It barely feels like winter has kicked in, but here we are waving goodbye to another National Soup Month. Lucky for us, Super Bowl is just a few days away so we can keep rocking the soup vibe without shame. This Posole Verde is so much more than a soup, perhaps a stew, and has all the personal choice condiments that are mandatory for serving a crowd. You could make this vegan by leaving out the pork (must you?) and swapping the stock. But the slow cooking required to pop the posole begs for pork to be front and center and turning into delicate strands, filling every bite.
Posole or Pozole?
I’m talking POSOLE, people!! Or is it POZOLE? It’s hominy or giant puffed-up corn. I first ran into posole while foodstyling a Today Show segment for Williams-Sonoma. Interesting that it was a first, because I grew up just down the street from Fuhrer Ford Mills, a hominy processing plant. As a result, our house always smelled of popped corn (kind of yummy), and there was a constant coat of silt on every surface (kind of crummy). But despite formative years in corn country, this most definitely was never ever on our table.
Pozole is the traditional Mexican spelling, though more commonly spelled posole here north of the border. Maize (maíz) was a sacred plant for the Aztecs and it was often a part of celebrations. To get from maize, to hominy or posole, the dried corn must be slaked with lime to create an alkali solution, called nixtamalization. This process loosens the hulls, makes them soft like beans, and then “pumps you up!” Remember Hans and Franz on SNL??? The lime used here is not from fresh citrus; rather, it is a food-grade calcium hydroxide. If you have ever turned cucumbers to pickles, perhaps you used “pickling lime” to crisp up the vegetables before canning. Luckily for us, by the time you find dried white corn on the shelves (in the dried bean section), this has already been done and is ready for use in soups and stews.
Another benefit of cooking or soaking in slaked lime and ash (an alkaline process) is that the nutritional value is bumped up (making it niacin-rich), it becomes easier to grind (resulting in masa, the main ingredient in tamales), and flavor and aroma are improved. In addition to dried posole – sometimes labeled as Giant White Corn or Maíz Mote Pelado – you might see canned hominy at your store. It’s a much faster solution, but to my taste NOT nearly the no-brainer substitution as canned-for-dried beans. The texture of posole prepared from dried kernels is unlike anything else – chewy, toothy, satisfying – and is totally lost in the canning process. Canned hominy is much like the soft texture of a canned bean and tastes like disappointment. It’s slightly metallic and oh so mushy. I’m so keen on dried posole texture that I have never made the substitution since I once sadly tried canned.
The traditional Mexican preparations for posole are blanco, rojo or verde. The first (blanco) is unadorned and has no green or red ingredients added, and the latter two rely on chilis (rojo), such as Guajillo or Ancho, or tomatillos, lime, cilantro and jalapenos (verde), as I am sharing here. Adding the green things at the very end of your simmering keeps them from overcooking, leaving the flavor bright and a bit spicy.
Preparing the Posole
If I have the time, I like to prepare the posole the same way I would prepare dried beans. Rinse the posole under cold water, and transfer to a stockpot. Cover with 1-inch of water, bring to boil, and turn off the heat. Let the posole soak overnight. When ready to use, drain and rinse again. If you are pressed for time, you can skip this step or just shorten it to the time you prep the remaining ingredients.
The verde recipe I share here calls for a late stage addition of a puree of lime juice, jalapenos, cilantro (stems and all) and tomatillos. It kicks up the flavor profile like 100000%. This is the kind of dish you can just plop on a back burner and walk away, passing every hour or so to check on the liquid level and adding more stock, as needed. I am not an instant pot or slow cooker “cooker”, but I bet/know in my heart they would drastically reduce the time. I happen to have a few followers who are, and I’m counting on you to comment below. The big reveal comes when the posole starts to pop and look like a flower or popcorn, depending on your vision. I’ll admit it – it can take from 3 to 5 hours to pop (longer if the dried corn has been around for years and if you skip the soaking step), but it’s very low maintenance and for me a bit satisfying to have something cooking for the afternoon that really doesn’t cry out for attention. It’s like I’m cooking, and I’m not. Once it’s getting close, just toss the lime juice et al. in the processor, and give it a whirl. Add this to the pot and cook a few minutes more.
