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Pork Pozole Verde

This Pork Pozole Verde is traditional Mexican comfort food with a New Mexico twist. Made with grilled pork, tomatillo, and hatch peppers, this is a robust soup that borders on a stew.
Servings: 6 people
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
pork pozole verde in a white bowl topped with sour cream, avocado, and cilantro

This recipe has evolved from a family recipe we used to call ‘White Chili’ – we lived in Michigan, so we were definitely stuck in a cultural bubble. Since then, my time in Texas and New Mexico has informed me of what this recipe actually is: a traditional dish from central Mexico called pozole. A traditional version, dating back centuries, originally used turkey as the protein, then substituted pork after Europeans introduced pigs to the New World.

pork pozole verde in a white bowl topped with sour cream, avocado, and cilantro

What is Pozole?


Pozole (pronounced pō-sō-ley) is a traditional Mexican dish and not something to get too creative with if you want it to be authentic. Pozole means “hominy”, made from shelled, dried corn that is soaked (often in water with lime) to make it puff up. It is basically a cross between soup and stew and comes in three varieties – red (Rojo), green (Verde), and white (Blanco). It is commonly enjoyed for holidays and special occasions, such as weddings, and leftovers are helpful with any post-celebration hangovers.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions


Pozole is a very traditional dish and not something to get too creative with if you want it to be authentic.

The complete ingredient list and measurements are listed in the printable recipe below.

ingredients for pork pozole verde
  • White hominy is the defining element of pozole, which is made from dried maize that has undergone a nixtamalization process. Canned white hominy should be available at most major grocery stores, and substituting regular corn kernels would really change the character of this dish.
  • We like this version of pozole with grilled pork butt roast, but you can certainly substitute pork loin, chicken thighs, turkey breast, or any other hearty animal protein you enjoy.
  • The tomatillos are also what makes this version of pozole ‘verde’ so it would be a quite different recipe without them. If you don’t have fresh tomatillos available you could try to find them canned in the Mexican ingredient aisle of your local grocery store or substitute them with a few jars of tomatillo salsa.
  • The hatch chile peppers also contribute a specific flavor to the pozole, but you could substitute them with poblano or anaheim peppers which would approximate the same amount of heat as mild hatch peppers. If you want it a bit more spicy, include a couple of jalapeños or serranos to your taste.

What to Serve with Pozole


Pozole is usually served with warm corn tortillas and a variety of garnishes that add texture and flavor.

  • Red or White Cabbage: Thinly sliced cabbage adds a fresh crunch.
  • Radishes:  For a spicy, pepper crunch add some thinly sliced radishes.
  • Onions:  There are grilled onions in the pozole but you can use thinly sliced red onions or chopped white onions for additional flavor and crunch.
  • Lime juice:  For a hit of acid squeeze some lime juice over your bowl of pozole.
  • Cilantro:  For a fresh, citrusy flavor add some chopped fresh cilantro leaves.
  • Avocado:  A couple of slices of avocado will add some creaminess. 
  • Sour Cream (or Mexican Crema):  While not a traditional topping it adds a tangy creaminess that balances out the richness of the pozole.
  • Cotija Cheese: Just like sour cream this is not a traditional topping. Cojita is a dry, crumbly cheese that doesn’t melt and will add a little milky-salty flavor.

How to Make Pork Pozole Verde


Here are the quick step-by-step instructions with visuals; you can find the full instructions with the exact ingredients in the recipe card below.

Pro-tip: Place the hot roasted hatch chile peppers in a paper or plastic bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let the peppers “sweat” (the steam will help loosen the skin) for 15 minutes before peeling off the skin and removing the stem, ribs, and seeds.

1. Prep the Ingredients: Pat the pork butt roast dry with a paper towel, then salt and pepper and add some chili powder if you like it spicy. Cut the onions in half at the equator and then half again as if you were making extra thick onion rings. Leave the tomatillos and garlic in their papery wrappers and the hatch chile peppers whole.

2. Grill the Ingredients: Place the head of garlic off on the edge of the flame and roast indirectly while the other ingredients are grilling, making sure to turn it regularly. Grill the hatch chile peppers until they have a nice char on their skin then move off to the side away from the flame. Grill the onions until they have dark grill marks on each side and move them over to the side with the peppers.

