Friday, December 31, 2010

Posole...A Ancient New Years Eve Tradition

Pasole or Pazole  (Nahuatl: potzolli, which means "foamy"; variant spellings: pozsole, pozolé, pozolli, posole)[1][2] is a ritually significant, traditional pre-Columbian soup or stew from Mexico. Source Wikipedia

I debated sharing the true history of this hearty soup/stew, based on a few significant details that I just learned while researching the dish to do this blog entry. Quite frankly, the story was mesmerizing and I just have to share it with you.

Please be forewarned, that it may give you the creeps to read the true history of Pozole but understand many years have passed and the traditions have changed.  Here goes.....

Ritual significance: Source Wikipedia
Since corn was a sacred plant for the Aztecs and other inhabitants of Mesoamerica, pozole was made to be consumed on special events. The conjunction of corn (usually whole hominy kernels) and meat in a single dish is of particular interest to scholars because the ancient Mexicans believed that the gods made humans out of cornmeal dough. According to research by the National Institute of Anthropology and History and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, in these special occasions, the meat used in the pozole was human. (This is where is gets kinda gross!) [4]

After the prisoners were killed by having their hearts torn out in a ritual sacrifice, the rest of the body was chopped and cooked with corn. The meal was shared among the whole community as an act of religious communion. After the conquest, when cannibalism was banned, pork became the staple meat, as it "tasted very similar", according to a Spanish priest!

ICK!  The saying that "it tastes just like chicken" takes on a whole new meaning here!  Thank God, the conquest occurred and cannibalism was done away with...pork is a much easier meat to swallow...literally!

My family started making and eating Pozole for New Years Eve when I was a young child, without the knowledge of it's graphic history. Despite the my new found knowledge of it's gruesome past I still love to eat Posole! 

My family recipe is filled with happy memories of sharing communion with each other and more often than not, a little tequila was consumed over the years to wash down this spicy soup!

For this recipe I used the frozen uncooked hominy but canned hominy will work just fine.


1 pound chopped pork shoulder
1 large white or yellow onion
2 large clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red chili powder
1 tablespoon beef base
1 tablespoon chicken base
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups hot water
1 - 8 ounce can diced Hatch green chilies
1 - 32 ounce bag frozen hominy or 2-16 ounce cans hominy
1/4 - 1/2 cup fresh roasted green chilies chopped

Method: in a large, heavy stock pot cook onion in 2 tablespoons vegetable oil till translucent, add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, transfer onion and garlic to a bowl and set aside. add remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil to stock pot and cook chopped pork till browned, add green and red chilies to meat and cook for 2-3 minutes, return cooked onion to pot and add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook for 1-4 hours stirring often.  Flavors develop after longer cooking time.

Pozole can be served with flour or corn tortillas or used as a side dish. 

The smell of cooking chilies and hominy will wash away the past, fill your house with joy and warm your soul! 

May your New Year be Blessed and filled with love and happiness!!

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  1. What a beautiful pot of soup no matter how you spell it. Happy New Year!

  2. Thanks Karen! I hope you have a wonderful New Year cooking all sorts of yummy dishes!


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