I gave my kids a choice one recent snowy morning: I had two pounds of thawed chicken cut into fajita strips. I wanted to make a big pot of something so that I could stock up the freezer as well as enjoy a comfort dinner that night.
“It’s either chili or pozole,” I told the two of them, based on what I had in the house. I figured I could combine the chicken with:
a) tomatoes and various types of beans (pinto, kidney, black) to make a thick southwestern chili. I usually make this with ground turkey, but today I wanted to use chicken.
or, b) chicken broth, a drained 28-oz. can of hominy (large corn kernels, sometimes called “corn nuts”), green chiles, dried oregano, and a dried ancho chiles to make a pozole.
I was surprised when my son voted for pozole over chili, which has traditionally been one of his favorites, but his little sister quickly followed suit. So I complied.
Pozole is a Pre-Columbian corn stew. In New Mexico, where I grew to love pozole while I was working in an art gallery in Santa Fe in the early 90s, pozole is heavy with green chiles and relies on hominy and a pork butt for the savory base.
For this day’s pozole, I based it on chicken rather than pork, and add lots more vegetables for a healthier, more well-rounded meal for my family.
Here’s the recipe for my delicious chicken pozole. Serve it with warmed tortillas, if you want. Happy cooking!
Olive oil for sauteing
2 lbs. chicken strips
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 qts. chicken broth
1-2 ancho chiles, destemmed and seeded
2 8-oz cans of diced green chiles
1 whole onion, trimmed and peeled
1 28-oz can hominy, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
6-12 mushrooms, sliced
1 large yellow squash or zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
16 oz. diced carrots, fresh or frozen
Heat a large soup pot on the stove. Cover the base with a coat of oli and add the chicken. Season the chicken with sea salt and black pepper as you lightly sear the chicken. Before the chicken is fully cooked, pour in the chicken broth and scrape the bottom to loosen any bits.
Add the chiles, including any chile juice from the cans, and place the onion into the stew whole.
Drain and rinse the hominy kernels and add to the pot along with oregano. Let stew at a low heat for an hour.
Then add the mushrooms, squash, and carrots to cook for an additional hour or so, until everything is tender. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve with warmed tortillas, slices of avocado, chopped cilantro, and/or rice. Feel free to freshen the stew with a squeeze of lemon or lime just before eating.