This Southern style pork pozole recipe is tasty twist on a classic Mexican dish. Ours is a hearty stew with pulled pork, hominy, collard greens, and other delicious ingredients.
What is Pozole?
Hearty, warm, and just the right touch of spice makes pozole a traditional Mexican comfort food. The hearty stew is a Christmas staple in many parts of the world and can be found as a specialty item on the menu at authentic Mexican restaurants. Due to its similarities with many soul food dishes, it’s also great for adding some southern touches!
Pozole is usually made with a protein base of chicken or pork with red chiles and hominy, and is also known as posole. Garlic, cumin, and other spices typically round out the traditional flavor theme. The garnishes added before serving might just be the best part, as you can make this dish your own personal treasure with choices like shredded cabbage, radish, lime, and much more.
A delicious pozole dish usually does take some time to prepare, but is worth it when you are able to sit down and enjoy a lovely pozole soup! The pork pozole recipe shared below takes much less time than a traditional recipe with the use of canned hominy, so you can use that time for whipping up some tasty sides or dessert!
Pozole’s Storied Past
Like many beloved recipes, pozole has a rich historical background. Though it is often served at special occasions such as Christmas and the Sunday lunch following festive get-togethers like baptisms, quinces, and weddings, pozole was originally considered a meal for only the most elite in the Aztec culture. The leaders at the time would hold a feast that celebrated the changing of the seasons, plentiful harvests and a thank you to the gods. The stew then consisted of maize (corn) and most likely whatever protein was available. Sometimes what was available was not what we consider appetizing today!
The Mexican pozole we prepare in modern times is similar to the authentic version with the use of hominy, but with many more options in the variations of protein, vegetables, spices, and garnishes.
Types of Pozole
Trying new recipes and making them your new family favorites is one of the true joys in life. Memories are made around tables and this recipe could start a new tradition at yours. This stew is a perfect dish to add some southern flavor to and make your own. Tasty comfort food that is also nutritious checks all the boxes when it comes time to feed your family.
Now here’s the fun part! Making this recipe your own and tailoring it to your own spice and flavor preference allows you to be creative without losing the basic traditional foundation. Here are some examples of delicious options:
- Chicken Pozole (uses thighs or breast meat)
- Pork Pozole (usually shoulder or butt)
- Roasted Vegetable (green chile, zucchini, potato, carrot)
- Shrimp (usually paired with the vegetable base)
All of these varieties can also be made into a rojo (red), verde (green), or blanco (white) version depending on the chiles used.
- Pozole blanco is a simple pozole without any green or red sauce.
- Pozole verde may often use the poblano pepper, as well as jalapeños, tomatillos, and cilantro, achieving a green pozole sauce.
- Guajillo chile is a popular choice for pozole rojo’s red sauce, and can include pequin and ancho chile.
You may have to start making this a Sunday staple to see which version you like best!
Pozole Foundational Ingredients
Experimenting with flavors and spice is fun, but there are some basic ingredients that make up the foundation of this traditional dish. Some must-have ingredients include:
- Hominy – This is the unifying ingredient, but you can choose to use canned hominy instead of dried if you wish to save time
- Broth – A good quality chicken or vegetable broth makes this rich soup perfection
- Garlic – This is part of what makes this dish irresistible
- Onion – Adds rich flavor to the combination of ingredients
- Chiles – This is where you’ll decide the direction your recipe will go: pozole rojo, verde, or blanco
Pork Pozole Additions
One option to make this dish with a bit more southern style might be the addition of collard or mustard greens as a hearty vegetable choice. You could also substitute grits for the hominy but note that it would change the consistency of the traditional soup. Another option is to use plain pulled pork (we use smoked) as your protein option. The garnishing is where we can really have fun in the southern-style kitchen! Some chopped bacon pieces, crispy fried onions, sour cream, and a sprinkling of cheese on top add a little extra crunch and creamy flavor to your bowl.
