Chicken Pozole Chilaquiles
by Greg Hardesty, Chef, Recess & Room Four, Indianapolis, Indiana
Pozole is a pre-Columbian stew native to the Americas. It typically features pork or chicken and corn (usually hominy) as staple ingredients. This recipe combines the concepts of chilaquiles, a similar traditional Mexican dish in which mole sauce is served over tortillas, and pozole for a modern and creative spin on classic flavors.
8 Smart Chicken drumsticks
2 tablespoons cooking oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 large yellow onions, diced
6 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped
1 (20-ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves, chopped
2 quarts chicken stock
1 (20-ounce) can hominy, drained and rinsed
10 to 12 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled, fat reserved
3 cups corn tortilla strips
2 avocados, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
2 cups finely shredded green cabbage
2 tablespoons dried Mexican oregano leaves
2 jalapenos, sliced into thin rings (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375°F. Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper. In a Dutch oven, roast the chicken in cooking oil, turning the legs halfway through until cooked through (about 30 to 40 minutes total). Remove the chicken legs and allow them to cool. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove as much of the meat as possible from the bones. Shred the meat and set aside.
In a stockpot, combine the bones, cartilage and skin. Cover with the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a simmer and skim off and dispose any impurities that rise to the surface. Simmer the stock for 45 to 60 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, reserving the liquid.
Discard the bones. Wipe out the stockpot. Sauté the garlic, onions, and peppers in 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat until soft. Add the tomatoes, their juices, oregano, hominy, and reserved chicken stock. Simmer for 10 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper. Add the shredded chicken meat.
Place the corn tortilla strips into 6 large soup bowls and ladle the soup over them.
Garnish each bowl with a few avocado slices, shredded cabbage, crumbled bacon and oregano. Serve with lime wedges and optional jalapenos.
Food For Thought: Hominy
Hominy is a type of treated corn kernel processed using an ancient preservation method known as nixtamalization, which removed the hull and germ. The practice is thought to have first developed in Mesoamerica in the time of the Aztecs, who soaked the kernels not only for the purpose of preserving them as foodstuffs, but to increase their nutritive value.
Prepared hominy is soft with a mildly buttery flavor and dense texture similar to that of other cooked grains. It is sometimes coarsely or finely ground to make grits or masa, a traditional dough used in Mexican and Latin American cuisine.
Pairing: Beverage Pairing: A light American-style or Mexican beer.