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Red Chicken Pozole, Cannibalism and My Birthday

by Spicie Foodie on May 11, 2012

** May 13th Update: Thanks for voting this into Foodbuzz Daily top 9. Check out all top 9 recipes here.**

recipe; receta; pozole; pozole rojo; chicken pozole; red; soup; stew; hominy; corn; Mexican Chicken pozole recipe; Mexican; special occasions; celebrations; food; recipes; birthdays; tostadas; radishes; avocado; cabbage; limes; lemon; Spicie Foodie;

Pozole is a hearty Mexican stew traditionally made with pork, hominy and has either a red or green color depending on the chiles used for the soup base. Other variations also exist using chicken, beef, seafood, beans and there’s even a white pozole. The pozole is served alongside shredded cabbage, onion, radishes, lime, oregano, salsas, sour cream and tostadas.

recipe; pozole; chicken pozole; Mexican; stew; chiles; ingredients; hominy; corn; garlic; onion; chile guajillo; chile ancho; pasilla; chile de arbol; onion; garlic; ancho; Spicie Foodie

Corn was a sacred plant to Aztecs and the other indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. One of the main components of pozole is the hominy, which is basically processed maize or corn. Aztecs, and the other indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica, cooked pozole only on special occasions. Now this is where things start getting weird and a bit gross. In a book called “General History of the Things of New Spain” written by Fray Bernandino de Sahagun, he describes pots of stew with corn and pieces of human flesh being eaten on special occasions. The human meat came from the sacrificed people, who’s hearts were ripped out and offered to the gods, their bodies were chopped up and cooked in the pozole. After the Spanish arrived they banned cannibalism and pork became the meat used in pozole. Wait it gets even weirder, you’re probably wondering how but it does. Apparently pork was the meat of choice because “it tasted very similar” to human flesh. This bit of history is probably something most of us Mexicans want to forget or ignore, so let’s move on.

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Thankfully the only thing that remained from the “special” ancient feast was that modern day Mexicans still celebrate special occasions with pozole. If you have Mexican friends or family you know that pozole is served at many special celebrations. My family was no different and so pozole was often the food we ate on special occasions.

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My mami (mom) makes the best pozole rojo. Her pozole is one of the foods and things I miss most from home. A few months ago when I made pozole for the first time I called her and asked for her recipe. But I told her that I was going to make a chicken version rather than pork. I’m not the biggest pork fan to begin with and now after reading the story above I don’t think I’ll be eating pork anytime soon. Many of the ingredients she told me are ones that I can’t find here. But I told her I would do my best to stick to her recipe minus all the pork meat.

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I went into my kitchen and gathered as much as I could from my mom’s ingredient list. I was nervous because I wanted it to come out perfect and because hubby has told me he didn’t like pozole. When he asked what was for dinner I told him it was a surprise. While I prepared the pozole now and then I would get flash backs to my childhood home. As the pozole simmered and the scents filled the kitchen my excitement grew. It has been a really long time since I last ate pozole. A taste of the broth and my heart fluttered. Perhaps it wouldn’t win awards but this pozole tasted great to me and most importantly made me feel like I was home. My heart and stomach were filled with joy. When I called hubby to dinner he commented that “something smelled really good”, I smiled to myself. I showed him how to eat his stew, then he took a few bites and sips. I asked if he liked his dinner, he said yes and that it was really good. In fact the one who had previously said he didn’t care for pozole had two bowls. I’ve now made pozole two times and both times it has brought such joy to me.

Growing up when one of us had a birthday a special homemade meal was cooked for us. My birthday is today and if I was back home pozole would be the meal I would ask mami to make for me. For now I’ll continue to make my own pozole, improving as I go and hopefully one day as good as my mother’s.

