A few months after moving to Texas I learned how to make a decent Pozole Rojo soup, an accomplishment that has earned me massive brownie points! While looking for soup recipes online, I kept stumbling upon Pozole Verde soup, which I had never tasted, and obviously never made.
But after living in Houston for all of two weeks, I found it on the menu at a super busy lunch spot not far from home. So… I had to order it, right? And I did, and it was great, and now I’m a real pozole fan!
As best I can tell, all pozole soup recipes must have hominy included, because that is what the word actually means. Besides including hominy, which give a nice bite to the stew, it appears that in both the red and green variety that it is important to cook your vegetables and aromatics, and then make a paste or salsa from that.
That paste then gets added back to the pan, and the stew is finished in a large dutch oven. In my pozole rojo recipe, the paste is simply rehydrating the dried peppers with warm water and then blending until completely liquefied. But the process is a bit different with this chicken verde version.
Using only one pot, a large dutch oven, it is possible to get this stew started and finished inside of two hours, but you’ll end up using a few other bowls and appliances, so while I may call it a one pot dish, that’s a bit misleading.
I start with a dry pan and quickly roast some pumpkin seeds before setting them to the side. Next the chicken goes in, and my primary goal here is to develop some fond on the bottom of the pan, so crispy golden nuggets of goodness. And then we get to the kinda weird step that you don’t see in many other recipes.
So next all of the vegetables go in, all of your onion and peppers, along with the tomatillos, and cook long enough until they start to get some color on them, maybe 10 minutes are so. Again, we are simply trying to develop some depth and flavor here. Once they have browned a bit, add all of the chicken stock and let simmer for 30 minutes.
At this point you’ll want to have a large sieve set over a large bowl. After simmering the vegetables, you should pour the entire pot into the sieve, letting the chicken stock run through into the bowl underneath. Take all of those cooked peppers and onions and place into a high power blender or Vitamix and the toasted pumpkin seeds, along with a cup of chicken stock if needed to completely blend.
This green mixture is now the base of your pozole verde, and your best bet is to simply pour it back into the already heated dutch oven. The paste might sizzle and pop when you pour it back in, but that is ok, just more flavor to savor!
Now just add the chicken, that you’ve shredded or cut into small pieces while the vegetables were cooking and add the hominy and that’s it! Let it simmer for another 30-60 minutes and you’re all done! I can be a slow cook, so this entire recipe sometimes takes me close to 3 hours, but if I’m on top of it and paying attention, I can trim the time down to two hours or so, pretty doable!
- 3 ounces pumpkin seeds
- 2 to 2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 pound tomatillos
- 1 large white onion, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper, stems and seeds removed, roughly chopped
- 1 poblano pepper, stems and seeds removed, roughly chopped
- 1 Anaheim pepper, stems and seeds removed, roughly chopped
- several sprigs cilantro
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 28 oz can white hominy
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- - Garnishes
- diced avocado
- diced radish
- diced jalapeno pepper
- chopped cilantro
- finely diced onion
- heat large dutch oven on stove over medium head and add pumpkin seeds to the dry pan and let toast until they start browning and popping, remove and set aside
- add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter to the pre-heated pan, and brown chicken thighs on both sides until crusty and golden brown, remove and set aside
- add chopped onion, chopped peppers, cilantro, and cleaned and halved tomatillos and stir, scrapping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan from the chicken
- when onions and tomatillos start to brown nicely, add oregeno and chicken stock and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes
- while soup is simmering, cut chicken into small bit sized pieces, but DO NOT add back to the pot yet
- pour stock and cooked vegetables through large strainer set over a bowl, set stock aside
- place vegetables in Vitamix or blender along with pumpkin seeds, and blend on high until it turns into a paste
- pour green paste back into pre-heated dutch oven, and let bubble and spatter for a few minutes
- add chicken stock back to paste, add chicken and hominy
- simmer for another hour or so, cooking chicken through and letting reduce until desired thickness
- serve with garnishes if desired
Generating a nutritional panel for this pozole verde soup recipe was a bit easier than most, probably because the biggest factors driving the calorie count are such well known ingredients, such as chicken thighs and chicken stock. The peppers, which may tend to vary in size from day to day or store to store, don’t really add too much to this panel even though they are the foundation of the flavor for the stew. The biggest variable here is how large a serving you go through at each sitting. I guessed that I could serve up eight bowls without being embarrassed about how small each one was, but I’m sure on some nights if no one was looking and I was eating by myself, I might very well put away two full bowls all on my own.