There was a vegetarian Red Pozole post a few months ago that relied on nutritional yeast in the stock for savoriness.
This Bacon Red Pozole relies on, well...bacon!
It's an easy way to create a delicious, impromptu batch of Pozole and I hope you decide to give it a go 🙂
How To Make Bacon Red Pozole
That delicious red broth in the above pic is built using dried chiles, with Anchos being the typical starting point.
For this batch I'm starting with 3 Anchos and 2 Guajillos:
I use this combo all the time, but don't sweat it if you can't find Guajillos -- you can either substitute New Mexican chiles for the Guajillos or omit them altogether and just use Anchos. More info on Guajillos.
As usual, you'll get a significant bump in flavor if you roast them first.
I usually put the chiles in the oven (400F) for a couple minutes, but you could also flash roast them in a pan. More info on roasting dried chiles.
Once roasted we'll add them to a mixing bowl and cover with the hottest tap water available. Let these reconstitute for 20-30 minutes, or until you need them.
As the chiles re-hydrate we'll start building the Pozole.
I used six pieces of bacon for this batch, so that is a bit under 1/2 lb. Start by chopping it up into smallish pieces.
If it's tough to cut the bacon you can always plop the whole cutting board in the freezer for a few minutes to solidify it. Or maybe it's time to sharpen your knife 🙂
Cook the bacon in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat (or slightly higher).
Stir regularly and let it cook until it's browned.
Use tongs to remove the cooked bacon, but you can leave the bacon fat in the saucepan.
We'll use that leftover bacon fat to cook the onion and garlic!
That's partly what makes this Pozole so savory, but if it seems like there's too much fat in the pan you can discard some of it . I usually keep most of it, but for this batch I did add a couple spoonfuls to my leftover bacon drippings jar in the fridge.
Finely chop 1/2 small onion and cook it in the bacon drippings over medium heat.
Once the onion is starting to brown you can add 3 minced garlic cloves, cooking briefly.
You'll also need hominy for the Pozole, so keep an eye out for that if you're new to it.
You can usually find it in bigger cans in the Latin goods aisle of most markets. What the heck is hominy?
And don't forget to take a taste of the dried chiles' soaking liquid before you drain them!
If you like the flavor you are welcome to use some of it for the Pozole. If you think it tastes bitter then just discard it and use stock to liquefy the Pozole (that's what I do).
Add these drained chiles to a blender along with a single cup or stock (or soaking liquid). Combine well and add it to the saucepan.
Then we'll add the remaining ingredients:
4 cups stock
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper
pinch of ground clove (optional)
pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Let this simmer for 10-15 minutes and then give it a final taste for seasoning.
I added another 1/2 teaspoon of salt and more Mexican oregano, but keep in mind that the salt level will depend on which stock you're using. I used this guilt-free chicken stock that has very little sodium.
I also usually add about half of the chopped bacon to the pot towards the end of the simmer, saving the rest for garnish.
And now it's time to serve it up!
But don't forget to garnish. Here is the starting point for your garnished masterpiece:
It's already loaded with flavor, but a final burst of acidity really brightens it up so please don't skip this step!
I used finely chopped cabbage that was tossed with lime juice and a pinch of salt -- other good options for acidity include pickled goodies, hot sauce, a splash of vinegar, or even just a squeeze of lime will do the trick.
I also topped with some freshly chopped cilantro, and of course...
Getting a spoonful of the awesome broth, crispy bacon, hominy, and limey cabbage is a tremendously satisfying flavorbomb 🙂
Okay, I hope you get some ideas from this Bacon Red Pozole. It's a tasty middle ground between a more time consuming Red Pozole simmered with pork shoulder and a purely vegetarian Red Pozole.
Bacon Red Pozole
- 2-3 Ancho dried chiles
- 2-3 Guajillo dried chiles (or New Mexican)
- 6 slices bacon (a bit under 1/2 lb.)
- 1/2 small onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 5 cups stock
- 1 can hominy (30 oz. size)
- 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- pinch of ground clove (optional)
- pinch of cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- freshly cracked black pepper
For garnish (optional):
- finely chopped cabbage (tossed with lime juice)
- freshly chopped cilantro
- thin slices of jalapeno or serrano
- Start by wiping off the dried chiles, then de-stemming and de-seeding them. Give the chile pieces a quick roast in the oven (400F) for 2 minutes. Add the roasted chile pieces to a bowl, cover them with hot tap water, and let them reconstitute for 20-30 minutes or until you need them.
- Finely chop 6 slices of bacon. Add the bacon to a medium-sized saucepan or soup pot and cook over medium heat (or slightly higher). Stir regularly until the bacon is brown and crispy. Use tongs to remove the cooked bacon, but you can leave the bacon drippings in the pan. Note: you can discard some of the bacon drippings if you want but I typically use most of it.
- Finely chop 1/2 onion and cook it in the bacon drippings over medium heat. Cook until the onion has softened and then add 3 minced garlic cloves. Briefly cook the garlic. Scoop about half of this onion-garlic mixture into a blender where it will become part of the chile puree, and leave the other half in the pan.
- Note: before draining the dried chiles be sure to take a taste of their soaking liquid. If you like the flavor you are welcome to use some of it in place of the stock. It tastes bitter to my palate so I typically discard it.
- Add 4 cups of stock (or the chiles' soaking liquid) to the pot along with a single can of drained and rinsed hominy. Note: I usually add the stock first before fiddling with the other ingredients to prevent the garlic from burning.
- Drain the chiles and add them to the blender. Half of the onion-garlic mixture should already be in the blender. Add a single cup of stock and combine well -- if it's not combining readily just add another splash of liquid. Add the chile puree to your main pot. You can optionally strain the chile puree to remove any seeds or bits of skin, but lately I skip this step.
- Add the remaining spices: 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, a pinch of ground clove (optional), a pinch of ground cinnamon (optional), some freshly cracked black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- When the Pozole is getting towards the end of the 10-15 minute simmer I usually add in about half of the cooked bacon and reserve the other half for garnish.
- And now take a final taste for seasoning! I added another generous pinch of salt to this batch, but keep in mind that the salt level will depend on which stock you're using. I also added another pinch of Mexican oregano and another pinch of ground clove.
- Serve immediately but don't forget to garnish! I topped with thinly sliced cabbage that was tossed with lime juice and salt, freshly chopped cilantro, and of course...the cooked bacon bits! A final burst of acidity really makes this Pozole come alive, so if you're not topping with limey cabbage then consider a few drops of hot sauce, or pickled goodies, or even just a squeeze of lime.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge where it will keep for a few days. To reheat I just plop it in a saucepan and bring it up to temp over medium heat -- if it seems thick I will add a splash of stock to thin it out.
Want to see the latest post? It's these Vegetarian Stuffed Poblanos.