(If you would like to publish my recipe on your website please quote Spicie Foodie as the recipe creator, and place a link back to the recipe.)
Chicken Pozole Rojo (based on my mother’s recipe)

broth:
1 whole chicken, quartered and skinned if desired
1 medium onion, peeled
enough water to cover chicken, I used about 10 cups

1. Boil the chicken until the meat is soft and falling apart. Drain reserving the meat and broth in separate containers. In total you should have 8 cups of broth to use. Set aside while you prepare the pozole sauce base.

chile and pozole base:
3 guajillo
3 pasilla
3 ancho
2 arbol, I added them for extra heat
4 garlic cloves
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
1 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large dried bay leaf
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
salt to taste

1 medium can of Mexican hominy or maiz pozolero blanco, drained

topping options:
shredded white cabbage
slice radishes
lime, I used lemons
finely chopped onion
cilantro
avocado
crema or Mexican sour cream
salsa or hot sauce of choice
tostadas to serve on the side

1. Over a comal or griddle toast the chiles but careful not to burn them. Also toast the garlic and onion for 5 minutes. Remove from comal and allow to cool.

2. Once cooled place the chiles, garlic, onion and 1 tsp salt into a blender. You will need to add a tablespoon or two of water to help blend into smooth sauce. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve and discard seeds and any remaining chunks.

3. In a large pot heat the oil, once warm add the chile sauce and cook for a few minutes. Add the drained hominy, bay leaf, oregano and salt. Next gently pour the drained chicken broth, in total it was 8 cups of broth, give the soup a good mix. Allow to simmer for an hour over medium low heat and covered. While the soup is simmering remove the meat from the boiled chicken, discarding bones and skins. Shred the chicken meat then add to the simmering pozole. Continue simmering until ready to serve.

Serve topped with any or all of the suggested toppings.

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Pozole is a meal I can eat during anytime of the year. I will continue to make it year round and I hope you too give this special stew a try. I promise you won’t find bits of Jose or Maria in this pozole. Well, that is unless the chicken used had either of those names. I’m off to celebrate my birthday today but I’ll see you on Sunday for Sunday Snapshots. Have a great weekend everyone.

Mexican Chicken pozole recipe; How to make Pozole; receta; recipe; pozole; chicken; rojo; red pozole; authentic; chiles for pozole; chiles para pozole; hominy; stew; soup; Spicie Foodie

Buy all the ingredients needed for this recipe:
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in Chicken,Mexican,Soups/Stews

{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nandita May 11, 2012 at 5:58 AM

You know what??? You share your Birthday with my SIL. Wish you a Very happy birthday Nancy!!! This dish looks beautiful You have presented it in a very authentic Mexican way. Loved the post :)

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2 Spicie Foodie May 11, 2012 at 8:15 AM

Hi Nandita,

Well Happy Birthday to your SIL :) Thank you so much!

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3 Michelle May 11, 2012 at 9:37 AM

i remember reading that excerpt when i was doing analysis of early forms of racism. hehe. sometimes, foreigners may exaggerate what they have seen.

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4 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Yeah, I’m sure that much of the history was filled in with exaggerations.

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5 claudia @whats cookin italian cuisine May 11, 2012 at 9:40 AM

Happy Birthday ! Hope you have the best year to come ever… just love what talent you have to view every photo on here… keep up the great work and enjoy your day!

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6 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Thank you so much Claudia :)

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7 Trix May 11, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Happy birthday my dear!!! What a lovely bowl of posole – I love posole, though I am sure what I have made cannot compare to yours or your mami’s. I like it with pork … but reading about the human flesh, well … I may be eating chicken for awhile too. lol!

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8 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:11 PM

Muchas gracias amiga:) Lol, hopefully the image from this history will fade so you can enjoy pozole with pork soon.