In Mexico, this dish is usually served with an array of toppings, including limes, cheese, sour cream, avocados, and radishes. Who doesn’t love to dose their own dinner? All those garnishes make it the perfect football afternoon kind of centerpiece. Add a few chips or warm tortillas, maybe a big salad or some cornbread….. and a nice frosty beer. You will not be sorry!
If you have a big enough pot – or want to use two – double up on the recipe. It freezes really well and then you will have a souvenir of the day you turned your kitchen into the most fragrant cantina in town. I added some notes below on how best to freeze. And while you are scrolling down, check the bottom of the post for some delicious additions to your soup repertoire.Print
Posole Verde for the Super Bowl Win!
- Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 quarts, serves 12 1x
Super Bowl is just a few days away so we can keep rocking the soup vibe without shame. This Posole Verde is so much more than a soup, perhaps a stew, and has all the personal choice condiments that are mandatory for serving a crowd. Put down a feast of toppings, a crunchy salad, and some cornbread, and sit back and watch the half-time show!
- 1 pound dried posole, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 1/2 pounds pork loin, trimmed of fat and cut into 1″ cubes (about 3 1/4 pounds pre-trim)
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4–5 quarts chicken broth
- 1 pound tomatillos, husked removed and rinsed (about 10 medium)
- 2 jalapenos, stems removed and sliced in half
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems and leaves (reserve a few sprigs for toppings)
- Juice of 2–3 limes
- Sour cream
- Lime wedges
- Grated Monterrey Jack
- Sliced jalapeno
- Sliced radishes
- Cilantro sprigs
The night before, prep the posole:
Rinse the posole and transfer to a stockpot, covering with 1-inch of water. Bring to boil and turn off the heat. Let the posole soak overnight. When ready to use, drain and rinse again.
To make posole:
Heat oil over high heat in an 8-quart stockpot. Add pork, cumin, salt, and pepper. Sauté until pork is browned, about 10 minutes.
Add onion and garlic, and cook until softened and excess liquid has cooked off, about 6–8 minutes. Add soaked posole and stir to combine. Add 2 quarts of chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check the liquid and when getting low, add another quart of stock. I tend to add the third quart around 90 minutes and the 4th quart around 3 hours. Altogether, this will simmer a total of 3, 4 or maybe even 5 hours. It will depend in part on the age and dryness of the dried product. To be safe, give yourself enough time for a 5-hour simmer.
The pork will fall apart and shred, and you will know the posole is done when the posole kernels have popped. The kernels will puff and pop, and look a bit like a flower (if you squint and have been hitting the cerveza during the last five hours). They burst open joyfully as if they want to become popcorn! Taste them periodically for doneness. Before they “blossom”, they will be quite starchy, fiber-full, and too chewy. Once sufficiently stewed, they will remain a bit chewy and toothy, but not woody.
Thirty minutes before the end:
When the kernels are starting to pop and getting close to the desired texture, toss the tomatillos, jalapenos, cilantro and lime juice into a food processor and puree. Add to stockpot and simmer for the final 30 minutes until the posole is tender. 30 minutes is plenty of time to simmer for this last step, but see note below.
Pressed for time? You can skip the soaking stage, or reduce it to the prep time for the rest of your chopping. That will likely lengthen the cooking time however.
Never add an acidic ingredient when cooking beans, or in this case, posole until the end. The acid binds with the outer structure and toughen it ups. No amount of additional cooking time will allow it to break down. Additionally, you want the fresh vibrant flavor from the green ingredients, which will dissipate if added too early in the cooking process.
If you are serving the posole later: Add the green mixture as you take the stew off the heat. The hot stew will cook sufficient “heat” out of these spicy and tart ingredients. To reheat, I also use some of that 5th quart to add to the pan. The posole will have continued to soak up broth as it sits in the refrigerator overnight, and you will need to loosen it a little with more stock.
Serve with bowls of the toppings, a crunchy salad and some cornbread!
Freezing? This stew is a fantastic freezer staple, but make sure to cool completely before transferring to freezer containers. I called for a 5th quart of stock so that you can top off the stew with liquid. Since there are a lot of chunky pieces, you want to make sure that they are all submerged in liquid before freezing.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Category: soup
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: posole, posole verde
It’s #NationalSoupMonth – so shout it out!
