Friday, February 14, 2014

#2 Chicken Pozole Verde

Aaah, new things... I love trying new things but at the same time they make me apprehensive. Especially when cooking something that comes from another culture. I think it's because sometimes, I feel like I'm intruding on the ingredients if they are unfamiliar to me: coming in with my ignorance, abusing them and making a fool of myself. Ever feel that? I have repeated various pozole recipes in my head until they felt like second nature. I have also tasted many pozoles - the pork, the chicken and pork, the vegetarian and the mixed - the verde and the more common versions. I did all of this until I felt like it was becoming "homey" in my head. And here in San Jose, it has become a much loved comfort food for me and after years and years (24 years!) I feel comfortable calling it my own and would love to share that love.

I decided on a pozole verde because it's the most flavorful pozole. I LOVE it with pork, but this time, this is part of the chicken only challenge.

Hominy. For the longest time I had no idea what it was. As a newcomer to California 24 years ago, I didn't know what to think of it because it was a taste so new and so foreign. Now, I don't think I could live without it. Hominy is dried maize which have been nixtamalized, or treated with an alkali. Sound strange? One of the first mentions of it is in the General History of the Things of New Spain, written by Bernardino de Sahagun, a Franciscan Friar.  This was a common way of treating maize in South America. Pozole is a traditional Mexican dish, served on special occasions.

My pozole verde is heavy on the citrusy tomatillos - the combination of their sour and savory flavor combined with the plump and corny hominy makes me want to use the whole five gallons of my chicken stock just for the pozole!

1 jar chicken broth (in this case about 4 cups)
1/2 cup chicken meat reserved from when I made the broth
1 large can hominy
handful of cilantro
half avocado, sliced or diced into squares
two red radishes
tbsp red onion, diced
3 large tomatillos, washed carefully

In a food processor, blend the tomatillos until smooth. Put into a pot with the chicken broth and slowly simmer. Simmer away for about 20 minutes. The color will change from bright raw green, to a calmer more sedate dark green. Open and drain one can of hominy, and add to the pot. Simmer 3 more minutes and add the reserved chicken meat. Serve in a large bowl. To garnish, use the avocado, cilantro, red onion and radishes. 

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