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9 Cher May 11, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Happy birthday.
Gorgeous posole – I am very glad that we have since changed up the protein for this special dish…

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10 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:12 PM

Thank you Cher:)

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11 Vicky May 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Happy birthday! Your recipe looks awesome and I’ll have to bookmark it for another day. I had posole recently in a restaurant for the first time and loved it! The base ingredients aren’t familiar to me so I’ll have to do some research to find them. Thanks for sharing! :)

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12 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Hi Vicky,

Thank you:) Good, I hope you try it and enjoy it very soon. You can click on the last images and it will take you to Amazon where you can read a little about them. But also you can ask at your local Hispanic market.

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13 Gina May 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM

Happy Birthday sweet Nancy! Poor Jose and Maria the chickens, lol. I was thinking chicken would be an excellent sub for the pork in pozole. Next time I make it, I’m gonna try your chicken version. I’m sure your mom would be proud of you making such a stunner version of this dish. I’m hoping at least hubby did all the dishes in honor of your birthday. So funny when I read about the sacrifice thing I couldn’t help but thing back to my honeymoon, we were in Mexico at one of the ruins and I told my husband to take my photo on this cool bench. Turns out it was where they chopped peoples heads off, kind of ruined it for me, lol.
Hugs,
-Gina-

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14 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Gracias Gina! Haha, si pobresitos those little chickens. I’m a bit spoiled because he offers to do dishes and alot of the housework. But I try not to take advantage of that, hehe:) Oh, wow how cool but also a bit creepy about the bench. Lol :)

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15 Gina May 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Think back, lol. I’m brain dead at the moment, my daughter got home from school last night at 1:30 and I had to get up at 6 this morning to get my other daughter off.

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16 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Hehe, and I hope you get some sleep.

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17 Rosa May 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM

A fabulous dish! I wish i could find hominy here.

Happy Birthday! I hope you’ll have a wonderful day.

cheers,

Rosa

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18 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:16 PM

Thank you Rosa:)

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19 Suzie May 11, 2012 at 5:36 PM

Yum!!! Pazole is my absolute favorite Mexican dish! I’m currently living in Mexico and simple love this dish any time, thanks for sharing– I will have to make it myself :)

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20 Suzie May 11, 2012 at 5:38 PM

And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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21 Spicie Foodie May 14, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Hi Suzie,

Gracias! So you can go get pozole anytime you want:) But yeah you should try it sometime:)

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22 Ramona May 11, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Happy Birthday my friend!! I am glad you enjoyed something you love to eat on your birthday. :) Congrats on making Top 9 today too. :)

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23 Spicie Foodie May 14, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Hi Ramona,

Thanks sweetie and to you too:)

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24 Joan Nova May 11, 2012 at 8:52 PM

What I love about this dish is all the freshness on top.
Feliz Cumpleaños!

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25 Spicie Foodie May 14, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Gracias Joan:)

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26 Flavors of the Sun May 11, 2012 at 9:52 PM

Oh how I love, love pozole! I remember fondly a favorite restaurant in Oaxaca, a pozoleria, where they only serve pozole–all three colors of it: red, white, and green. Oh, yum. Love your mother’s recipe (that is always special to have a mom’s recipe) and the creepy history as well. Fascinating.

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27 Spicie Foodie May 14, 2012 at 3:24 PM

I want to go there! I’ve never had any other than the red one. Thank you:)

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28 Patty May 11, 2012 at 11:05 PM

Happy Birthday Nancy! I’m loving the spread of food that’s served with your red chicken pozole and wishing it was on my table for dinner tonight;-) I’m slowly getting back in my routine after vacation but I see that you’ve been posting some wonderful dishes while I was gone. I hope you have a wonderful weekend;-)

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29 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:17 PM

Hi Patty,

You’re back! I need to catch up with you. Thank you so much:) You too have a great weekend!

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30 Eha May 12, 2012 at 12:35 AM

Altho’ I am a new reader I hope I may add my warmest birthday wishes to those of all the others! Making my first pozole is still ahead of me :) !

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31 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Hi Eha,

Oh thank you so much, that is sweet of you:) You can do it, hehe.

