Mexican pozole soup

Yesterday wasn’t such a perfect weather day for the Boxing Day cricket, but the Sant guys were game, and went with our lot to the Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch Australia play India.

The Cattapans came to dinner so they could meet our American friends who had come to spend Christmas with us. To complete the picture, Tasha, visiting from Perth,  came over in the late afternoon and hung out with us. How lucky our family feels to be with all these people we love. Your Melbourne is really the central hub, Izzy! Anyway, what to feed a tired mob from a day at the cricket?

I thought a soup, as an antidote to our Christmas day feasting. Something piquant and light, but filling too. The pozole I made seemed to hit the spot.

You should have this recipe: it is a slow cooked meal, something you could put on the stove when you have a long evening at home working on a project or studying.

Pozole is a Mexican soup, traditionally made with a pig’s head(!) but don’t worry, these days it is usually with a piece of pork shoulder. It should be a hunk of pork which is fatty ( yes, I know you hate fat, but it cooks the meat sweetly and prevents the meat from drying out. The fat is discarded at the end anyway.) The first time I cooked Pozole, it was for a Virginia Living magazine article I was writing. There was a hominy article I was researching so including a recipe using the grits seemed like a good idea. Traditional pozole (pronounced ‘pot- zolay’) includes hominy grits but sometimes they are hard to come by, so I substitute with chickpeas.

 Mexican Pozole Soup

  •  1 piece pork shoulder ( about 2 kg)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons paprika powder
  • salt
  • 2 cans chickpeas or hominy grits if available
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 to 6 limes
  • 2 dried Mexican ancho chillis
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 pods garlic, chopped fine
  • 2 fresh green jalapeno chillis, sliced fine

To garnish:

  • ½ finely sliced green cabbage
  • 1 to 2 bunches sliced radishes
  • ½ bunch fresh coriander/cilantro sprigs
  • ½ bunch chopped spring onion
  • 1 seeded and chopped red capsicum
  • tortilla chips


  1. In a large stockpot, cover the pork piece with lightly salted water and put on the boil
  2. Add the oregano, chilli powder, bay leaves, half the chopped onion, and pepper
  3. Cook the pork and skim the scum off the surface.
  4. When the pork is tender, lift from the liquid and put aside to cool
  5. Turn the heat off for the stock pot.
  6. In a separate saucepan, sauté the rest of the onion, the sliced jalapeno chili, and garlic
  7. Pour half a cup of hot water over the ancho chilli and leave to soften
  8. When the meat is cooled, shred in thick pieces, discarding any fat and bone.
  9. Relight the soup and when it begins to simmer, add the meat, and the sautéed onion and garlic.
  10. Add the chickpeas
  11. With a pestle, gently mash the softened ancho chilli, and add the mixture to the soup
  12. Squeeze two limes and add juice to the soup
  13. Cook for a further twenty minutes
  14. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper

To serve:

Ladle soup over a bowl of raw green cabbage, and other diced vegetables.

Top with a dollop of guacamole and sour cream, and a wedge of lime

Serve with tortilla chips

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