“You’ve been making some bomb meals lately!” was the response to this bowl of soup. Truthfully, I have been on a roll. Hey, I’ll own it! I’ll also own the last month, where nothing I’ve cooked up has seemed to have that magical element, that flair, that striking quality that makes me excited to share it with you here. Quite the opposite, in fact! Ups and downs, you know?
There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I would argue that all the failed experiments of the past month have given me a wealth of knowledge. I remind myself again and again not to be hard on myself, but to glean what I can from that particular failure and move on. It’s all positive thinking, and positive thinking is what will snap you out of it better and stronger than before.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Alva Edison
This meal here is a definitely product of thinking of my students and anxiously awaiting the start of the school year. I just love the little guys. Being a dual language teacher in a one way program, my students are all Hispanic and native Spanish speakers. In my life outside of school, I don’t have many friends that speak Spanish, and really no family that does either. The other day I had a conversation in Spanish with a cabbie fresh from Cuba – always do this! Cabbies have fascinating stories! – and it felt so amazing to speak Spanish again. I always get a little anxious going back to school, where I speak and teach in Spanish half of the day… did I forget it all over the summer? Cue beginning of school year nightmares.
I obviously love all kids, but my Hispanic kids hold a special place in my heart. They are so respectful, always call me “teacher” and really hold me and education in high esteem; their parents work SO hard at multiple jobs to support them and are very supportive of me in the classroom. I also love uncovering bits of Mexican culture that were previously unknown to me. La Llorona? SCARY. Dia de los Muertos? Beautiful. Pozole? DIVINE.
I have learned so much about Mexican food from these kids. What my suburban self once though stopped at tacos and really large burritos has become a vast, delicious world I want to eat, lick and bite my way through.
When asked about their favorite food, I would say 80% of the time kids say pozole. I’ve been making this for myself for a few years now, after first hearing about it from the kids, and it definitely lives up to the hype. The best!
Blogging about my kids brought me back to the spring, when Donald Trump was running for the nomination. The kids came into school very, very scared one day after news broke about his comments towards Hispanics and his intention to build a wall. They were extremely nervous about the things he was saying, that their parents, cousins or relatives would be deported back to Mexico and they would be abandoned. There were some tears involved, and genuine fear as they asked me about it and what was going to happen to their families. We had a long conversation as I tried to reassure them, explaining the primary process and the checks and balances we have in our government. I also discussed why it was a problem that so many people were coming into our country and why someone like Trump might think this was a good solution.
4th graders can handle a lot more than we give them credit for, and there were some enlightening questions and profound statements made. Interestingly enough, a couple kids even shared that their parents supported Trump, which surprised me as the media had been reporting quite the opposite about latinos. It was one of those moments I treasure. Real learning, kids soaking up my every word, me leaving all my political views out of it and laying out both schools of thought and helping them to have real discussion and disagreements. I want to make them THINKERS.
Whatever your views on this matter, this is a great soup to bond over. I’d love to serve this at a large get together in the fall – everyone eating out of little bowls piled high with fresh toppings. I’ve got a thing for little bowls.
I’ve included crockpot and pressure cooking instructions (I used my pressure cooker) and don’t you dare skimp on those toppings. It’s the best part! We even toyed with adding pineapple the day after and I really loved it. Let me know what you come up with!
Pozole, Fully LoadedPrint Recipe
- 2 - 3 tbsp country style pork ribs, boneless
- 2 cups red wine
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 1 jalapeno, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds, half seeds removed
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed + 1 whole clove
- 1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch slices and then quartered
- 1 cup canned hominy
- 3 ears corn, kernels cut from the cob
- 2 dried ancho chilis, stems removed
- 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 2 cups chopped lettuce
- 1 cup queso fresco
- 3-4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 avocados, thinly sliced
- 2 limes, squeezed over avocado and radish
- Tortilla chips
First, place 2 - 3 tbsp country style pork ribs, boneless, 2 cups red wine, 4 cups beef broth, sliced small red onion, 1 sliced jalapeno, 1 tbsp Italian seasoning, 3 smashed cloves garlic into the pressure cooker or crock pot. For pressure cooker: cover and lock the top, turn knob to "2" or highest setting. Heat over high heat until pressure cooker begins to steam and lover has risen up to indicate sufficient pressure. Lower heat to medium low and cook for 45 minutes. For crockpot: place all ingredients in crockpot. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or until pork pulls apart easily with a fork.
While pork is cooking, prepare the chili paste. Bring a small pot of water (maybe 4 cups) to a boil. Add dried peppers, cover, remove from heat, and allow to sit for 20 minutes.
After peppers have finished soaking, place the remaining garlic, Italian seasoning, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper in a blender. When finished soaking, add the 2 chilis to the blender along with 1/3 cup of the soaking liquid. Blend into a paste.
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the paste to the pot. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato puree and mix. Bring to a simmer, summer for 10 - 15 minutes. Pour all contents on meat mixture into the soup pot. Add hominy, zucchini, and corn. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
While soup is simmering, prepare the toppings. Chop lettuce, pineapple, avocado, limes, and radish.
After the soup has done simmering, serve in bowls and top with as many toppings you can!