Perfect Pozolé

spicy soup


Santa Barbara was hit with unseasonably hot weather this week; it even had me wishing for the fog to roll in, which is SB blasphemy. With friends coming over for dinner I was stumped on what to serve, it seemed too hot for standard fare.

Enter spicy pozolé; this Mexican soup seemed to fit the (hot and grumpy) bill perfectly. Pozolé is all about a flavorful stock and crisp, delicious garnishes.  Packed with shredded cabbage, spring onion and sliced radishes it shows off the flavors of spring. I made sure to chill down the garnishes so they were cool and crunchy — a great juxtaposition with the soup.

mexican soup

Watermelon radishes are so pretty if you can track them down.

To make the meal guest-worthy, we added in some homemade tortilla chips to scoop up all that goodness. I also mixed it up by pulling out my best silverware. A throwdown of a silver spoon took this from carry-out to special.

mexican soup


The start…

mexican soup

…and the finish.


Perfect Pozolé


Serves 6 (with pork leftover for later in the week)


Rica shared this recipe with me years ago and it’s just as delicious as it was the first time we made it together. You can make it with just the neck bones, but I like to add the tri-tip for flavor and to use the extra meat later in the week. If you are standing over a cook top, make it count! I bought both types of meat at the Villarreal Market — Eastside (728 E Haley Street). 


1 small whole pork tri-tip

5 pork neck bones

4 cloves of garlic

1 small white onion, sliced in half

3 sprigs oregano

2 fresh bay leaves

1 tablespoon salt

5 puya chilies (dried)

3 ancho chilies (dried)

1 16 oz. can of hominy, drained and rinsed

Juice of half a lime



Thinly sliced green cabbage

Radishes, sliced

Spring onions, sliced

Lime wedges

Oregano leaves

Corn tortilla chips (preferably homemade)


Rinse the meat (tri-tip and neck bones) and nestle into a large Dutch oven or stockpot with garlic, onion, oregano sprigs and bay leaves. Cover completely with water. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer adding salt once the water boils. Place a lid on the pot and continue to cook for two hours or until meat is fork tender. You may have to add more water to the pot as it cooks.


While the meat simmers prepare the chilies.  Remove the seeds and stems (careful not to rub your eyes during this process), place in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water, letting them soak until soft and pliable.  Puree in a blender with the soaking liquid until smooth.


After the pork is finished cooking remove from pot. Meat should pull apart easily. Shred the meat off the bones, using your hands. Keep to the side.


Strain the cooked stock and discard cooked veggies. Bring the strained stock to a boil on the stove. Add the hominy and the blended chili sauce. Cover the stock with a lid and cook an additional 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning, and then add the lime juice and shredded meat. I add about half of the pork meat from the tri-tip and all of the meat from the neck bones to the soup and reserve the rest for tortas or tacos later in the week.


Store cabbage and radishes in water in the fridge so they are crisp and cold come serving time. To serve, ladle soup into bowls, garnish generously and pull out your favorite hot sauce for an added kick.

Serve with Champagne!!!