Plant Based Pozole Verde
Updated: Feb 23
Of the kinds of pozole, there are three main preparations, white (pozole blanco), green (pozole verde), or red (pozole rojo). White pozole is the preparation without any green or red sauce. Red pozole is made using one or more chiles like guajillo, piquin, or ancho. Green pozole is made using any or all of the following green ingredients: tomatillos, epazote, cilantro, jalapenos, poblanos, or pepitas. Regardless of your preparation, pozole is all about the variety of condiments you can add to it. Common condiments can include fresh chopped onions, shredded fresh cabbage, sliced radish, fresh cilantro, avocado, limes, Mexican oregano, tostadas or tortilla chips, pepitas, or sliced jalapenos.
Traditional pozole is made from hominy with meat (usually pork, sometimes chicken). Pozole dates back to Mesoamerica since the pre-Columbian era, and today the stew is common across Mexico and neighboring countries, served both as an everyday meal and for special occasions. Historically, pozole has been mentioned as far back as the 16th century, and since maize was considered a sacred plant for the Aztecs and other inhabitants of Mesoamerica, pozole was made to be consumed on special occasions. Nowadays, pozole is served at most Mexican food restaurants worldwide and typically served on New Years Eve, Mexican independence day, birthdays, Christmas, and other holidays.
What is hominy? Its a food produced from dried corn kernels that have been treated with an alkali (usually lye nowadays) in a process called nixtamalization. In this process, dried field corn is treated by soaking and cooking the grain in a dilute solution of lye (potassium hydroxide which can be produced from water and wood ash) or slaked lime (calcium hydroxide from limestone). Then, the maize is washed thoroughly to remove the bitter flavor of the lye or lime. Alkalinity helps loosen the hulls from the kernels and softens the corn. It also kills the seed's germ, which keeps it from sprouting in storage. Finally, in addition to providing a source of dietary calcium, the lye or lime reacts with the corn so that niacin can be assimilated by the digestive tract.
Whew. I know that was a lot, but I'm a food nerd. Come, join me.
My recipe has jackfruit instead of meat, chickpeas instead of hominy, and then all the yummy goodness of a traditional-ish pozole. Enjoy!
1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 jalapeno, whole
6 tomatillos, husk removed and washed thoroughly
4 poblano peppers, seeded and stems removed
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and whole
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. of Extra Virgin olive oil
2 cans of jackfruit, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1 tsp of garlic powder or granulated garlic
6 cups of vegetable stock, divided
2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1 tsp of Mexican oregano
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 Bay leaf
3/4 tsp of fine sea salt
Fresh chopped cilantro
Heat a large, dry pot over medium high heat. Roast the onion, jalapeno, and tomatillos in the dry pot, rotating frequently to char all sides of the onion, jalapeno and tomatillos. Once charred, transfer the veg to a high speed blender, along with the poblano peppers, garlic cloves, cilantro, and 1 cup of the vegetable stock. Blend on high until smooth.
Meanwhile, heat the same large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the jackfruit to the hot pan and sprinkle with the garlic powder. Brown the jackfruit, turning occasionally, for 10-12 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the jackfruit from the pan.
Return the pan to medium heat and pour the blender contents into the hot pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, or until the mixture turns a deep green color. Add back the cooked jackfruit, chickpeas, 5 remaining cups of vegetable stock, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, and salt. Stir to combine.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer. Partially cover and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Serve piping hot with any or all your favorite toppings listed above. Salud!