In 2010, Mexican cuisine attained status by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, not just because of its diversity, but because of the many influences that have impacted food in Mexico over the centuries. Mexican cuisine as it is today is the result of the ancient traditions of Aztec and Mayan cultures mixing together with not just the Spanish, but also the French (crepas de huitlacoche) and even the Lebanese (al pastor, for instance) many of whom immigrated to Mexico as early as 1892.
But one of Mexico’s notable pre-Hispanic dishes is pozole, a hearty stew that was considered sacred to the Aztecs and other indigenous people of Mesoamerica. “Pozole” is a word in Nahuatl – one of the indigenous languages that is still used in Mexico today – and means ‘hominy,’ which is a product made from dried corn. Just as it was during the time of the Aztecs, pozole continues to be a celebratory dish enjoyed by Mexicans during special occasions such as Mexico Independence Day, birthdays, Christmas and New Year’s.
Pozole can be red (rojo), white (blanco) and green (verde). It is traditionally made with pork, but there are variations that use chicken, beef, seafood and/or beans.
This recipe is for a traditional red pozole which gets its color from chilies and the gajillo pepper. Don’t be afraid of all of the peppers and spices in the list of ingredients. This pozole packs the kind of heat that’s earthy and flavorful, not the kind of heat that leaves your mouth on fire!
*Recipe and photo courtesy of The Food Channel.
- 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cubed
- 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
- Generous sprinkle of salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder (can substitute regular chili powder)
- 1 dried gajillo pepper
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 (15 oz.) can hominy, drained
- 1 (8 oz.) can mild diced green chilis
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Juice from one lime
- 1 Salt the cubed pork generously and sear it with the olive oil in the InstantPot. Add the hominy, green chili, spices, garlic, onion, lime juice guajillo pepper and the broth, stir to combine.
- 2 Place the top on, seal the steam lever on top and cook on the 'stew' function (50 minutes).
- 3 Release the steam and serve. I serve one with sliced radishes, fresh cilantro and a lime wedge.