Posole Rojo

Although the group of soups and stews known as posole are delicious year round, for me they are a Halloween tradition, though I sometimes also repeat the feast on New Year's Eve, if I'm feeding a big group. In this photo, you see my Posole Rojo, with a simple variation: The addition of Chorizo Meatballs.

There are many variations of posole, a Mexican stew that always includes hominy–a type of corn known as posole in Spanish. My favorite versions include pork, seafood, or simply poblano chiles. If you are one of the many people who frequently substitute chicken when pork is called for, be sure to use dark meat, not breast meat. Breast meat takes on an unpleasant flavor and texture when it undergoes lengthy cooking. Some people favor this version, with its layer of tomatoey flavors and a depth contributed by the dried chiles, others prefer the tangy Posole Verde, which you can read here. Please don’t be put off by the long ingredient list. The last eight ingredients are simply condiments and the first three are for cooking the meat. It is not a complicated recipe.

  • Serves 10 - 12
  • Cook Time: 5 Hours


  • 4 pounds pork shoulder or butt
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle powder
  • 3 to 4 dried ancho or pasilla chiles
  • Hot water
  • 3 tablespoons lard or olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 6 serranos, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • Black pepper in a mill
  • 6 cups homemade chicken stock or broth
  • 6 cups minced fresh tomatoes2 28-ounce cans hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 3 to 4 poblanos, roasted, peeled, seeded, and cut into medium julienne
  • 1/2 medium cabbage, shredded
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) grated Monterey Jack or similar cheese
  • 2 firm-ripe avocados, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 white onion, cut into small dice
  • 2 limes, cut in wedges
  • 24 corn tortillas, hot
  • Bottled Mexican-style hot sauce


  1. Set the pork on a clean work surface. In a small bowl, combine the 2 tablespoons kosher salt with the chipotle powder and rub the mixture into the pork. Set the pork in a clay cooker or other ovenproof container, add ½-inch of water, set on the middle rack of the oven and cover with the pan's lid or aluminum foil. Turn the heat to 250 degrees and cook until the meat is very tender, about 4 to 5 hours. (This can be done a day in advance.)

  2. To finish the pozole, put the dried chiles in a small bowl, cover with hot water and let rest 30 minutes. Pour off the water and pat the chiles dry. Remove the stems and seed cores, cut each chile open and use the dull side of a large knife to scrape the dried flesh off the skin. Discard the skin, stems and seed cores. Set the chile paste aside briefly.

  3. Set a large soup pot over medium heat, add the lard or olive oil and, when hot, add the onion and sauté until limp and fragrant, about 15 minutes; do not let the onion brown. Add a third of the serranos and all of the garlic, sauté 2 minutes more and stir in the oregano. Season with salt and several turns of black pepper.
    Stir the chile paste into the aromatics, add the chicken stock and tomatoes and stir well. Add the hominy, stir and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

  4. Set the pork on a clean work surface and tip the cooking liquid into a glass container. Skim off and discard the fat and pour the cooking liquid into the soup. Use a large knife or cleaver to hack the meat into small pieces, stir into the soup, add the poblanos and simmer very gently for 30 minutes.

  5. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.

  6. To serve, arrange the condiments, including the remaining serranos, on a large platter, grouping each ingredient together into a little pile. Wrap the hot tortillas in warm tea towels. Ladle the posole into wide soup plates and serve right away, with the condiments on the table so that each guest can add whatever they like.

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