RECIPE: Quick chicken pozole to combat the February chills

Quick chicken pozole is great for weeknights. Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Quick chicken pozole is great for weeknights. Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Hearty, spicy and warming, there are few soups better for combating February weather than pozole, the Mexican hominy-and-meat soup. Most traditional recipes are more Sunday supper than weeknight fare, but it is possible to transform the dish into a 30-minute meal.

To make this speedier version, you will need to rely on canned hominy. It does not have the same chewy-tender texture of dried and hours-long simmered hominy, but it is fine for a quick weeknight soup. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces, are likewise fast-cooking because they contain a fair amount of fat, bringing flavor and body to the soup that you wouldn’t find with chicken breast meat. (If you prefer to make pozole with pork, you’ll want to use a large tenderloin and increase the amount of oil by a tablespoon or two. Cut the tenderloin into the same bite-sized pieces.)

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Most pozole recipes call for a chile puree, made from onions, garlic and reconstituted dried chiles, which is then stirred in toward the end of cooking. This step requires time and ingredients that would quickly run over the 5:30 Challenge limits. Instead, pick up a jar of high-quality chile powder — you can use a blend or a powder made from a single chile (ancho is particularly good). And instead of using both onions and garlic, slice a few large shallots, which are the closest you’ll get, flavor-wise, to a combination of those two ingredients.

Finally, feel free to pick and choose the toppings from the list below based on what you already have in your fridge. Personally, I can’t have pozole without radishes, cilantro and oregano, but there’s plenty of room here to make it your own.

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Quick chicken pozole. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Quick chicken pozole. (Chris Hunt for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Credit: Chris Hunt

Credit: Chris Hunt

Quick Chicken Pozole
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1/2-inch, bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups low-sodium or unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 (25-ounce) can hominy
  • On the side: Assorted toppings, such as cabbage, avocado, onion, radishes, lime, cilantro, and/or dried oregano
  • Coat the bottom of a large saucepan with about 2 tablespoons of oil. Place over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken, give the mixture a stir, then add the chile powder, and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until you can smell the chile powder, about 1 minute.
  • Stir in the broth and hominy, along with the liquid in the can. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and the broth is flavorful, 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve with the toppings of your choice. Serves 4.

Nutritional information

Per serving: Per serving: 377 calories (percent of calories from fat, 36), 30 grams protein, 31 grams carbohydrates, 6 grams fiber, 15 grams total fat (3 grams saturated), 103 milligrams cholesterol, 1,289 milligrams sodium.

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