Red Pozole


Rich, succulent, fatty pork combines with sweet white corn hominy in red pozole, an incredibly comforting, classic, cold weather dish that's usually served at New Year's. Whether you call pozole a soup or a stew, it's a satisfying bowl of food, with or without any fixings. Serve with finely sliced cabbage, diced onion, chopped avocado, sliced radishes and peppers, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and chips or warmed corn tortillas.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
6 hrs 10 mins
Total Time:
6 hrs 30 mins
8 servings

I love tacos and burritos more than anyone should, which is why I don't have a long history of eating pozole. The handful of times I've had it, I've loved it, but no matter how amazing a particular Mexican restaurant's version was supposed to be, I'd almost always end up ordering my usual tacos al pastor or carnitas burrito. Since that habit is going to be impossible to break at my advanced age, I think I've come up with a compromise.

I'll continue to enjoy tacos and burritos when eating out, but when I'm craving comforting Mexican cuisine at home, which is a common occurrence, I'll occasionally make a big pot of pozole. This incredibly hearty soup, or "stew" if you use as much meat as I do, is very simple to make, but does take a fair amount of time, especially if you use lots of boney pieces like I did here with the pork feet and shanks.

You can do a quicker, lighter version by just using pork shoulder, but I think you'll miss out on all the rich, sticky goodness those cuts provide. Either way, make sure you have plenty of toppings ready to serve with this, since that's a big part of the fun. Speaking of fun, this dish is a great way to discover the magic of white corn hominy, which is another reason I really do hope you give this great cold-weather recipe a try soon. Enjoy!


  • 2 ½ pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks

  • 2 ½ pounds pork shanks

  • 1 ½ pounds pork feet

  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, but left whole

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut in half

  • 2 stalks celery, cut in half

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, or more to taste

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 3 large bay leaves

  • 4 quarts water, divided

  • 2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano

  • 12 medium garlic cloves, unpeeled

  • 3 ounces dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 1 ounce dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

  • 2 (30 ounce) cans white hominy, drained and rinsed


  1. Place pork shoulder in the refrigerator. Transfer pork shanks and feet into a large pot on the stove. Add onion, carrot, and celery, salt, pepper, cumin, and bay leaves. Pour in 3 quarts water. Turn heat to high and bring to a simmer.

  2. Skim foam from the surface and add Mexican oregano, rubbing it between your hands as you drop it into the pot. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer gently until pork is tender and will easily come off the bone, about 3 ½ hours.

  3. While the pork is simmering, place unpeeled garlic cloves in a dry pan over medium heat. Roast the cloves, shaking the pan occasionally over the heat, until slightly charred on the outside and just starting to get soft on the inside. Remove from the heat and transfer into a bowl to cool.

  4. Place guajillo and ancho chile peppers into a 4-cup liquid measuring cup and set a strainer over the top. Ladle some simmering broth from the pot into the strainer until chiles are covered. Let soak until the pork is finished simmering.

  5. When pork is finished cooking, set a strainer over a large bowl. Remove pork and vegetables with a slotted spoon and place in the strainer.

  6. Meanwhile, peel the cooled garlic cloves and add them to the chile pepper and broth mixture. Puree chile mixture with an immersion blender until smooth.

  7. Pass pureed chiles through a strainer into the pot of broth. Add a spoonful or two of the broth to the pureed chiles to help it pass through the strainer if needed. Pour the remaining 1 quart of water through the strainer, then add the pork shoulder to the pot. Simmer over medium-low heat.

  8. While the pork shoulder simmers, remove bones from pork shanks, then cut shanks and feet into smaller pieces.

  9. Once the pork shoulder has simmered for 1 ½ hours, add diced shanks and feet to the pot. Stir in hominy and continue to simmer until pork is very tender, about 1 more hour. Skim any fat from the surface as it cooks and season with more salt if needed.

    white bowl of red pozole
    Red Pozole. Chef John

Chef's Notes:

You can use Greek or Italian oregano but try to find Mexican since it has a unique flavor.

If your hands are sensitive, you might want to use gloves when seeding the chile peppers.

If you don't see pork shoulder in the grocery store, it's sometimes called pork butt.

I like my pozole very meaty and relatively thick but if you like yours brothier, simply add more liquid during the simmering process.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

819 Calories
49g Fat
45g Carbs
49g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 819
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 49g 63%
Saturated Fat 16g 82%
Cholesterol 187mg 62%
Sodium 2058mg 89%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 10g 37%
Protein 49g
Potassium 1047mg 22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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