By Pati’s Mexican Table 

What better way to end the season than with a big party? Pati throws a neighborhood bash and cooks up the easiest and best Mexican-themed dishes that would be a huge hit at any party. And what better accessory to a Mexican fiesta than a giant piñata? Pati also gets the chance to visit a Piñata maker in the central market of Morelia.

Pozole Rojo

Serves 12

INGREDIENTS

For the pozole:

– 1 pound dried hominy or 3 29-ounce cans hominy, drained and rinsed
– 1 head garlic, papery outer layers removed, but not entirely peeled (if using dried hominy)
– 2 whole chickens (about 3 pounds each), rinsed and cut into serving pieces, or a combination of 3 pounds chicken and 3 pounds pork shoulder or butt
– 1 white onion, peeled
– 5 fresh cilantro sprigs
– 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt, plus more to taste

For the chile puree:

– 2 ancho chiles (about 1 ounce) rinsed, stemmed and seeded
– 3 guajillo chiles (about 1 ounce) rinsed, stemmed and seeded
– 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped white onion
– 3 garlic cloves
– Pinch of ground cumin
– 2 whole cloves
– 1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt, or more to taste
– 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

Garnishes:

– 5-6 limes, halved
– 10 radishes, rinsed, halved and thinly sliced
– 1 head of romaine lettuce, rinsed, drained and thinly sliced
– 1/2 cup chopped white onion
– Dried ground chile, such as piquín, ancho, chipotle or a Mexican mix
– Dried oregano
– Crispy tostadas or tortilla chips, store-bought or homemade
– Refried beans, store-bought or homemade (optional)

DIRECTIONS

To make the pozole:

If using dried hominy, place it in a large soup pot. Add water to the pot to cover the hominy by at least 3-inches. Add the head of garlic. Don’t add salt now or the hominy will toughen. Bring to a boil and simmer over medium-low heat, partially covered, for 4 to 5 hours, until hominy is tender and has begun to “bloom” or open up. Occasionally skim the foam from the top as the hominy cooks and make sure it doesn’t dry as it cooks, adding more hot water if need be. If using canned or pre-cooked hominy, start with step below.

Meanwhile, place the chicken (and pork, if using), in a large soup pot. Add water to cover the top layer of chicken by at least 2 inches. Add the onion, cilantro and the tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through and tender, about 35 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking broth. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones and shred the meat into bite-sized pieces.

In the soup pot, combine the cooked hominy and its broth (discard the garlic head), or the canned hominy and 2 cups water, with the shredded chicken and its broth. Taste for salt, add more if need be, and simmer all together for 10 minutes more.

To make the chile puree:

Place the chiles in a 3-quart saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chiles have softened and rehydrated. Place the chiles, along with 1/2 cup of their cooking liquid, the onion, garlic, cumin, cloves and salt in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. If using a food processor, be sure to wrap a towel around the joint between the lid and the base to catch any escaping liquid. Pass the sauce through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, pressing gently on the solids with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as possible.

Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in the 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Add the chile puree, bring to a boil and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally and allowing it to thicken.

Add the red chile sauce to simmering pozole, let it cook for an additional 25 minutes, adjust the seasoning, and serve in soup bowls. Arrange the garnishes in smaller bowls on the table and let your guests customize their pozole. Or, if making ahead, let the pozole cool then cover and refrigerate, and reheat when you are ready to serve.

Still hungry?… See more recipe’s from Pati’s Mexican Table

MIXED MELON, LIME and COCONUT AGUA FRESCAVINAIGRETTE
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