Okay, I’m officially declaring it soup season. You heard it here first! Red pozole with chicken is one of my absolute favorite comfort food meals. I grew up eating it in the Fall and Winter months because it was a favorite of my Dad’s. He usually made it with pork shoulder or butt which is definitely more common, but not exact the healthiest meal. It was always served up with warm tortillas for dipping in the broth, lots of finely shredded cabbage, onions, cilantro, avocado, radishes, and lots and lots of fresh lime.
It’s a meal that will always remind me of him and make me feel closer to him when I make it. My version is a bit healthier, utilizing chicken breast instead of fatty pork, but it’s no less flavorful and tasty. The broth is really the key here so using homemade chicken broth is a essential! If you need a quick recipe, check out my instant pot chicken broth recipe HERE. This is a great recipe for a weeknight because it doesn’t take much time and it’s all made in one pot! Hooray for fewer dishes! Happy soup season, I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
WHAT IS POZOLE?
You may be wondering what Pozole actually is, right? Pozole is a meat and hominy stew that is very traditional in Mexican cooking. As I mentioned before, it’s traditionally made with pork and then served with shredded cabbage or lettuce, onions, chile peppers, cilantro, radishes, avocado, and/or lime. Pozole is a typical dish in various states such as Nayarit, Sinaloa, Michoacán, Guerrero, Zacatecas, Jalisco, and Morelos. It’s been around since the 16th century or so, and originated in Aztec culture as maize (corn) was a sacred plant and they created this dish to observe special occasions.
While this recipe has roots in Hispanic and Mexican cooking, I don’t claim for it to be authentic. It’s similar to what my Dad made (probably a much more traditional version), but with some twists to create a healthier version.
WHAT IS RED POZOLE?
The reference to this being a red pozole with chicken recipe comes from the dried chilies we use in the broth. We use dried red chilies in the broth for flavor and color. There are other versions such as green pozole which is made using tomatillos and cilantro, and white pozole which is the absence of either red or green sauce.
WHAT’S HOMINY AND WHERE CAN I FIND IT?
Hominy is a food produced from dried maize kernels that have been treated with an alkali, in a process called nixtamalization. You can find them canned in most well stocked grocery stores, or at your local Hispanic grocery store.
OTHER RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 cups chicken stock or broth (preferably homemade)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, whole
4 dried New Mexico or Guajillo chilies, seeds and stem removed
1 dried ancho chile, seeds and stem removed
1 jalapeno, sliced (optional), stem removed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
3 cup white or yellow hominy
2 cup canned pinto beans, rinsed (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
finely minced white onion
finely minced cilantro
finely shredded green or red cabbage
thinly sliced radishes
corn tortillas, warmed
- In a small (4qt) stock pot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped onion, carrot, jalapeno and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the cumin, oregano and dried chilies and cook for 1 minute more, until fragrant.
- Add the chicken broth and chicken breasts to the pot and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cover and gently simmer on low for 30 minutes, or until the chicken breast is cooked through and the carrots are tender.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the pot and transfer to a plate. Once they have cooled slightly, use your hands or a fork to shred them into large chunks. Set aside.
- Using a slotted spoon, remove all the solids from the broth (carrots, onions, jalapeno, garlic, dried chilies) and transfer to the carafe of a blender. Cover with just enough broth to make them easy to blend and then blend until very smooth. Returned the contents of the blender to the pot. Add the shredded chicken, hominy, and pinto beans (if using) to the pot as well and bring to a simmer. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top as desired with cabbage, onion, cilantro, avocado, radish, tortillas and freshly squeezed lime juice.
This recipe can be cut down to make less soup, but I love leftover pozole because the flavors only get better as they sit!