Pozole Rojo, or Mexican Pork and Hominy Stew, is a comforting, brothy soup filled with tender pork and hominy, and is flavored with a homemade red chile sauce. Best served with a variety of garnishes including shredded cabbage or lettuce, sliced radishes, onion, lime, and cilantro.
If you love soups and stews that burst with flavor, come filled with melt-in-your-mouth chunks of pork and welcome an array of toppings, then you are going to love pozole!
What is Pozole
Pozole is a classic Mexican soup or stew made from hominy (dried corn kernels) and meat (typically pork) and is garnished with shredded lettuce or cabbage, radishes, onion, cilantro, and limes. It is hearty and comforting – perfect for cooler fall and winter months.
Pozole Rojo (red posole) is typically made with pork and a red sauce made from red chiles (Dried Ancho Chiles, Dried Guajillo Chiles, and Dried Arbol Chiles). Pozole Verde (green posole), on the other hand, is most commonly made with chicken and green chiles like tomatillos.
Here in the states we most commonly make posole with canned hominy as it’s readily available at most grocery stores and it is easier to cook. If you prefer to cook pozole with dried hominy, you must first soak the dried hominy in water overnight and cook it before it is ready to be added to your recipe.
Pozole Rojo Recipe Tips
- This recipe requires whole dried chilies. Substituting with ground chili powder is not recommended.
- Pozole takes about 3 hours to make. It requires at least one hour of active hands-on cooking time and at least a couple more for everything to simmer and cook. It sounds like hard work, but overall the recipe is very easy to make.
- When stored in the refrigerator, leftovers are great for up to 5 days. You can also freeze leftover pozole (just remember to hold off on adding the topping until just before serving).
- For an even more flavorful broth, replace up to half of the water used to cook the pork with low-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock or add pork bones (neck, hock, or feet bones), an extra addition that I highly recommend. Simply discard the bones at the same time you discard the onion and garlic.
How to Make Pozole
1. Cut the pork into large chunks or sections. Cutting through bone can be extremely challenging, so ask your butcher to do this for you if you plan to purchase bone-in pork.
2. Cook the pork and make your stock. Add the pork, garlic, salt, and onion to a large stockpot. Cover with 4 quarts of cold water (approximately 16 cups). Bring to a boil over high heat before covering and reducing to a simmer. Simmer for approximately 2 hours.
3. Reconstitute the chilies. As the pork simmers, you’ll want to start working on the homemade chili sauce. Remove the stems, seeds, and veins from the chilis and discard. Add the dried chilies, onion, and garlic to a pot and cover with boiling water. Allow the chilies to reconstitute (soften) for approximately 15 minutes.
How Spicy is Pozole?
In general, Pozole Rojo is pretty mild. If you prefer a little heat, add a few (or more) Dried Arbol Chiles. I highly recommend wearing gloves if you plan to remove the seeds or take extra care not to touch your eyes for some time after.
4. Transfer the softened chilies, onion, garlic cloves, and about 2 cups of soaking liquid to a high-speed blender. Puree until smooth then strain the chili sauce through a fine-mesh strainer.
5. Cook the strained red chili sauce in a few tablespoons of olive oil for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
6. Once the pork has finished cooking, remove the pork from the pot and carefully shred it with your fingers or cut it into smaller chunks. Discard any bones. Strain the remaining broth into your largest stockpot or Dutch oven (discarding the garlic and onions).
7. Return the pork back to the broth, add the bay leaves and the hominy. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low then carefully stir in the red chili sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes.
8. Season with additional salt, to taste. Ladle into a large bowl and serve with all of your favorite garnishes.
What to Serve with Pozole
The most common and traditional garnishes include:
- Shredded cabbage or lettuce
- Chopped onion
- Sliced radishes
- Fresh lime juice
- Corn tortillas
More Mexican Recipes to Try Next,
Have you tried making this Pozole Rojo (Red Posole) Recipe?
Tell me about it in the comments below! I always love to hear your thoughts. And tag me #theforkedspoon on Instagram if you’ve made any of my recipes, I always love to see what you’re cooking in the kitchen.
Pozole Rojo (Red Posole) Recipe
For the Pork and Soup
- 5 pounds pork shoulder (Boston Butt) - best with bone and well-marbled with fat, cut into large 2-inch cubes
- 1 whole head garlic
- 1 white onion - quartered
- 4 quarts cold water
- 3 teaspoon salt - divided, plus more to taste
- 3 (25 ounce) cans Hominy
- 3 bay leaves
For the Red Chili Sauce
- 2 oz dried ancho chili
- 2 oz dried guajillo chili
- 4-8 chiles de arbol - optional, if you want a spicier broth
- 5 cloves garlic - peeled
- 1 white onion - peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Thinly shredded cabbage - highly recommended
- Diced white onion - recommended
- Chopped cilantro - recommended
- Lime wedges
- Sliced radish
- Tostada shells
Pork and Pork Broth
- Optional: Brown the pork in a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large skillet, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Work in batches, not to crowd the pan.
- Transfer the pork, 1 whole head of smashed garlic (no need to peel), roughly chopped white onion, and salt in a large pot. Cover with 4 quarts of cold water (approximately 16 cups).
- Bring to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for approximately 2 hours.
- Once the pork has finished cooking, use kitchen tongs to remove the large pork chunks to a plate or large cutting board. Shred or cut the pork into smaller, bite-size pieces.
- Meanwhile, strain the homemade pork broth into a separate large stockpot or Dutch oven. Discard the garlic and onions.
For the Red Chili Sauce
- As the pork simmers and cooks, start working on the chile sauce.
- Remove the stems, seeds, and veins from the chilis and discard. If you are adding Arbol chilis, you may want to wear gloves or take extra care not to touch your eyes for some time after.
- Transfer the chilis, garlic, and onion to a medium saucepan and cover with boiling water. Cover with a lid and allow the chilies to reconstitute for about 15 minutes. After about 15 minutes, the chilies should be soft and swelled with water.
- Transfer the chilies, onion, garlic, oregano, and approximately 2 cups of soaking liquid to a large blender or food processor. Blend until smooth (about 1-2 minutes). If your sauce is quite thick, add additional soaking liquid.
- Strain the pureed chili sauce through a fine-mesh strainer. You will need to use the back of a spoon or a spatula to help press it through. Gently tapping the strainer also helps.
- Cook the sauce in a saucepot with 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring often to prevent it from burning.
- In your largest stockpot or Dutch oven combine the strained pork broth, pork, bay leaves, and drained plus rinsed hominy. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Stir in the red chili sauce.
- Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Season with additional salt, to taste.
- Serve garnished with all of your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
- For an even more flavorful broth, replace up to half of the water used to cook the pork with low-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock. You could also add pork bones (neck, hock, or feet bones), an extra addition that I highly recommend as the pork broth is an essential component to this recipe. Simply discard the bones at the same time you discard the onion and garlic.
- You may substitute chicken for pork. I recommend bone-in skin-on chicken thighs as they give the best flavor. Be sure to reduce the total cooking time to 1 hour for the chicken and broth.
- You can find the dried chiles in the Mexican aisle or in the spice section at the grocery store or online:
- Nutritional information does not include any of the optional garnishes.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)