POZOLE VERDE : Green Pozole With Chicken
This Mexican Food, the sumptuous pale-green pozole is thickened with a classic and thoroughly authentic salsa of green tomatillos and ground pumpkin seeds, spicy with green chiles and bursting with the fresh flavor of cilantro. Frying the salsa before adding it to the soup brings out its remarkable flavor. Garnishes of crunchy chicharrón (fried pork skin) and creamy avocado make this chicken pozole truly festive.
SERVES 4 to 6
2 chicken breasts
1 head garlic, washed and halved horizontally
1 white onion, peeled and halved, with root end intact
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1 (28-ounce) can white hominy and liquid
4 cups Caldo de Pollo
5 cups water
4 sprigs fresh epazote, or 6 sprigs fresh cilantro
½ cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
6 to 8 tomatillos (½ pound), husked and washed
1 cup diced white onion
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 serrano chiles, stemmed
1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and small stems, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup packed)
2 teaspoons fresh lard or vegetable oil
Diced white onion
Minced serrano chile
Diced Hass avocado
In a 6-quart slow cooker, combine the chicken, garlic, onion, salt, cumin seeds, hominy, broth, and water. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, until the chicken is tender and cooked through but not falling apart. Remove the chicken and let cool. Discard the chicken bones and skin and break the meat into large pieces. Refrigerate the meat until needed. Add the epazote and continue cooking the soup on low (without the chicken) for 2 hours more.
While the soup is cooking, make the salsa. Heat a 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat. Toast the pepitas in the dry pan, stirring often, until crunchy and olive-green. Let cool completely.
Place the tomatillos in a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or just until tender. Drain and place in a blender along with the cooled pepitas, onion, garlic, serranos, and cilantro. Add ½ cup broth from the slow cooker and puree, scraping down the sides several times, until very smooth, about 2 minutes. (For a smoother texture, you can press the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, if you like.)
Heat the sauté pan over medium heat. Add the lard, then pour in the contents of the blender. Cook, stirring often, until the sauce is thickened and pale green, 5 to 7 minutes. If the sauce splatters, reduce the heat.
To finish the soup, discard the onion, garlic, and epazote. Stir the salsa into the hotsoup. Add the chicken to the soup and cook on low for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust th eseasoning. Serve in large bowls, with the garnishes alongside.