As you have probably noticed, I tend to favor recipes that are simple and quick to make, not fussing too much with the natural deliciousness of good ingredients. That said, this pozole recipe is kinda time consuming and makes for a ton of dishes, but it's so worth the effort. And when you're done, you have this amazing one-bowl meal that is deeply satisfying and delish!
If you are going to prepare your own hominy, and not use the canned stuff, allow yourself soaking and cooking time before you get set to make the pozole. I suggest soaking your hominy the night before you want to cook. Then cook the hominy a few hours before getting started on making the rest of your pozole.
INGREDIENTS very slightly adapted from Ruth Reichl's Gourmet Today
In a stockpot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add 1/2 sliced onion, 3 cloves garlic, bay, and a teaspoon of salt to the pot. Cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Next, add the whole chicken thighs to the pot. Skim off any foam that forms. Simmer very gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Use kitchen tongs to remove the chicken and set it on a platter to cool. Strain the broth and set it aside for later. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred it with your fingers and set aside.
Grind pepitas in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. ( I think it's brilliant that this recipe uses these ground pepitas for a thickener for the stew.) Set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat 3 cups water with remaining 1/2 onion and tomatillos over high heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for 10 minutes, until veggies are tender. Discard the cooking liquid and place the cooked tomatillos and onions into a standing blender along with 1/4 cup cilantro, 3 more cloves garlic, epazote, and 1.5 teaspoons salt. Blend thoroughly.
Heat canola oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the pureed veg to the hot pan - be careful as it will be splattery. Cook the sauce uncovered, stirring regularly until it thickens - about 10 minutes. Add the ground pepitas and 1 cup of the broth reserved from cooking the chicken, stir and cook another 5 minutes.
Finally add the shredded chicken, cooked hominy, and 3 cups of reserved broth to the pot. Simmer partially covered for 20 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup chopped cilantro. Season with additional salt to taste - though keep in mind that adding freshly squeeze lime to soup will add a nice punch.
Scoop warm pozole into low bowls and serve with all the wonderful garnishes. Damn, that's good.