In Mexican cuisine there are two versions of Pozole that you'll frequently come across: Pozole Rojo and Pozole Verde.
Pozole Rojo is typically served with pork and relies on a longer simmer in a red sauce made from dried chilis.
Pozole Verde uses tomatillos as the base and when loading it up with chicken you can be seated for dinner much quicker. That's the version we're making here today and it's a good option to consider if you want a Pozole recipe in your arsenal that doesn't feel like an all-day affair.
How To Make Pozole Verde
Of course, all versions of Pozole are going to use hominy as the key ingredient -- that's what makes Pozole such a unique dish! (What is Hominy?)
If you're new to hominy here are some quick details on it...
Start with some dried field corn.
Soak it overnight in an alkaline agent like calcium hydroxide.
Rinse it off the next day and you'll have some nixtamalized corn, i.e. a more nutritional, better tasting corn that is easy to grind up into masa dough.
Or you can cook the whole kernels and you'll end up with hominy, or nixtamalized whole corn kernels.
You can see step-by-step details on that process in our Masa Dough post.
Of course, in today's world there is always a shortcut and we'll be taking it in this recipe. It looks like this:
You'll usually find these cans of hominy in the Latin goods section of your local supermarket. They are quite common these days so keep an eye out for them.
Yes, you'll get a slight downgrade in quality when using canned hominy, but your Pozole is relying on the sauce for its main flavor so it's worth keeping a few cans in the pantry for some quick meals.
For the green sauce, we'll be roasting the tomatillos along with some poblanos. I usually put these in the oven at 400F. The poblanos will need about 30 minutes to roast, and the tomatillos about 15 minutes. I usually take the tomatillos off the pan when they're done roasting, but sometimes I forget and it's no big deal.
This is the same flavor base as our Chili Verde but I usually use less jalapeno and less Mexican oregano when making Pozole. I like it best when it's a bit lighter and less sharp, but you can always add more jalapeno if you want more heat. (What is Mexican Oregano?)
Once you get the tomatillos in the oven you can get the chicken cooking.
Add two chicken breasts to a pan along with 2 quarts of stock. I also add onion, cilantro, salt and pepper.
You can consider the additional ingredients to the broth optional. They don't flavor the chicken much but they will start to season the broth.
I used some homemade stock for this batch and I'm always trying to get people to make their own stock at home. It can make such a huge difference in soups, but of course it takes time so store-bought stock will work fine for this express recipe.
Bring the chicken broth to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink inside, about 20 minutes. Once cooked you can set the chicken aside to cool and then shred it using two forks. Be sure to keep the cooking liquid as that is the base for the Pozole!
While the chicken is cooking you can get the other ingredients ready for the green sauce:
2 peeled onions
4 peeled garlic cloves
2 rinsed and de-stemmed jalapenos
1/2 bunch rinsed cilantro
When the poblanos are done roasting, de-stem and de-seed them. You can pull off any loose skin but it's not important to get rid of all of it. (More info on working with poblanos.)
Add the poblanos to the blender along with the roasted tomatillos and combine well. You might have to do it in batches to get it all to fit into the blender.
We'll cook this green sauce for a few minutes over medium heat in some oil.
Add the shredded chicken along with 1-2 cans of hominy (drained and rinsed).
I used the full 2 cans of hominy (28 oz. size) for this batch, but you can always use less if you want a more soupy version.
Strain the liquid that the chicken cooked in and add it to the pan. If you started with 2 quarts to cook the chicken then you'll probably have about 6-7 cups leftover. I usually swish the cooking liquid in the blender to get all the sauce remnants before adding it to the pan.
We'll also add:
1 teaspoon salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
You can also add more liquid (stock or water) if you want to adjust the consistency of the Pozole. I added another cup of stock to thin it out a bit.
This is also a good opportunity to take a taste for seasoning. I added more salt but keep in mind that the stock I'm using is unseasoned so you might not need to add as much salt if you're using store-bought stock.
Let this simmer for 15 minutes or until the hominy is heated through. Take a final taste for seasoning and then serve it up!
Traditional versions of Pozole are frequently topped with raw veggies, but I've stopped doing this and prefer to serve it up plain Jane along with a squeeze of lime.
Cabbage and radishes are probably the most common additions to Pozole Verde so you can experiment with those if you want, but I don't like their uncooked texture clashing with the warm, hearty Pozole. I've also tried topping with Pickled Cabbage and while I definitely prefer that to uncooked cabbage I still find it unnecessary.
A squeeze of lime and a piping hot cheese quesadilla does the trick for me. There is so much flavor in the broth that you really don't need much beyond that.
And by cheese quesadilla I mean the world's easiest quesadilla...
Simply add cheese to half of a flour tortilla. Fold onto itself and cook in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until both sides are crispy and golden brown.
This gooey delight is the perfect partner for your hearty bowl of Pozole.
Okay let me know if you have any questions about this Pozole Verde. If you're a Pozole fan it's a great recipe to keep in mind for an easy, stress-free batch.
- 1-2 cans hominy (28 oz. cans)
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 quarts stock (8 cups)
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- freshly cracked black pepper
- olive oil
For the poaching liquid (optional):
- 1/2 onion
- 10 sprigs cilantro
- pinch of salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
For the green sauce:
- 10 tomatillos (approx. 1 lb.)
- 2 poblanos
- 2 white onions
- 2 jalapenos
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- Pull off the husks of the tomatillos and give them a good rinse. I usually de-stem them but this is optional. Add the tomatillos to a roasting pan along with the rinsed poblanos and roast them in the oven at 400F. I usually flip the poblanos over after 15-20 minutes, and if the tomatillos are disintegrating you can take them out of the oven at this point. The poblanos will need about 30 minutes total to fully roast.
- Add the two chicken breasts to a pan and cover with 2 quarts of stock. Be sure there is enough liquid to submerge the chicken breasts. I also added 1/2 onion, 10 sprigs cilantro, a pinch of salt, and some freshly cracked black pepper but these are optional. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook the chicken until no longer pink inside, about 20 minutes. Once cooked, set the chicken aside to cool on a plate and then shred using two forks. Save the cooking liquid.
- Add the remaining green sauce ingredients to a blender: 2 peeled onions, 2 de-stemmed and rinsed jalapenos, 4 peeled garlic cloves, and 1/2 bunch of rinsed cilantro. I usually just twist off and discard the bottom, thicker portions of the cilantro but use the upper stems that hold the leaves together.
- Once the poblanos have fully roasted, remove them from the oven and let them cool down for a few minutes. Pull off and discard as much of the skin as you can. De-stem and de-seed them. I find it easiest to cut off the tops and then make a slit lengthwise. Open up the pepper and use the knife to scrape out the veins and seeds.
- Add the poblanos and tomatillos to the blender and combine well with the other ingredients. You might have to blend half first to get all of it to fit into a single blender.
- Add a dollop of oil to saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the green sauce from the blender and cook for a few minutes.
- Drain and rinse 2 cans of hominy. If you want a soupier version then use only a single can. Add the hominy to the green sauce.
- Add the shredded chicken to the pan along with the chicken cooking liquid (I gave the cooking liquid a quick strain to remove the onion and cilantro bits). We'll also add 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and some freshly cracked black pepper. You can always add additional liquid at this point if you want a thinner version (stock or water).
- Let simmer for 15 minutes or until the hominy is heated through. Take a final taste for seasoning, adding more salt if necessary.
- Serve immediately with a squeeze of lime. You can optionally serve it with a cheese quesadilla. Simply add cheese to half of a flour tortilla and fold onto itself. Cook in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until both sides are crispy and golden brown.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
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