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Chicken Pozole (Guest Post)

January 23, 2014

Chicken PozolePin it!

As much as I love Mexican food, I’ve always been a little intimidated by some of the dishes.

I’ve made mole, tamales, tacos, rice and beans, but in the past I’ve always taken shortcuts when making the dishes, using canned or bottled sauces. Since Allison started this blog, I’ve been more up to the challenge of tackling recipes from scratch, but the one recipe I was still too intimidated to try was pozole. I just thought it would be far too complicated to make.

At my old job, I had a co-worker who told me that pozole was so easy, and that she would write down the recipe for me. But she never got around to writing it down, despite the stacks of post-its and note paper available all over the office. She and my other coworker would just condescendingly tell me how simple it was to make.

Chicken PozolePin it!

Now I have a new job with co-workers who are quick to help me out; I can tell they are genuinely happy when they see me succeed, not just in ophthalmology, but in cooking as well. My co-worker, Linda, mentioned she made pozole one day. When I asked her for the recipe, she told me it was really easy, while grabbing a bit of paper and scribbling down some simple directions.

Guajillo and California chile peppers for Chicken Pozole

Allison and I were busy with different recipes we already planned to try out for the blog, so I kept that bit of paper safe for two weeks before I finally tried it. The first time I made pozole, I didn’t add enough salt or hominy—I used just one medium-sized can of hominy (although it was a pretty big can) but that wasn’t enough. You can’t have pozole without hominy, a type of alkali-treated dried corn kernel. It has the texture of a tender corn nut, with a flavor far less sweet than yellow corn kernels. Hominy takes on the flavors of whatever you simmer it in; in this case it absorbs the rich chile broth.

White hominy for Chicken Pozole

(I also didn’t strain the blended peppers, so the tiny bits and pieces of blended guajillo and California peppers floated around in the broth and got stuck in Allison’s teeth; she asked me to strain them the second time I made it.)

Simmering Chicken Pozole

I simmered my second batch of pozole down so much that there wasn’t enough liquid to even call it a soup, but it still tasted amazing. I strained the blended peppers, but still left in about a tablespoon so you could see them floating around. I like them; you can decide whether you want to strain the broth completely or not—leaving in the blended peppers can add an extra bit of spice.

Simmering Guajillo and California Chiles for Chicken Pozole

The guajillo and California peppers are not very spicy, but they are very flavorful. You can also spice things up more by adding diced serrano pepper along with all the other toppings at the end.

Chicken Pozole fixings: radishes, cilantro, cabbage, onion, serrano, and limes.

Pozole is delicious with lots of fresh lime squeezed in, although Allison would like me to tell you she forgot to include lime wedges in the photos. It also makes for another great excuse to crunch on raw cabbage, which Allison and I recently discovered we love, even though it hadn’t been on our radar before.

Guajillo and California chile peppers for Chicken Pozole

The recipe Linda wrote was very simple. It didn’t list the amounts of water, salt, or chicken; it was a short description written hastily on a bit of paper a few minutes before we were to clock out for the day and leave. So I’ll say this recipe is “barely adapted.” We improvised for how much salt, onion, garlic, and chicken to use.

Guajillo and California chile peppers for Chicken Pozole

The third time I made it, it came out perfectly. Allison and I had it for Christmas dinner. When Allison’s parents were in town, we also served it to them and even though her mother is unable to handle spicy food, she loved it.

Chicken PozolePin it!

This pozole was so easy to make, I’ve even made it on a Tuesday night when I was exhausted after working all day. This winter, chicken pozole has replaced turkey kale lentil soup as my quick and simple go-to soup.

Guajillo and California chile peppers for Chicken Pozole

It’s sad that I’d been so hesitant in making this dish since before trying this recipe, I had not eaten a bowl of pozole in at least 10 years. While chicken pozole is not uncommon, pozole is usually made with pork, and I rarely eat pork—when I do, it’s usually while eating out, so I never handle it at home.

Chicken PozolePin it!

Each time I made this I would go back to work and tell Linda how amazing it was and she would exclaim “You made it again?!” I would bring in containers of pozole and all the fixings for lunch, and other co-workers would tell me how good it looked and smelled. I would credit Linda every time and promise to post it to the blog soon. I think Linda will be happy that I finally did.

Chicken PozolePin it.

