Pozole -- Pork Soup

The ingredients are simple:  pork, hominy, chiles, onions, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and salt.  
Doņa Martha used both a pig's head and espinazo -- the backbone of the pig.  The head is simmered in a large pot of water for 3 hours, after which it is removed cooled and stripped. (Preparation of the pig's head is covered in some detail in the Tamales story.)
For the chile colorado sauce she uses Ancho and Pasilla, both dried chiles. (Note the long, slender appearance of the pasilla.  It is known by different names in parts of Mexico and the USA.)  Unlike other versions of chile colorado, she simmers the chiles without onions and garlic.
When the chiles are soft, they are puréed in the blinder and set aside for incorporation in the pozole near the end of the cooking.

The remaining back pieces are cut into bite sizes with the split bones left in.  They are added to the pot after the head has cooked for about 90 minutes.  
Bay leaves, thyme, a whole onion and a few whole garlic cloves are added with the pork chunks.  The onion and garlic cloves will be removed before serving.  

The meat from the head, the hominy, and the chile sauce are added at the end.  The final pot is simmered for a few minutes before serving.

The soup is accompanied by sides of chopped onions, oregano, limes, and hard rolls.

Observer's notes:

Doņa Martha made Asado and Pozole on consecutive days, so it was easy to make a taste comparison.  I find it interesting that the ingredients for the two dishes are almost identical, yet the flavors are quite different.  The asado had a strong, smoky flavor where the chiles predominated over the meat, while the pozole had a rich meaty taste with just a mild flavor from the chiles.  The asado needed the companionship of rice and beans, while the pozole was a stand-alone dish.

The long cooking time of the head caused it's meat to almost dissolve adding a wonderful deep rich meat flavor to the broth.  The backbone cooked for a shorter time and still had a soft chunk of meat texture.

This was my first home-made pozole.  I like it much better than the similar dish, menudo, which uses a different part of the pig and is much spicier.  Doņa Martha doesn't make menudo,  She says it's too much work, and her family likes pozole better -- me too.

The oregano grows wild in the nearby mountains.  From time to time, the men of the family go into the mountains to harvest it.  (They usually find a few rattle snakes to kill, too.)  This oregano has a stronger more peppery flavor than that I used to buy in the USA.

If you wish to write to Doņa Martha, you may send an e-mail to martha@rollybrook.com
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