Hearty green pozole
This is a hearty vegetarian green pozole Aaron and Hannah made for new year's day in 2019. It's adapted from Pati Jinich's recipe in her book Mexican Today (2016, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, pp. 29-31) which she attributes to her mother. The recipe as written should provide 8ish servings. We skipped the zucchini because it was the middle of winter in Chicago. You can make everything a few days ahead and it will be great. If you're scaling the recipe, make sure to have a big pot and leave extra cook time along the way.
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 lb tomatillos (6 of medium size), rinsed and quartered.
- 1 lb poblano chiles (4 or 5), seeded and chopped coarsely.
- 1 cup white onion, coarsely chopped.
- 1.5 cups cilantro, leaves and outer stems coarsely chopped.
- 1-2 garlic cloves.
- 1 cup water (or so).
- A few tbsp vegetable oil.
- 8 or so cups of veggie broth.
- About 3 cups cooked hominy corn. (Note: if cooking yourself, cover 1 cup dry hominy corn w a few inches of water, add a few cloves of garlic and a couple of teaspoons of salt, and simmer for many hours. Add water to keep corn covered as needed. Takes Aaron about 8 hours in a slow cooker!)
- 1 or so lbs zucchini (about 3) diced.
- 1 or so lbs chayote squash (about 2) diced.
- 1/2 lb mushrooms (we used shitake) diced.
Garnish (all suggestions, to taste)
- Quartered limes.
- Chopped cilantro.
- Thinly sliced purple cabbage.
- Thinly sliced or julienned radish.
- Diced avocado pieces.
- Tortilla strips or crumbled chips.
- Hot sauce!
- Powerful blender or food processor.
- Big pot.
- Pan for dry roasting (cast iron is great).
Steps and instructions
- Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan over medium heat. Stir them often and in a few minutes they'll start browning and making popping sounds. Put them aside at this point.
- Turn off the heat and toast the dry oregano for a few seconds until it becomes aromatic and starts to turn brown (but before it burns!). Set aside to cool with the pumpkin seeds.
- Blend the tomatillos, poblanos, onion, cilantro, and garlic. If you're using a blender, add the cup of water. If a food processor, no water needed! Either way, the results will be very green and liquidy and have a promising aroma.
- Heat oil in a large heavy stock pot. Add the green goop you just made in the previous step. It will sizzle and could begin to sear and smoke. This is good! Add some salt and let it simmer for ~10 minutes stirring occasionally. It should get darker in color and thicker.
- While the green goop is simmering, use the now-empty blender or food processor to puree the pumpkin seeds and oregano. You should add some broth or water to the mix, resulting in a sort of smooth, coarse paste.
- Add the pumpkin seed oregano paste to the simmering cauldron of green stuff and stir. Reduce the heat a bit and cover partially to avoid potentially painful spattering. Let this cook for another ~10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pot. It should continue to thicken and deepen in flavor.
- Add the remaining broth and bring to a simmer. Add the hominy (along with the cooking liquid if you softened it yourself), cover partially, and return to a simmer for at least 10 minutes more.
- Add the diced vegetables (mushrooms, chayote, zucchini), cover partially and simmer until the veggies get tender (if you've made a very big pot, just return it to a simmer and turn off the heat because it will stay warm for a while). Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve with garnishes!