partially cover the pot and simmer gently over medium-low heat until corn is tender, about 5 hours. Add water as needed so the water level is constant.

To cook the meat, place all the pork in a large pot and cover with water. Add 3 tablespoons salt and bring to a boil. Skim off the grayish foam that rises to the top during the next few minutes. Add half of the chopped onion and set aside the rest in the refrigerator. Partially cover the pot and simmer over medium-low heat until the meat is thoroughly tender, about 3 hours. Remove the pork from the broth and pull the meat from the shanks and shoulder. Return the meat to the broth.

Add the corn to the pork, along with 2 teaspoons salt & oregano. Partially cover and continue to simmer until ready to serve.

To serve the pozole, set out the tostadas, along with bowls of cabbage, radish, onion, lime wedges, & cilantro. Spoon portions of meat into bowls & ladle the corn and broth over it. Add condiments to taste.

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