I’ve always had a cookbook buying problem. But since becoming a professional food writer, that cookbook buying problem turned into a cookbook receiving problem.
I get unsolicited packages all year long containing cookbooks from various publishing houses that have me on their PR mailing lists. Yes, folks. This is known as a good problem to have.
Except it’s made me overthink spending money on the cookbooks that I actually want. Such was the case with Alison Roman’s Dining In. I managed to survive the cookies that broke the internet unscathed. Even after my friend posted a gluten-free version of them that turned my drool dial to the max. But when another friend told me about her version of Mexican pozole rojo, I knew that no lack of shelf space could justify a pass. I just had to have it.
Needless to say, her pork stew with red chiles was the first thing I made, and it was well worth the $30 and then some.
The stew is kind of a mashup of red and green pork posole since it uses dried guajillo chiles as the flavor base of the broth (red) but then is bulked up with whole tomatillos (green). I went even further with the hybrid and added a pint of cherry tomatoes to the mix for extra acidity.
Other than the dried chiles, the rest of the ingredient list was fairly simple and straightforward. It’s also very hands off. Per her instructions, you will have to check the pot occasionally, if only because your house will smell so damn good it will be impossible not to. She speaks the TRUTH.
I ended up throwing this pork posole recipe in the slow cooker on high for 4 hours partially covered because I had to run to a baby shower, since now that I no longer go to weddings on weekends, this is all I do instead. The resulting pork soup was the perfect intermediate seasonal treat. It’s warm enough for chilly spring nights, but can feel fresh when piled with raw Napa cabbage, fresh cilantro and lime wedges.
Lastly, I didn’t make my version grain-free for health reasons, but because the four grocery stores I tried in my 10-block radius didn’t have hominy! The end result was still delicious, but you can’t really call this soup posole without the hominy. So if you don’t want a bastardized paleo version, definitely add a can of it to the stew along with the tomatillos.
Read on for this hybrid Mexican pozole rojo verde. And please tell me…what other newish cookbooks should I save room on my shelf for? Would love to know your favorites in the comments!
With health and hedonism,
Pork Soup with Red Chiles (Faux Pork Posole)
- 6 large guajillo or New Mexican chiles about 2 ounces (see note)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 large shallot roughly chopped
- Sea salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 pound tomatillos quartered
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes quartered
- 1 can hominy for a traditional (non-paleo) version
- 1 quart chicken stock or water
- 2 limes quartered
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- In a large Dutch oven or lidded saucepan, heat the chiles over a medium-high flame. Toast the chiles in the dry pan shaking the pan occasionally for 5 minutes. Remove the chiles to a work surface. Once cool enough to touch, cut the tops off with kitchen shears and shake out the seeds. Discard the tops and seeds.
- Place the remaining chiles in a heat-proof bowl and cover with 3 cups boiling water. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the soaked chiles to a blender along with the garlic, shallot and 1/2 cup chile water (save the remaining chile water). Puree until smooth.
- Return the Dutch oven or saucepan to high heat and warm the oil. Season the pork generously with salt and the cumin. Once hot, add the pork in an even layer. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Carefully add the chile puree and toss to combine, scrapping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3 minutes, until thickened. Add the tomatillos, cherry tomatoes, remaining chile water, hominy (if using), an additional 4 cups chicken stock or water, and 2 teaspoons sea salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and cook for another 2 hours, or until the pork is falling apart tender. (Alternatively you can transfer to a slow cooker and cook for 4 hours partially covered on high).
- Add the juice of one lime to the broth and serve the remaining in the side. Divide the pozole between 4 bowls and top with the cabbage and cilantro.