Pazole Verde

September 28, 2014

As promised (and much anticipated, I hope), I present Pazole Verde. If you haven’t had a chance to check out Jicama with Chile & Lemon, be sure to take a peek. It is the perfect appetizer to this rich and comforting pazole. As mentioned in my previous post, Amber and I got together for a night of Mexican comfort food…and wine of course. You may be asking yourself, what the hell is pazole?

 

The truth lies at the table of Donkey Taqueria in Grand Rapids, MI. Nestled in an old mechanic shop, hides a fresh and inspirational taqueria with a focus on locally sourced food (their pork belly and local morel mushroom taco is one of my favorites). When they opened their doors this past spring, I was fortunate enough to try their special of the day, Pazole Verde. Much to my dismay, it quickly left their menu and has yet to return. Despite this selfish and torturous act, I have found myself to be a bit of a regular at this unmarked (yes, they have no sign) GR eatery as their tacos are some of the best (as are their margaritas). With a craving for pazole, and the wait staff equally as clueless as to when the mysterious pazole will return, I was forced to come up with a creative solution…make my own.

 

I will admit, when I started this endeavor, I was not certain on how this soup was made. Nor did I know if I could recreate the “Donkey” experience. Pazole is a Mexican soup usually featuring hominy, which consists of dried maize (corn) kernels. Typical pazole is usually tomato based and hence referred to as pazole rojo.

 

Pazole is very flavorful and usually contains a variety of chiles (typically dried or roasted) varying on the region of Mexico, and may include spices ranging from cumin and cilantro to cinnamon or even chocolate. Rojo’s alter ego, pazole verde has a tomatillo base, which gives it its green color and slightly tangy flavor.

 

With a bit of research, I found that aside from tomatillos, verde variations typically contain cilantro as well as pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds). The seeds are usually roasted and then pulverized into a fine meal, which lend flavor, color and texture to the soup. Knowing that pepitas are very traditional in Mexican cooking, I decided to take a risk and include them in my version of this mouth-watering-flavor-bomb of a soup. I am pleased to say, I beat my expectations on this one. The result…equally as good as Donkey’s (if not better). Enjoy!

 

Grocery List:

2 large chicken breasts

1 bunch cilantro

Dried Mexican oregano (or regular)

4 cloves of garlic

Salt

1 dried guajillo pepper

8 Medium tomatillos

Red onion

2 Anaheim peppers

1 Cup raw pumpkin seeds

2 Cups chicken broth

Cup or handful Spinach (or any other green romaine, arugula etc)

29 oz can hominy

2 radishes for garnish

Queso fresco for garnish

1 avocado for garnish

Bag of your favorite tortilla chips

 

Pan One-Ingredients:

½ the stems from cilantro bunch

TSP Mexican Oregano

2 Cloves of garlic

TSP Salt

Dried guajillo pepper seeded and stem removed

Water to cover contents of pan

 

In a deep sauce pan, cover chicken breast with water. Add two whole cloves of garlic, half of the stems from the cilantro bunch, one TSP Mexican oregano (or regular oregano), TSP salt, and one dried guajillo pepper seeded and with the stem removed. Bring to a boil for 20 minutes.

 

Pan Two- Ingredients:

8 Medium tomatillos peeled, washed, cored and quartered

½ the stems from cilantro bunch

½ Red onion quartered

2 Cloves of garlic

2 Anaheim peppers

TSP Mexican Oregano

2 TSP salt

Water to cover contents of pan

 

On the stove (if you have a gas open flame) or on a grill, roast your Anaheim peppers. Set aside to cool then remove stems and seeds. In a deep sauce pan, add all your above ingredients and then cover contents with water. Simmer for 45 minutes until completely reduced. 

While your pans are simmering and boiling (and making your house smell absolutely amazing), in a small pan toast one cup of raw pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, until they crackle and slightly plump.

 

In a blender, combine toasted pumpkin seeds, add all contents from pan two, add contents from pan one except the chicken, a handful of cilantro, a handful of spinach and blend until a smooth consistency. Pour back into one of your deep pans. Add two cups of chicken broth to your blender to clean it out and pour into your pan.  Add a 29oz can of hominy to your pan. Be sure to rise and strain your hominy before adding. Shred your chicken into fine pieces and add chicken to your pan. Be sure to stir and reheat.

 

Serve in a shallow bowl topped with fresh radishes, slices of avocado, queso fresco, a little fresh cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream. Also include a handful of tortilla chips to sop up all the Mexican goodness.

 

This pazole will be a crowd pleaser! You can prepare it way before your guests arrive and have it warmed on the stove ready to serve. Paired with your Jicama Chile & Lemon appetizer, a glass of white wine, and maybe just a scoop of vanilla ice cream dusted with cinnamon and chocolate sauce for dessert.  This combination is the perfect Mexican comfort food dinner party!

 

Hope you enjoyed the first two posts from the Vintage Ladle.

 

Have a wonderful week!

 

 

 

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