Print this recipe. (PDF)


Chicken Pozole
(Barely adapted from my co-worker Linda’s recipe)

(Serves 8)

Active time: 35 min.; Total time: 1 hour 35 min.

~ 3-4 lbs. bone-in chicken
~ ½ onion, kept intact or chopped
~ 2 cloves garlic, peeled
~ ½ tsp. salt
~ 6 dried guajillo peppers
~ 6 dried California peppers
~ two 29 oz.-cans white hominy, drained
~ 4-5 shakes dried oregano, or to taste

To serve:
~ green cabbage, diced
~ fresh cilantro, chopped
~ white onion, finely diced
~ 1-2 serrano peppers, finely diced
~ radishes, thinly sliced
~ fresh lime wedges

Special equipment needed:
~ blender
~ fine mesh strainer

How to make it:

1. Place bone-in chicken into a large (6-quart) stockpot, along with the ½ onion, 1 clove of garlic, and ½ tsp. salt, and cover with water, nearly filling the pot. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, occasionally skimming the foam off the top. Once the chicken is cooked, lower the heat all the way down, to barely a simmer, until you’re ready for step #5.

2. Seed and de-vein the guajillo and California chile peppers. Place in a large saucepan along with 1 clove garlic and a pinch of salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.

3. Remove cooked chicken breasts (if any) from the stockpot using tongs, and shred meat coarsely before returning it to the pot without the bones. It’s not necessary to shred the meat from drumsticks or thighs because it will cook until the meat falls off the bone.

4. Optionally remove the onion from the chicken pot and add to blender along with the cooked, drained chiles and the clove of garlic (from the chiles); blend until smooth. Chopped onion can be left in the broth with the chicken (I just don’t like the texture of onion, so I blend mine with the chiles).

De-veining Guajillo and California chile peppers for Chicken PozoleStraining the blended chile peppers for Chicken Pozole

5. Add drained hominy to the pot with the chicken. Then press the blended chile mixture through a fine mesh strainer (optional), adding it into the pot to season the broth. Season with oregano and salt to taste. Bring the heat up to medium and simmer, uncovered, for an additional 45-60 minutes, until it reduces slightly and you like the flavor.

6. Serve warm with an assortment of toppings that each person can add to their own bowl of pozole: diced cabbage, chopped fresh cilantro, finely diced onion and serrano pepper, finely sliced radishes, and fresh lime wedges.

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Chicken PozolePin it!

Related recipe posts:

Avocado Chicken Tacos Adobo Chicken Tamales Mole Poblano with chicken, pinto beans, and Spanish rice Layered Chicken Enchiladas & Spanish Rice
Avocado Chicken Tacos Adobo Chicken Tamales Mole Poblano Layered Chicken Enchiladas
45 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2014 9:37 am

    This is a beautiful dish!!

  2. January 23, 2014 11:39 am

    I doubt we have hominy here in the UK but this sounds SO good. The flavours sound super amazing.

    • January 23, 2014 6:47 pm

      I was curious so I had to do a search, you can buy dried hominy online here

      As much as I would love to just move out of the country and live in Belgium, Japan or wherever, I doubt I would because the farther one gets from Mexico, the harder it is to find quality Mexican food and/or ingredients.

  3. houseofzella permalink
    January 23, 2014 1:58 pm

    Love Pozole!! Great for cold nights!

    • January 23, 2014 6:47 pm

      It’s really kept us warm during a recent cold snap.

  4. gastronomiette permalink
    January 23, 2014 4:11 pm

    Agh I love hominy so much :) Is it crucial to use two different types of dried peppers? I only have guajillos at home.

    • January 23, 2014 6:49 pm

      We only used guajillos in our chicken adobe sauce for our tamales and while it simmered, I had to remark that it smelled like pozole. I would try it.

  5. January 23, 2014 8:13 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous.

  6. January 23, 2014 9:01 pm

    This is so beautiful! I’ve done a pozole dish and it was almost as beautiful. I love your peppers! I’m on a Mexican kick right now too with my tinga de pollo, and chilaquiles (post to come) and then my Colombian ajiaco. Gorgeous! So glad you loved this. This post is as great as your tamales! THanks for sharing.

    • January 27, 2014 6:52 pm

      OMG that tinga looks so good! Thank you!