Finally, grill the pork for 15-20 minutes rotating it on each side allowing them to develop grill marks. Don’t worry too much about the internal temperature of the pork since it will be cooked again in the pozole.

pork butt being grilled on a charcoal grill

3. Sweat the Hatch Chile Peppers: Place the hot roasted hatch chile peppers in a paper or plastic bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let the peppers “sweat” (the steam will help loosen the skin) for 15 minutes while preparing the remaining ingredients for the sauce.

4. Make the Tomatillo Green Chile Base: Rough chop the onions and add to the pot with a little oil, stirring occasionally until they turn translucent. Cut the root end of the garlic head off and gently squeeze the roasted cloves into the pot, turning the stove down to make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Remove the papery skins off the tomatillos as well as the stem, then roughly chop them and add them to the pot. Gently peel off the skin of the hatch chile peppers, remove the stem, and rough chop them before adding them to the pot. Give everything a thorough mix then turn it back up to medium-high.

hatch pepper tomatillo sauce ingredients in a Dutch oven before being blended together

Once it’s bubbling, add the chicken broth and use an immersion blender to get the base to a smooth texture. You can pour the contents into a regular blender or food processor if that’s what you have available.

hatch pepper tomatillo sauce in a Dutch oven after being blended together

5. Cook the Pork Pozole Verde: Cut up the pork into ⅓ to ¾ inch cubes and add it along with a can of hominy to the pozole, draining the liquid out first.

Turn it down to medium-low to simmer for at least an hour, preferably two, until reduces by 20% or so, intensifying the flavor and thoroughly cooking the pork.

pork pozole in a Dutch oven cooking

5. Serve: Pork Pozole Verde should be served hot with your favorite garnishes or side.

pork pozole verde in a white bowl topped with sour cream, avocado, and cilantro

Recipe Tips and Notes


  • Grilling the chicken, onion, peppers, and garlic is an optional step, but it brings so much to the flavor profile of the final dish that we highly recommend putting in the effort. We use lump hardwood charcoal when grilling, and the smoke is truly transformative. Alternatively, you can use a gas grill or broil them in the oven for some of the smokey goodness, but it won’t quite be the same.
  • Using the grilled ingredients and taking the time to reduce the sauce just intensifies the flavors. While it increases the time commitment, it pays off in the long run, so save this recipe for the weekend or make the sauce ahead of time for a quick and easy dinner.
  • The pork will be “cooked twice“. To avoid dried-out pork don’t overcook it on the grill but just cook it long enough to get a good sear on the outside.

Frequently Asked Questions


Can I make this in a slow cooker?

You can grill the ingredients in advance and cook down the sauce and refrigerate everything for a few days. The pozole can then be cooked in a slow cooker which makes for a perfect weeknight dinner.

Can I freeze pork pozole?

Pozole freezes great and is the perfect option for those no-cook nights. Once the stew has cooled store it in a freezer-safe container or gallons-size freezer bag.  Freeze bags are our preference since they can be placed flat in the freezer and stacked. The stew can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost the pozole overnight in the refrigerator.

What can I use instead of pork?

If you don’t have pork or just want to try something else, there are a few great alternatives such as chicken (breast, thighs, or a combo), turkey, pork loin, or beef.

How to reheat pozole?

You can keep leftover pozole for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat on the stove transfer pozole to a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. To reheat in the microwave transfer to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel, and heat for about 2 minutes stirring every 30-seconds.

pork pozole verde in a white bowl topped with sour cream, avocado, and cilantro

Let’s Connect! If you make our Pork Pozole Verde or any other recipe on Casual Epicure, please don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are considering making our recipes and we love hearing about your cooking experiences. And if you snapped some shots, share them on Instagram, and be sure to tag @casual.epicure so we can feature them in our stories.

