Try this quick 30-minute Mexican-inspired recipe, Pozole, complete with hominy, pulled pork, and loads of delicious toppings! While an authentic pozole can take several hours to make, this recipe can be on the table in 30 minutes or less!
If you aren’t familiar, pozole (or posole) is a traditional Mexican soup. It’s rich and brothy, made with hominy, pork, red chiles and garnished with loads of toppings like shredded cabbage or lettuce, tostada shells, onion, radishes, avocado, limes, salsa, etc. — the sky is the limit!
While this is particular recipe is not an authentic pozole (try this one from my friend Elise at Simply Recipes if you’re looking for something more authentic!), it’s one that can be on your table in 30 minutes or less. Which is a must-have for busy and chaotic weeknights (especially with the kiddos back in school and with busy schedules). This pozole is loaded with flavor and one of my kids’ favorites — they love piling their bowls high with toppings (especially tostada shells).
What Is Hominy?
Hominy is one of the main ingredients in this recipe and can be purchased at the grocery store, near other canned vegetables.
Hominy is corn, just not straight off the cob. It is whole kernels of dried field corn (maize) that have been through a process where the kernels are soaked in lye or lime solutions and then rinsed several times. This process removes the hulls and turns the inner kernels tender and plump. This not only improves the corn’s nutritional content, but also keeps the corn from sprouting during long storage (which was a big deal when corn harvests needed to last through winter).
The texture, smell, and flavor are different from corn — hominy kernels are chewy and puffy, with a flavor similar to what you get when eating grits.
The soup itself is intended to be fairly brothy since it gets loaded up with toppings. Pozole is all about the toppings — add your favorites and don’t skimp here!
Below is a list of common Pozole toppings. Our “must-haves”: tostada shells, lime, cilantro, pickled red onions, cotija, and lots of ripe avocados!
- Tostadashells: grab some at the store or make your own! (This bean tostadas recipe shares how to quickly make tostada shells). If you don’t have tostada shells, tortilla chips or tortilla strips work well too.
- Freshlime: This adds brightness and helps cut through the richness of the broth.
- Avocado: This adds a nice creaminess.
- Cilantro: Cilantro adds a bright and fresh citrusy flavor that again helps to cut through the richness.
- Shredded green cabbage or shredded romaine lettuce
- Thinly sliced radishes: These add a nice crunch!
- Diced white onions
- Sour cream: Lite or fat-free work fine here too!
- Pickled red onions: See the “quick tip” below for how to make your own “cheater” pickled red onions (they’re ready super fast)!
- Cheese: crumbled Cotija cheese or Queso Fresco are two of our favorites
How to make quick pickled red onions to add to Pozole: In a medium-sized bowl, combine 1 cup (75g) thinly sliced red onion, 2 tablespoons (28g) red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon fine salt and 1-1/2 teaspoons white sugar. Toss to coat; leave at room temperature and toss every 5 minutes or so while preparing the rest of the meal.
In order for this recipe to be ready in about 30 minutes, we rely on a big shortcut: already cooked and seasoned pork.
Our favorite in Pozole is Del Real Foods Carnitas — it is great in this soup and makes overall prep time a cinch!
- Use fire-roasted diced green chiles — They add layers of flavor without any additional work on your end!
- Be sure to use chili powder — not to be confused with chilli powder which is very hot. We’re using American chili powder (I use McCormick which is very mild).
- Take your time sautéing the tomato paste and seasoning — this adds complexity to the flavor of the soup.
- Use high-quality chicken stock for the best flavor and richness — Swanson® is our favorite (not sponsored).
- As written, this Pozole is fairly mild (my kids ate and loved it). To keep it mild be sure to use McCormick® chili powder! For more heat, add in some cayenne pepper with the other spices (start with 1/4 teaspoon).
Pozole (also written posole) comes from Nahuatl, the Uto-Aztecan language. Nahuatl is one of 68 indigenous languages recognized by the Mexican government; with around 2 million speakers, it is the second most commonly spoken language in Mexico after Spanish. (source: Wikipedia)
- How to reheat: This soup (without any toppings) stores nicely in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat, add the soup to a small pot and heat over low heat until warmed to desired preference. Or reheat in the microwave (make sure to cover it so it doesn’t splatter!)