      • January 27, 2014 7:49 pm

        Ah I finally get to meet you. Love your recipes! Keep up the good work ladies!

  7. January 23, 2014 9:40 pm

    Such a beautiful dish, thanks for introducing it to me :D


  8. January 23, 2014 11:43 pm

    I did not know abou it but… It can be worth to try! Thanks!

  9. January 24, 2014 1:19 am

    Beautiful colors and flavors!

    • January 27, 2014 6:55 pm

      Oh the beauty of the photos and placements are all Allison’s work.

  10. January 24, 2014 7:22 am

    This looks delicious!!

  11. January 24, 2014 10:57 am

    i am loving these guest posts Paula!
    am i right in thinking this is like a mexican version of chicken soup, or am i oversimplifying it? either way, we are going through a major cold front here and this would be so lovely to tuck into.

    • January 27, 2014 6:56 pm

      Thanks! It is totally a Mexican version of a spicy chicken soup, if you do want to simplify it. It’s so good during cold weather.

  12. afracooking permalink
    January 24, 2014 12:12 pm

    I had to laugh at your haughty co-workers. Glad you now work with people that can put a recipe where there mouth is ;-) And I learned something new – hominy – I had never even heard of it. :-) Unfortunately it also means I will not be able to cook this beautiful recipe until I find some… :-( But at least now I know exactly what it is for when I do find it :-)

    • January 27, 2014 6:58 pm

      Thanks, I really appreciate my coworkers. Hominy is just grits before it is ground so it shouldn’t be too hard to find it. Good luck!

  13. January 24, 2014 4:12 pm

    Quite infectious! You have just pushed me over the edge to make pozole! I have a recipe here and have been putting it off for a few weeks. I think I’ll go ahead and just your recipe though. Looks amazing! :)

    • January 27, 2014 6:58 pm

      Awesome, I hope it turns out well (I’m pretty sure it will)!

  14. January 24, 2014 4:13 pm

    just “use” your recipe…

  15. January 24, 2014 10:31 pm

    Fabulous! This looks so good, I’m going to have to try it!

    • January 27, 2014 6:59 pm

      It’s so easy too, I had no idea it would be so simple. I’m kind of mad at myself for not trying it sooner.

  16. January 25, 2014 7:07 am

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this recipe! I can’t wait to try it! I have always wanted to make posole but never have found a recipe I thought would work. Pinning it now!

  17. January 27, 2014 11:39 am

    I’m really unfortunate that I cannot eat spicy food but my husband always crave for super spicy food (as I don’t cook for him…). He’ll love this! It does look very simple to make too. :)

    • January 27, 2014 7:06 pm

      Allison’s mom cannot eat spicy food either and she still enjoyed eating this. You just have to make sure you strain the peppers well.

  18. January 28, 2014 4:27 pm

    Kudos to you. I don’t think I’ll ever make it from scratch. Love, love Posole!

    • January 31, 2014 2:05 pm

      You should try it, I was surprised how easy it was.

  19. January 28, 2014 4:43 pm

    Love this! My boyfriend is Mexican and makes some darn tasty posole. I love all the fresh ingredients added to it.

    • January 31, 2014 2:06 pm

      Thanks, one of my favorite things about pozole are the trimmings.

  20. January 29, 2014 8:39 pm

    This is near identical to my posole recipe (although I used pork). The funny thing is, I’ve always been so intimidated by posole too! I finally buckled down and asked my mom for the recipe, who similarly couldn’t give me exact numbers or measurements until I drilled her. Right after talking to my mom, I went to my favorite Mexican recipe and jokingly asked for their recipe. Crazy enough, they obliged! Their recipe was identical to my mom’s, literally word for word. I also have to add that I was afraid to serve this to my non-Mexican friends, thinking they wouldn’t be able to handle the heat or the foreign flavors. What was I thinking? Everybody loves Mexican food! Not one person left without the recipe in hand. Anyway, just wanted to say cheers to you and me both for tackling our cooking fears :)

  21. January 31, 2014 10:15 am

    I’ve never tried pozole, but now I’m curious and going to give it a try. Stopping by from YBR. Pinning this.


  22. February 9, 2014 3:55 pm

    G’day LOVE pozole!!!! Great photos! Wish I could try some now!
    View as part of Nancy’s YBR Jan Round Up
    Cheers! Joanne


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