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32 Nami | Just One Cookbook May 12, 2012 at 5:50 AM

Happy Birthday! Double happiness! You got to enjoy a great pozole and you made your husband like this dish! ;-) What a special meal. I know this dish is as good as your mom’s! Your mom must be an excellent cook. :-)

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33 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Hi Nami,

Thank you! Yes, it is double happiness, hehe. I’m lucky because my mother really is a great cook.

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34 Suchi May 12, 2012 at 6:43 AM

Happy birthday gal. Loved reading about your memories….food plays such an essential part of our memories and so effrotlessly bridges the past and the present, it is awesome….:-)

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35 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Thank you Suchi:)

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36 Holly May 12, 2012 at 7:22 AM

Happy Birthday!

The cynic

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37 Holly May 12, 2012 at 7:23 AM

Let me continue… the cynical side of me said “I knew we were all pigs” after reading about this dish. But I loved it.

I wish I could find all the ingredients here to make this. It looks so tasty.

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38 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Hehe, I thought that was your new signature :) Thanks!

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39 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:19 PM

Thank you Holly!

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40 Carolyn May 12, 2012 at 8:50 AM

I love this post and I love pozole. I bet yours was amazing. I never knew that bit about pork and human flesh, though. That’s, um, a little gross. But if it ends up in a great dish, I am all for it ;)

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41 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Hi Carolyn,

Thank you so much. Haha ;)

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42 dassana May 12, 2012 at 9:40 AM

happy birthday nancy. am i late in wishing you, coz its 12th here and i just saw your mail.
nevertheless, have a great day :-)

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43 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:20 PM

Thank you so much Dassana :)

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44 Lea Ann May 12, 2012 at 10:18 AM

Well goodness! I didn’t know posole had such a “colorful” history. I made red posole once and loved, loved, loved it. Your recipe is somewhat more complicated, more ingredients and most surely even better than what I made. I’ll be using yours next time. Happy Birthday!!!

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45 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:21 PM

Hi Lea Ann,

Yeah, colorful is one way of putting it. Thank you:)

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46 Judy@Savoring Today May 12, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Happy Birthday! It warms our hearts and our stomachs when we can recreate something from our childhood, especially our birthday meal. Mine was homemade egg noodles–takes me home every time.
I too had a challenge when I make Chicken Pozole for my husband because he hates hominy, but I won him over by “hiding” it in a delicious stew with generous fresh toppings. :) Your pozole looks amazing! Easy to convince your hubby with something made with so much love.

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47 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Hi Judy,

Thank you so much! Homemade egg noodles sound like a great b-day meal. Yay, glad to hear you won him over;)

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48 Crystal @ A Lovin' Forkful May 12, 2012 at 3:55 PM

I love pozole. Your post was very informative, lol! The history really is pretty fascinating, gross and fascinating!

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49 Spicie Foodie May 12, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Hi Crystal,

Hehe, yes isn’t it? Thank you!

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50 anna May 13, 2012 at 2:44 AM

wow that is so cool about the pozole! completely unsettling of course but still pretty dang neat! i studied maya and aztec cosmology a bit in college, and find it really fascinating. i will definitely think about this next time i eat pozole…ha. which hopefully won’t be too far away, with this recipe!

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51 Spicie Foodie May 13, 2012 at 5:02 PM

Hi Anna,

Haha, yeah right?:) Maybe don’t think about the history and just enjoy your pozole.

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52 tania@mykitchenstories May 14, 2012 at 1:38 AM

Happy Birthday ( belated) and thanks for the wonderful soup recipe

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53 Spicie Foodie May 14, 2012 at 7:18 AM

Thank you Tania!

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54 Jean (Lemons and Anchovies) May 14, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Happy Belated Birthday, Nancy!!!! I hope your day was special, love-filled and of course, delicious! I am afraid I’ve never made pozole at home but I do enjoy a big bowl of it now and then. I am bookmarking to try when the next soup craving hits. I love that your pozole-nonliking husband has enjoyed it twice now. :)

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55 Spicie Foodie May 15, 2012 at 8:25 AM

Hi Jean,

Thank you so much! Let me know if you do make it, would love the feedback.

