Pozole is an infinitely practical dish: it’s been know to cure Sunday morning hangovers, warm wind-chilled bodies, and has the ability to taste even better after spending an entire day in the fridge. The key ingredient to making pozole, or any stew worth its salt, is to show a little T.L.C. and cook it slow and low. At Westwood’s Casa Azul chef Vicente Del Rio skips any potential short cuts and slowly simmers his pork butt for several hours on end after first browning it off, ensuring that the meaty juices become sealed into the meat. Add some hominy, oversized corn kernels that resemble pale garbanzo beans, and you’ve got yourself a stew. The best part of pozole, though, is the toppings; make sure to provide guests with bowls of onions, radishes, cilantro, limes and tortillas or tostadas for dipping. Mixing and matching to create colorful bowls can turn an ordinary meal into a fun dinner party.
• 1 head garlic
• 3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork cushion, cut into 3 or 4 pieces
• 3 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 14 cups water
• 4 cups chicken stock
• 1 onion, sliced and 1 onion, chopped
• 6-ounce guajillo chiles, seeded and stemmed
• 2 (30-ounce) cans white hominy
• 1 teaspoon Mexican Oregano
• Diced lettuce, for serving
• Julienne radishes, for serving
• Chopped red onions, for serving
• Sour cream, for serving
• Tostadas , for serving
• Lime wedges, for serving
• Red chili flakes, for serving
Peel garlic cloves, reserve 2 cloves for the chile sauce. Slice remaining garlic.
Season the pork with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper.
In an 8 quart pot over medium high heat, brown the pork on all sides. Add the sliced garlic, sliced onion, 10 cups of the water and chicken stock. Bring up to a boil. Skim off any foam that may rise to the surface. Turn the heat down and gently simmer the pork, covered, until very tender, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
While pork is simmering, toast the guajillo chiles in a pan over medium-high heat. Turn the chiles several times, cooking until they are pliable and fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add 2 cups of the remaining water; bring to a boil, turn off and let stand covered for 20 to 25 minutes.
In a blender, combine the chiles, the soaking liquid, chopped onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the remaining salt and puree until smooth. Strain through a sieve to remove any skins or seeds. Set aside.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board and shred the meat.
Rinse and drain the hominy. Return the pork to the broth; add the hominy, 1/4 cup of the chile sauce (or more to taste), oregano, remaining teaspoon of salt, and remaining water if necessary.Simmer the Pozole for 30 minutes longer. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
The pozole should look hearty but be brothy enough to be thought of as a soup or brothy stew.
Serve the pozole with bowls of the accompaniments for guests to add to their taste.