Note: This is one of two Chicken Thigh Pozole recipes I’m posting this week. For more on their origins and difference, click here.
Once I was out in the world, out of my mom’s kitchen and living on my own on the other side of the country, I learned that there were other styles of the same dishes I’d been eating as a kid. Pozole was one of the most changed. I was used to a rustic pork stew with pieces of chili, hominy, and large pieces of pork all stewed together, a recipe that I learned or butchered sometime when I was in High School.
The dish I saw on the table in San Francisco and elsewhere was more refined – a smooth chili broth garnished with hominy and laden with shreds of stewed (or even occasionally roasted) pork, and topped with diverse additional garnishes. It was still delicious, still immensely satisfying on a foggy San Franciso evening, but it wasn’t the dish I was used to.
I learned to love both.
This is a refined version of my Rustic Pozole recipe. Like that one, and because well, this is a site about chicken thighs, it uses chicken thighs in place of pork. Unlike that one, this is a little fussier, requiring a couple of passes through a blender, and separate cooking of the hominy corn. If you’re a fan of the dish, I strongly recommend you try both versions. While the base ingredients, and indeed flavors are very similar, they nonetheless feel very different.
Chicken Thigh PozoleCourse: Main, SoupCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Difficult
A refined chicken thigh pozole.
4 Bone in, skin on chicken thighs
4 cups chicken stock
1 can Mexican style hominy
1 cup boiling water
4 dried California chilis
2 dried ancho chilis
4 cloves garlic
1 large shallot
1 tsp dried ground cumin
1 tsp chopped fresh Mexican oregano or ½ tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
- Prepare Chili Base
- Remove the stems and as many seeds as possible from the dried peppers, tear into small pieces, and place in a heat proof bowl.
- Pour boiling water over the dried peppers and allow them to soften for 10-15 minutes.
- After the chilis have softened, transfer them, with the soaking liquid to a blender. Blend until smooth.
- Prepare the Stew
- Preheat your oven to 350° F.
- Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
- In an oven proof pan, brown the chicken well on both sides, until a good amount of fat has rendered out.
- Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Discard all but ~1tbsp of chicken fat.
- Trim, peel, and roughly chop the shallot.
- Sautee the shallot in the remaining 1Tbsp of fat until the union is translucent and just starting to brown.
- Add the oregano and cumin and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chili base and chicken stock and return the browned chicken to the pan. Bring to a simmer, then transfer to the oven.
- Cook for one hour to 90 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked and falling from the bone.
- To Finish and Serve
- Cook hominy in salted water for 20 minutes.
- Once fully cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and transfer all other contents to a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and season as needed.
- Strain the liquid though a fine strainer to remove any large pieces.
- Place a ladle of chili broth in the base of a bowl. Add hominy. Top with a chicken thigh, or optionally shred thigh and add just the meat to the bowl.
- Garnish with any combination of sliced jalapeno or other chilies, jicama, radish, shredded cabbage, limes, and cilantro.