The pozole, one of the masterpieces of Mexican cuisine

28/10/2020

The pozole recipe comes from pre-Hispanic times, so its current recipe is a mix of Mexican, European and Asian ingredients. In pre-Columbian times it was made from the meat of an animal that was raised by the indigenous people as a source of meat.

It is erroneously thought that this animal is a dog named Xoloitzcuintle. These typical dogs of the Mexica cuisine were called itzcuintli and, given the similarity with the word Xoloitzcuintli, it is believed that the latter was consumed. However, what was actually consumed was common tepezcuintle or pacas. It was also discovered that a new sauce called sulitl could be made from corn.

In the investigation, there have been collected recipes of the kitchen of human meat that the Spanish friars gathered during their evangelizing work after the conquest, which indicates that it was never taken roasted and that it was habitual to add it to the pozole.

"Fray Bernardino de Sahagún records the anthropophagic practice in his General History of the things of the New Spain, although he refers to a meaning according to his vision and perception, shaped by the uses and customs of his time and of his land. The horror that it produced to him and his own religious conceptions attributed to the fact a wild and anti-Christian meaning", explains doctor Alfonso de Jesús Jiménez Martínez in his text.

After the Conquest, the Spaniards substituted the human flesh of the pozole for pork, "which apparently has a similar taste," says the academic from the Universidad del Caribe.

There are at least 20 variants of pozole, the best known is the white pozole which is the most consumed in the central zone of Mexico; it is prepared with pork meat (mainly with head) and peanut corn broth. It is accompanied by lettuce, radishes and/or chopped onions, oregano, ground piquín bell pepper, and a few drops of lemon.

At the present time and depending on the taste or health of the companions at table exist variants with chicken, and even vegan but the original and classic one must take pork meat.

Another of the most famous pozoles is the Jalisco style, also consumed in the Bajio and Aguascalientes, which is red. It is prepared with dry ground chiles (in Aguascalientes they use the mirasol chiles and in Sinaloa, there is a variant of this dish that is prepared with guajillo chiles).

Another of the best-known pozoles is the Guerrero style. In this entity, the nights of pozole are those of Thursdays. Whether they are white or green of pipián-, to these pozoles they are added at the moment of eating them, the same as to the most usual ones of the center of the country, chopped onion, ground piquín bell pepper, oregano (grinding it between the palms of the hands) and some drops of lemon.

Unlike the pozoles of the Altiplano, they do not have radish or lettuce. On the other hand -and this is a big difference- they are also seasoned with a raw egg (which is put in the first place, in the boiling pozole just served in the deep dish, so that it can be cooked), pork crackling in pieces, avocado and canned sardines, in oil. Like most of the pozoles, it is accompanied by toast.

Also from Guerrero is another pozole with corn, black beans, and epazote. In Aguascalientes, there is a pozole of corn (fresh, before it is corn) and they have the pozolin, with corn and poblano bell pepper. In the northern zone of Mexico, a pozole type dish is prepared with beef belly and peanut corn grains; it is used, at least, in Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Nuevo Leon, although in this last entity they add, besides beef belly and corn, pork, and rice.

In the south of Puebla, there is a dish known as elopozole, and they add both pork and chicken, in addition to zucchini and epazote; it is red because they grind guajillo bell pepper. In Guerrero also prepare an elopozole but with fewer ingredients. In Sinaloa, there is another variant with corn that they call pozolillo and it has chile ancho.

In Colima, there is a dry pozole identical to the white one, but without a broth. In La Laguna, they make a pozole enchilada, which is a kind of unground corn cake, baked in the oven, with a dry chili sauce. In Nayarit, they prepare the shrimp pozole.

In Chihuahua, a corn pozole is cooked with pork rinds and cilantro. In Baja California Sur they have a pozole of pork spine with chile pasilla. In Sonora, they cook a deer bone pozole, another one of wheat, and another one of wheat and beans.

Another very local modality is the green pozole. In Mexico City one was made with poblano bell pepper and tomatoes and in Michoacan, another one was made with epazote. In Guanajuato, they add ground coriander. In Morelos, they also make a chickpea pozole, with dried shrimp.

Red Pozole Recipe (pozole rojo)

Nothing like a traditional pozole to celebrate this holiday. There won't be any left for reheating.

Servings: 4

Preparation Time: 90 Minutes

Ingredients

1 kilo of pre-cooked pozolero corn (2.2 lbs)

1 head of garlic

1 kilo of diced pork (2.2 lbs)

1 large tomato 

100 grams of guajillo bell pepper (3.55 oz)

¼ teaspoon oregano

1 pinch of cumin

1 clove of garlic

To serve

1 chopped romaine lettuce

1 small onion, chopped

4 lemons in halves

Corn tostadas

Salt to taste

Method of preparation

Add the corn, garlic head, and salt to your liking in a large pot, cover with water and cook to medium heat for 2 hours. Then add the meat to the pot and cook for an hour or until the meat is soft. Remove the garlic head.

Pour water in a separate pot to boil the tomato and chilies until soft, remove the seeds and tail from the chilies and blend with the tomato, salt, oregano, cumin, and a clove of garlic. Strain and set aside.

Once the meat is soft, remove it from the pot, shred it and set it aside.

Pour the red sauce into the pot with the corn until it boils. Add the shredded meat to the pot, season to taste, and boil for a few minutes before serving.

Decorate with chopped lettuce, onion, and lemon juice. Serve with toast and cream, sprinkled with cheese.