Here are some other ab-del (absolutely delicious) soups for your winter blues.
- Kicked Up Kick Off Chili
- CaribBean One Pot Wonder
- Three Onion Soup with Parmesan Prosciutto Crust
- One Pot Butternut Squash Chili
- Roasted Blueberry Mulligatawny Soup
- Hearty, Healthy Vegetable Soup
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Katy, this sounds amazing and hearty…just what we need right about now in Michigan. Thanks for sharing your recipe and hints! I can’t wait to get to get cookin!
Let us know – you will love it! Soul-soothing and so satisfying!!
Hey Katy! What would you suggest if I wanted to make this vegetarian friendly? Just take out the pork? Or add something? Thanks for helping me out with the boyfriend!!!
Good question!You could definitely just take out the pork, but think it will miss a bit of the texture and also creaminess that comes from the pork starting to shred. What about adding in a puree of white beans (canned beans, rinsed, drained and pureed)? One small can would be plenty – I’d add the spices with the onion and garlic, then the puree toward the end. You could puree one can, then add 1/4 cup at a time til you reach desired consistency. I think you might have had this on one New Year’s visit, no?
Soup sounds fantastic. Will try my hand at it when I get a break from crazy work schedule.
Hey Carolyn, Great to see you here on the blog! Thanks for the comment. You will L.U.V. this soup. And glad you are working like a fiend.
Just the soup for my SOUPer Bowl party. Since I’ll be out of town until the day of the game is it possible to make the soup 3 days before serving? Will it change the texture of the pasole? Should it be refrigerated or frozen?
It should definitely be refrigerated:) and it will keep well for three days. You may want to have some extra stock on hand because the posole will soak up a bit of the liquid as it sits in the fridge. I really only recommend the dried posole for this and it won’t get too soggy sitting in the fridge for 3 days. Have some extra lime juice on hand too, since acid tends to evaporate. Or just have plenty of lime wedges in your toppings selection so people can customize to personal tastes. If it’s more than three days in advance, I would freeze. I often make a double batch anyway and freeze half. It’s great to have on hand!
I was recently introduced to pozole here in Mérida, Mexico and fell in love with it. Only they use pork head instead of pork loin. Not sure how available that is up there.
I love that I got two comments today from Mexico and both use hog head! It’s farmland around here so bet I could get it…..if I wanted. It makes perfect sense because it’s a long-cooking, celebratory dish…so use a part that requires that! My other comment suggested pork shoulder. It’s true it should not be a fancy cut! So glad you ❤️❤️❤️Love it
In Veracruz this is a Christmas dish! I luv luv luv this dish. The green and red (they use radish as a topping) is perfect for the season. And, they also use the head. I found a butcher who was glad to get me one up here – actually a half head is plenty. I cooked it down ahead (no pun intended!) of time and separated the very yummy meat from other interesting but somewhat inedible looking parts. Strained and skimmed the fat off once cooled, and then proceeded with a similar recipe as yours, Katy!! It was very interesting, the broth was very gelatinous and tasty. Now in Puebla they use the shoulder. I just might try that next time!!!
Cath – two comments from Mexico and both say use hog head! I think shoulder is the way to go (assuming you don’t want to deal with “head hunting” and “somewhat inedible looking parts”. It SHOULD be a cheaper cut than loin! Thanks for weighing in!
Looks Da-Lish KT❣️
Neener’s gonna give a stir ?
Neener! So glad you are givin’ it a stir! Unless you are lying on Facebook, looks like you made it to a second pot! You go girl! #squadgoals
Love this recipe! and as you know love the green salsa.
Did not know about posole but love that kind of broad flat bean and taste description.
For lack of certain key ingredients in this northern French region, I made improv chili powder and a white bean chili inspired by your recipe. The tomatillo-cilantro green salsa is a great recipe, also for pork shoulder.
Going to have to get you some posole to cook up in France. Might be a cultural first. It brings the same kind of culinary joy as your Tuscan bean verde. Speaking of which, I might have to share that recipe right here!!