When I was in my early 20s, living on the Eastern side of New Mexico, my mom came up to visit me.
At the time, she was living in Hatch, NM, where it had recently flooded. Luckily her place was fine, but there were hundreds of residents left homeless.
Since my mom had a large 4 bedroom house, she offered to let a family of two mothers and three children live with her, until they were able to return home. The mothers didn’t speak much English, but were very kind and grateful for the temporary housing.
While the family lived with her, they made many traditional New Mexican recipes, and they even taught my mom a few. One of those recipes was how to make a New Mexican Red Chile sauce from dried chile pods.
She loved the recipe so much, when she came to visit, she taught me how to make a classic red chile sauce and turn it into a wonderful dish called pozole.
What is Pozole
The word “pozole” is a Spanish word that means “hominy”. Pozole is a soup that is traditionally from Mexico and made with pork, hominy, and frequently, a red chile sauce.
Traditional pozole is garnished with toppings like shredded cabbage, but in New Mexico, we typically serve it up with a warm tortilla.
I personally love the toppings to pozole, so below the recipe, I’ve added a list of toppings that pair well with homemade pozole.
How to Make New Mexican Pozole
For this recipe, I’ve included a slightly modified version of the red chile sauce that my mom learned more than a decade ago. The red chile sauce takes some time to prepare, but imparts a well developed, uniquely spicy flavor into the pozole. If you prefer to make a quicker version of pozole, you can always buy pre-made red chile sauce from most New Mexican grocery stores, or on Amazon (but it’s a very pricey when buying online).
The Red Chile Sauce
You’ll start with 24 red chile pods – which can also be found in stores throughout New Mexico, or on Amazon. Remove the stems and add to a large pot of boiling water.
Boil the red chile pods until tender, about 15 minutes.
Use tongs to transfer red chile pods to a blender, adding in about a cup of the water you boiled the chiles in. Blend, adding more water in batches, until the sauce is smooth and about the consistency of tomato sauce.
Strain sauce through a fine sieve to remove the peels and any seeds from the sauce. Add strained sauce to a medium pot along with salt, a little olive oil, chopped garlic, and oregano. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
This recipe makes about two cups of red chile sauce. I usually use one cup in the pozole, and freeze the other cup for my next batch of pozole, or for carne adovada.
Once you have your red chile sauce made or purchased, you’re ready to make pozole!
Start by adding olive oil to a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 lbs cubed pork loin, seasoned with salt, pepper, and cumin, and brown on both sides. Remove pork, and set aside.
Add in a little more olive oil and cook 1 diced onion until tender. ADd in 3 cloves minced garlic and cook until fragrant.
Return pork to the pot, along with 1 cup red chile sauce, 6 cups of chicken broth, and 3 cups hominy.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and simmer for 30 minutes, until pork is cooked through and tender.
This recipe serves about 4 people, with some leftovers. After an extra day or two in the fridge, the pozole flavors become even better!
How to Make Pozole – A Printable Recipe
A recipe for Pozole made with New Mexican red chile.
- 1 cup red chile sauce Recipe Below
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1.5 lbs pork loin cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups hominy
Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Season pork loin with salt, cumin, and pepper. Add to pot and brown on both sides. Remove pork.
Add onions to the pot and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, another 30 – 60 seconds.
Add back in pork, red chile sauce, chicken broth, and hominy.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until pork is cooked through and tender.
Top with desired garnishments.
New Mexican Red Chile Sauce
A spicy and fragrant red chile sauce made from New Mexican red chiles.
- 24 red chile pods
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Remove stems from red chile pods. Place chiles in water and boil until tender, about 15 minutes.
Transfer chile pods to a blender, along with one cup of the water the chiles were cooked in. Blend until smooth, adding more water, if necessary, until consistency is similar to tomato sauce.
Strain sauce through a sieve to remove any peels and seeds.
Return sauce to pan and add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
Sauce keeps in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for 6 months.
Garnishments for Pozole
Topping your pozole with garnishments will add texture, crunch, and different flavors to bring your pozole to the next level! Here are some common garnishments to add to your pozole:
- Shredded cabbage
- Sliced radishes
- Chile peppers
- Diced onion
- Chopped garlic
Pin it – Pozole
Save this recipe to your favorite Red Chile Pinterest board by clicking on the image below!