Other Recipes to Try


If you enjoy this recipe, we recommend checking out some of these:

pork pozole verde in a white bowl topped with sour cream, avocado, and cilantro

Pork Pozole Verde

This Pork Pozole Verde is traditional Mexican comfort food with a New Mexico twist. Made with grilled pork, tomatillo, and hatch peppers, this is a robust soup that borders on a stew.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Grilling Time 40 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Southwest American
Servings 6 people
Calories 648 kcal

Equipment

  • Wood or Gas grill, optional
  • Large Pot or Dutch Oven
  • Immersion Blender

Ingredients  

  • 2 white onion, medium
  • 1 head of garlic, large
  • 3 pounds tomatillos, in their husks
  • 1 pound hatch chile peppers, grilled or roasted
  • 2 pound pork butt roast
  • 16 ounce can white hominy, drained
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • ¾ tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground

Garnishes

  • corn tortillas, warmed
  • cilantro
  • radishes, sliced
  • cabbage, thinly sliced
  • sour cream
  • avocado, sliced

Instructions 

Ingredient Prep

  • Pat the pork butt roast dry with a paper towel, then salt and pepper and add some chili powder if you like it spicy.
  • Cut the onions in half at the equator and then half again as if you were making extra thick onion rings. Leave the tomatillos and garlic in their papery wrappers and the hatch chile peppers whole.

Grill the Ingredients

  • Place the head of garlic off on the edge of the flame and roast indirectly while the other ingredients are grilling, making sure to turn it regularly.
  • Grill the hatch chile peppers until they have a nice char on their skin then move off to the side away from the flame.
  • Grill the onions until they have dark grill marks on each side and move them over to the side with the peppers.
  • Finally, grill the pork for 15-20 minutes rotating it on each side allowing them to develop grill marks. Don't worry too much about the internal temperature of the pork since it will be cooked again in the pozole.

Tomatillo Base

  • Place the hot roasted hatch chile peppers in a paper or plastic bag or a bowl covered with plastic wrap. Let the peppers "sweat" (the steam will help loosen the skin) for 15 minutes while preparing the remaining ingredients for the pozole.
  • Rough chop the onions and add to the pot with a little oil, stirring occasionally until they turn translucent.
  • Cut the root end of the garlic head off and gently squeeze the roasted cloves into the pot, turning the stove down to make sure the garlic doesn't burn.
  • Remove the papery skins off the tomatillos and remove the stem, then roughly chop them and add them to the pot.
  • Gently peel off the skin of the hatch chile peppers, remove the stem, and rough chop them before adding to the pot.
  • Give everything a thorough mix then turn it back up to medium-high. Once it's bubbling, add the chicken broth and use an immersion blender to get the base to a smooth texture. You can pour the contents into a regular blender or food processor if that's what you have available.

Pork Pozole Verde

  • Cut up the pork into ⅓ to ¾ inch cubes and add to the tomatillo base. Drain the can of hominy and it to the pork and tomatillo base.
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low to simmer for at least an hour, preferably two, until reduces by 20% or so, intensifying the flavor and thoroughly cooking the pork.

Notes

1. You can grill the ingredients in advance and cook down the sauce and refrigerate everything for a few days. The pozole can then be cooked in a slow cooker which makes for a perfect weeknight dinner.
2. Grilling the chicken, onion, peppers, and garlic is an optional step, but it brings so much to the flavor profile of the final dish that we highly recommend putting in the effort.
3. The pork will be “cooked twice“. To avoid dried-out pork don’t overcook it on the grill but just cook it long enough to get a good sear on the outside.
4. You can keep leftover pozole for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat on the stove transfer pozole to a saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. To reheat in the microwave transfer to a microwave-safe dish, cover with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel, and heat for about 2 minutes stirring every 30-seconds.
5.  Pozole freezes great and is the perfect option for those no-cook nights. Once the stew has cooled store it in a freezer-safe container or gallons-size freezer bag.  Freeze bags are our preference since they can be placed flat in the freezer and stacked. The stew can be frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost the pozole overnight in the refrigerator.
6. Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.  The nutritional value is only for the pozole and does not include the nutritional value for any garnishes such as tortillas, sour cream, and avocado.  The nutritional value does not include any additional toppings or substitutions.
7. Be sure to check out the Key Ingredients along with the Recipe Tips and Notes sections found in the post, for more tips, options, substitutions, and variations for this recipe! You will also find step-by-step photos there.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 servingCalories: 648 kcalCarbohydrates: 45 gProtein: 44 gFat: 33 gSaturated Fat: 11 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4 gMonounsaturated Fat: 13 gCholesterol: 124 mgSodium: 2471 mgPotassium: 1314 mgFiber: 6 gSugar: 18 gVitamin A: 18 IUVitamin C: 79 mgCalcium: 12 mgIron: 28 mg
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