There is one ingredient all versions of this Mexican stew have in common, and it’s right there in the name. Pozole, or hominy, is dried corn that has been preserved through a process called nixtamalization. Once nixtamalized, the kernels can be ground and turned into masa (and, subsequently, tortillas or tamales or what have you), or boiled until tender, like little corn dumplings. This latter treatment flavors all versions of pozole. Put another way, it’s not pozole without pozole.
And it’s not exceptional pozole without amazing stock. I asked Anastacia Quiñones-Pittman, executive chef at José in Dallas, for advice on developing this pozole recipe for the Instant Pot. “The best pozoles start with the broth or stock,” she said. “Depth is key with pozole. You should almost still feel it on your lips even after you’ve taken the last sip.” She should know: her version of pozole verde with chicken, tomatillos, and poblanos is a knockout. At home, Quiñones-Pittman prefers pozole rojo, with pork. “It has dried chiles like ancho and guajillo instead of fresh, and it has a richer broth because you simmer the pork for a few hours.”
When you don’t have time to go the traditional route, the pressure-cook function on your Instant Pot can make a pretty great stock; I’ve included a quick chicken stock recipe below. Or you can use the highest quality store-bought stock you can find. It might not be quite as rich as Quiñones-Pittman’s long-simmered version, but it will do in a crunch if you’re in the middle of a busy weekend or need a hangover cure (it works, she says!). Serve this with plentiful garnishes, as listed below, and share with family and friends.
Instant Pot Pozole Rojo
2 dried ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 dried guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed
2 cups boiling water
1 small onion, cut into quarters
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces (boneless or bone-in are fine; if bone-in, keep the bone and add to the stock during the 20-minute pressure cook)
2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cups chicken stock (store-bought or use recipe below)
1 bay leaf
1 30-ounce can white hominy, drained
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Thinly sliced radishes
Finely diced white onion
- Place the chiles in a heat-safe blender (or heat-safe bowl if your blender pitcher is plastic), and cover with the boiling water. Set aside and let cool completely. Once cool, add onion, garlic, and oregano to the blender and blend until smooth.
- Season the pork with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper. Set the Instant Pot to sauté. When hot, add the oil, and carefully brown the pork pieces (8-12 minutes, about 4 minutes per side). Remove the pork with tongs and set aside.
- Turn off the sauté function. The Instant Pot will remain hot. Carefully add the chile puree—watch for splattering—and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown porky bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.
- Use the chicken stock to rinse out the blender and add to the Instant Pot along with the pork, bay leaf, a large pinch of salt, and a good amount of black pepper. Stir to combine.
- Set Instant Pot to cook for 20 minutes at high pressure. Release the pressure manually.
- Carefully remove the bay leaf and add the hominy. Stir. Set the Instant Pot to cook at high pressure for 5 minutes. Release the pressure manually. Serve with any/all of the garnishes you please.
Instant Pot Chicken Stock
Leftover bones from 1 roast chicken (or buy a rotisserie chicken and reserve the meat for another purpose)
1 onion, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, peeled
2 stalks celery, broken in half
4 garlic cloves, smashed
Small bunch parsley
A few sprigs of thyme
A large pinch of black peppercorns
- Add all of the ingredients to the Instant Pot and fill with water to the MAX FILL line.
- Pressure cook at high pressure for 40 minutes. Manually release pressure.
- Carefully pour the stock through a stainer into a second pot. Cool the stock and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.