There are so many delicious ways to serve this stew which makes it a very versatile dish. Ladle up a hot bowl like you would a chili or stew and then add your toppings.
Optional garnishes traditionally include:
- extra chiles or hot sauce
- tortilla chips or strips
These garnishes and more would look beautiful on a big platter so that everyone at the table can pick and choose what they would like to add. You could even prepare most of these ahead of time so they are ready to serve when your meal is ready.
Side Dish Options
A meal just doesn’t feel complete without the right side dishes. They are the perfect accessory to a gorgeous main dish. When thinking about soup-type dishes, cornbread comes to mind. Even thought he soup already includes hominy (corn) a mouth-watering sweet jalapeno cornbread muffin would be the perfect complement to the spicy stew. Add some sautéed green beans, fried okra, or mustard greens and you have a satisfying lunch or dinner.
When it comes down to it, this is most definitely a crowd-pleaser. Give this recipe a try and enjoy experimenting with your toppings. Customizing with your own garnishes gives everyone at the table the opportunity to add their personal touch to the delicious, hearty goodness that is pozole.
Southern Style Pork Pozole
This recipe uses a previously prepared smoked pulled pork and smoked paprika for a rich, southern barbeque flavor that matches perfectly with the southwest flavors or cumin and chile. You could use a smoker, crockpot, or instant pot to prepared your pork – whichever you prefer.
Southern Style Pork Pozole
- 1 pound smoked pulled pork plain, no sauce needed
- 1.5 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 32 oz good quality chicken broth
- 1/4 tsp peri-peri seasoning
- 1/2 tsp good quality smoked paprika
- 1 tsp salt more or less to taste
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp crushed Mexican oregano
- 1 large sweet yellow onion cut into large chunks
- 28 oz of white hominy drained and rinsed
- 3/4 c roasted green chile canned or homemade
- 5 cloves of garlic minced finely
- 2 bunches of collard greens loosely chopped with ribs removed
- Start off by chopping your onion, mincing your garlic, and removing ribs from your collard greens.
- Set those aside and heat your oil in a stock pot on medium heat for a minute or two.
- Add your onion chunks and let those cook for about 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Turn down your heat to low, add in the minced garlic, and cook for one more minute.
- In a small dish, combine your spices (peri-peri, cumin, salt, oregano, smoked paprika, chili powder) and then sprinkle this onto your onions and garlic mix. Give this a good stir until the spice mixture coats the vegetables.
- After one minute on low, add the green chiles, broth, and hominy. Turn the heat back up to medium and bring to a low boil. When boiling, take it down to a simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Take this time to prepare your preferred toppings and arrange on a plate or platter for easy access.
- Stir in the collard greens and the pulled pork and simmer for another 15-20 minutes.
- Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot and garnish with toppings of your choice.
- diced avocado
- diced red onion
- shredded cheddar cheese
- sour cream
- crispy fried onions
- tortilla chips, broken into pieces
- lime wedges
- radishes sliced very thin
- chopped cilantro
- shredded cabbage or lettuce
- salsa and/or hot sauce of your choice
- fried bacon bits or pieces
Additional Nutritional Information
This recipe makes about 2 quarts (8 cups). A serving size of one bowl (2 cups) is around 300 calories, once garnishes are added. Precise nutritional information will depend on garnishes.
Tips and Tricks for Pork Pozole
- This soup is amazing the next day! Don’t be afraid of having leftovers. The flavors soak into the pork and give you a delicious, hearty option for a yummy lunch the following day.
- This recipe will have a good amount of spice. You can tone it down by reducing or omitting the peri-peri or adding more if you want it spicier. If you can’t find this spice (often found online or in specialty spice shops) you can use cayenne.
- The use of canned hominy saves time but if you want a more traditional soup, try using dried hominy. Just rinse and let them soak in water the night before, and they’ll be ready for use by morning.
- This recipe can be modified to use shredded chicken or even jackfruit instead of the pulled pork.