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56 Karen (Back Road Journal) May 14, 2012 at 9:27 PM

This is my first time to your blog and I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy it. First…a belated happy birthday. I make a green pork pozole and can’t wait to try your red chicken pozole. It sounds terrific!

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57 Spicie Foodie May 15, 2012 at 8:26 AM

Hi Karen,

Welcome :) Thank you so much. I’ll stop by your blog to see your green pozole. I’ve never tried it and really want to now.

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58 Priscilla - She's Cookin' May 15, 2012 at 1:44 AM

Eww, I knew the Aztec’s participated in cannibalism, but I would prefer not to think of pork as tasting similar to human flesh… Soo, your chicken posole sounds pretty good – I especially like the radish and avocado garnish to brighten it up :)

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59 Spicie Foodie May 15, 2012 at 8:27 AM

Lol :) I know right, not a pretty mental picture and definitely one to quickly erase. Thanks sweetie:)

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60 tania@mykitchenstories May 20, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Happy birthday for the other day Nancy!. How lovely is your soup and the family comfort it gives you. xx I will have to mail order chills to make it

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61 Spicie Foodie May 20, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Thank you Tania. I hope you get those chiles soon.

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62 Magic of Spice May 20, 2012 at 3:50 PM

I just have to say that if I were not already a vegetarian…pork would be off my list, lol.
This is a beautiful stew for sure, all these wonderful flavors! I am going to have to think up a vegetarian version ;)
Again, hope you had a most amazing birthday…big hugs!

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63 Spicie Foodie May 21, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Lol, I wonder how many will stop eating pork now or at least for a while until the mental picture of this fades. Yes, I have been working on my vegetarian version too. Thanks!

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64 Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } May 20, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Happy Belated Birthday! Hope you had a fun day of many celebrations. I have never made Pozole but it has been on my list forever – now I have a great recipe to use. Great photos!!!

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65 Spicie Foodie May 21, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Thank you Lisa! You should give it a go.

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66 Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb May 22, 2012 at 11:25 AM

a new dish for me to try! =DDD

Belated Happy birthday my friend!

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67 Spicie Foodie May 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM

Thank you Helene!

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68 natasha@aperfectpantry May 27, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Happy belated birthday :) what a great mexican reciepe, a must to try!

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69 vianney June 4, 2012 at 5:44 PM

Stunning bowl of homey goodness! Happy belated birthday!! sending you besos and well wishes!!

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70 Spicie Foodie June 6, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Hi Vianney,

Thank you!

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71 amy @ fearless homemaker November 12, 2012 at 10:28 PM

I love chicken posole – it’s one of our favorite comfort foods around here. In fact, I think you inspired me to make it for dinner tonight – thanks!

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72 Spicie Foodie November 12, 2012 at 11:09 PM

It’s also one of my comfort foods too. I hope you do and enjoy it:)

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73 Laura (Tutti Dolci) December 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Your pozole looks wonderful, and your birthday is the day before mine :).

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74 Spicie Foodie December 21, 2012 at 12:38 AM

Wow really? How cool are we! Thanks Laura:)

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75 Angel January 11, 2013 at 7:37 PM

Hello! Your recipe sounds/looks good. I want to make it soon but I have a question regarding the chiles. Are you using fresh or dried? I think I would only be able to get dried where I live. Thank you

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76 Spicie Foodie January 11, 2013 at 8:57 PM

Hi Angel,
I am using dried just like the ones in the photos. If you can’t find them locally they can be ordered through Amazon. Good luck!

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77 stacy February 2, 2014 at 12:54 PM

If I wanted to use pork is it still the same but use the broth from the pork boiling?

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78 Spicie Foodie February 2, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Hi Stacy,

Yes, you may use pork and the boiling broth too. Enjoy!:)

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