- Freezing: Pozole (without any toppings) will freeze well for up to 3 months. Here are some best methods for thawing frozen soup.
More soup recipes to love:
- Chicken Corn Chowdermade in the slow cooker
- Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soupwith green enchilada sauce
- Chicken Gnocchi SoupOlive Garden copycat recipe
- Crockpot White Chicken Chiliwith fire-roasted diced green chiles
- Healthy Chicken Tortilla Soupwith quinoa
- 2tablespoonsolive oil,divided
- 1-1/2cupsfinely diced red onion(1 large onion)
- 1tablespoonminced garlic(~4 cloves)
- 2tablespoonsall-purpose flour
- 2tablespoonschili powderNote 1
- 1/2teaspoon each:ground cumin, dried oregano, garlic powder
- 5tablespoons tomato paste
- Fine sea salt & pepper
- 5cupsgood chicken stock,(like Swanson) separated use
- 1can (4 oz.)fire-roasted mild diced green chiles
- 1can (15.5 oz.)golden hominy,drained and rinsed
- 1can (15.5 oz.)pinto beans,drained and rinsed
- 1-1/2cupspre-cooked shredded porkNote 2
- 1bay leaf
- Optional finishing touches: 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1/4 cup finely diced cilantro
- Toppings: Queso fresca or cotija, Pickled red onions, additional chopped cilantro, diced ripe avocados, quartered limes, thinly sliced radishes, tostada shells or tortilla chips/stripsNote 3
PREP: Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. If using the packaged and pre-cooked pork, remove it from packaging and microwave for 90 seconds. Remove and set aside to cool, measure out 1-1/2 cups, remove fat/gristle, and set aside.
SOUP BASE: Add 1 tablespoon oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add in onion and sauté until tender and transparent, about 5-8 minutes. Add in the garlic and sauté for 30 more seconds. Add in the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Then add in the seasonings: chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and salt/pepper to taste (I add 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt & 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Add in the tomato paste. Continue to cook, stirring constantly for 3-4 more minutes or until deeply fragrant. (This is supposed to be dry! Keep stirring so it doesn’t burn. If anything is burning, lower the heat slightly or add a small splash of water). Don’t rush this — this process adds loads of flavor!
FINISHINGSOUP: While stirring constantly, gradually add in 2 cups of chicken stock. Switch to a whisk and whisk until mixture is smooth and thickens, about 3-4 minutes. The mixture should start to slightly bubble at the edges as it thickens. Once this happens, add in the undrained green chiles, drained and rinsed hominy, pinto beans, and pork (briefly shredded — see note 2). Add in the bay leaf and remaining 3 cups chicken stock. Mix to combine, increase heat to high until soup is simmering, and then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 10 minutes or until beans and pork are fully heated. If desired, add in cilantro and lime and mix through. Taste and adjust salt/pepper to personal preference — flavor should be rich!
TOPPINGS: While the soup is simmering, prepare the toppings. Remove soup from heat and ladle into bowls. Add desired toppings to individual bowls and enjoy immediately.
Note 2: Pork: In order for this recipe to be ready in about 30 minutes or less, we rely on a big shortcut: already cooked and seasoned pork. Our favorite in this Pozole is Del Real Foods Carnitas — it is seasoned and tender, making it a delicious addition to this soup and making overall prep time a cinch! I microwave it for 1 min and 30 seconds up to 2 mins then give it a quick shred (removing and discarding fat) with forks before measuring and then adding it in.
Note 3: Toppings: Pozole is all about the toppings! Below are some common Pozole toppings. Our «must-haves»: tostada shells, lime, cilantro, pickled red onions, cotija, and lots of ripe avocados! Here is how to make quick pickled red onions: In a medium-sized bowl, combine 1 cup (75g) thinly sliced red onion, 2 tablespoons (28g) red wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon fine salt and 1-1/2 teaspoons white sugar. Toss to coat; leave at room temperature and toss every 5 minutes or so while preparing the rest of the soup.
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