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Spicy Green Pozole
You’ll probably find hominy in a big tin on a low shelf in the Latino section of the supermarket. Unfortunately, this section is often sadly small, yet hominy is nearly always available. Once you find it—and the Latino section in general— you will be super happy with all it has to offer. Some say pozole is great hang-over food, but that puts it in a category far too narrow for its actual brilliance. My version is spicy and green, savory and salty, with an intense aroma. Don’t forget to top the hearty soup with sliced radishes and shredded cabbage. A dollop of Mexican crema is always welcome, too.
5 or 6 tomatillos, husks removed 2 fresh poblano chiles
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 small yellow onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced
two 15-ounce cans hominy
1 quart chicken stock, preferably homemade
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
about 1 cup Mexican crema
2 cups shredded green cabbage (you can use red cabbage instead, but the soup is green, so the red veg will interfere with that)
1 cup radishes sliced 1/8 inch thick
small handful of fresh cilantro stems and leaves
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced, white and light green parts only
12 to 16 sprigs purslane (optional)
4 to 6 lime wedges
sliced jalapenos, for garnish
Position the broiler rack a few inches from the heat source. Heat the broiler. Spread the tomatillos, poblanos, and jalapenos on a baking sheet. Slide it under the broiler and let the vegetables char for 3 to 4 minutes, until blackened on one side. Turn the veggies and let them cook until blackened all the way around. Remove them from the broiler and let cool. When cool, seed the chiles and chop them and the tomatillos into small dice. Set aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium- high heat. When close to smoking, add the chicken thighs, skin sides down, and cook without moving the chicken until the skin starts to separate from the meat, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn the chicken over and add the onion and garlic to the skillet. Cook, stirring, until the onions are fragrant and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken, onions, and garlic to a large soup pot or similar pot. Add the charred chiles and tomatillos, the hominy, and then the stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer until the chicken and hominy are cooked through and the flavors blend, 40 to 45 minutes, adjusting the heat up or down to maintain the simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Lift the chicken from the pot and, using a fork, shred the meat from the bones and return the meat to the soup. Discard the bones. Reheat the soup until very hot, if necessary. Ladle the hot soup into large bowls and top each serving with a dollop of the crema, the cabbage, radishes, cilantro, scallions, and purslane, if using. Squeeze some lime into the bowls, garnish with jalapeños, and start slurping!
Note: Mildly sweet hominy is made from firm, dried corn kernels that have been soaked in an alkaline solution to slough off their hulls. It’s used to make pozole, a traditional Mexican soup that always includes hominy and some sort of meat. The word pozole means “hominy.”
Note: Mexican crema is similar to crème fraiche and sour cream, although it’s a little thinner than either—plus it’s somewhat acidic and a little saltier. If you can’t find it in the market, substitute sour cream cut with a little lime juice and seasoned with salt.
Spicy Green Pozole from So Good by Richard Blais. Copyright © 2017 by Richard Blais and Evan Sung. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.