Green Chile Chicken Pozole is a hearty, comforting soup based on a traditional Mexican dish.
One of the things I love about Fall is that it's soup season, so I'm excited to share Green Chile Chicken Pozole today.
Pozole or Posole?
Depending on who you ask, people spell the name for this amazing soup "posole" or "pozole"—but they pronounce it the same: "poh-SOH-lay". Restaurants specializing in posole/pozole are "pozolerías," so that's the only reason I'm using the "pozole" spelling.
Not to mention that if you type "posole verde de pollo" into a search engine, Google helpfully asks whether you meant "pozole verde de pollo".
Pozole verde de pollo: the first bowl
I had my first experience with Pozole Verde de Pollo in Cuernavaca, the capital of the Mexican state of Morelos, about 60 miles south of Mexico City.
I visited Cuernavaca for a couple of weeks during graduate school to work in a lab at the university there. One day, while out roaming the streets, I passed a pozolería and was intrigued.
I wish I could remember the name of the place—it was almost literally a hole in the wall. Its entrance was a garage door that stayed rolled up during business hours. I don't think that there was an actual kitchen in the joint, per-sé.
Patrons walked in, got their bowl—which appeared from somewhere in the back, complete with loads of garnishes—and then sat at a tiny counter against a wall to eat.
I decided to try it out because it was packed with locals. Even though I was totally out of my comfort zone, I enjoyed the heck out of that meal. The pozole was amazing: no two bites tasted the same or had the same texture. It was delicious, comforting, and filling.
Even so, almost a decade passed before I attempted to make my own version.
My not-quite-authentic version: Green Chile Chicken Pozole
There are numerous variations on pozole: it's one of those dishes that will be different anywhere you eat it.
Like most things that are delicious and authentic, true pozole verde de pollo involves slowly simmering the chicken.
It requires husking and simmering tomatillos with poblanos and onions, then blending the vegetables into salsa verde.
And then more simmering.
That's not to mention soaking the dried posole corn, and on and on.
So, of course, I had to simplify it.
Green chile chicken pozole: the "verde" in pozole verde de pollo
Salsa verde is incredibly simple to make and it tastes incredible.
It's great stuff to have on hand for weekend snacking, so I make it frequently.
I always plan a couple of meals (in addition to the requisite tortilla chip dunking) to get the most mileage out of the sauce—for example, Pork Salsa Verde, Salsa Verde Enchiladas Suizas, and Salsa Verde Huevos Rancheros. And, naturally, Green Chile Chicken Pozole.
All that being said, you could also just use your favorite jarred salsa verde (make sure it contains tomatillos in addition to the green chiles).
Leftover roast chicken or turkey is ideal for a simple pozole verde de pollo.
This is especially true if you use the chicken or turkey carcass to make 2-day broth in the crockpot, as I've done with Crockpot Turkey Stock and Slow-Cooker Rotisserie Chicken Pho Ga (with the pho, omit the lemongrass, mushrooms, kaffir leaves, ginger, and all of the spices that give the broth an Asian flavor).
Obviously, you can use store-bought broth instead.
I prefer to cube the meat into bite-sized pieces, but shredding it is truer to the authentic dish.
The pozole in green chile chicken pozole
Authentic pozole recipes usually involve dried pozole corn, which you rehydrate overnight. When I've tried doing that, they never seem to come out quite right (still too tough or chewy). So I opt for canned pozole corn (a.k.a., white hominy). My favorite right now is Juanita's: it has a really nice texture, in my opinion.
I add cumin seeds to the pozole: they soften up while the soup simmers, and the occasional pop of cumin flavor is amazing. I add a bay leaf to the simmering soup and remove it later. Mexican oregano is a must (if you can't find it, just use whatever kind of oregano you have on hand).
I think the garnishes are my favorite part of pozole verde de pollo. It takes some doing to chop, slice, and shred all of the garnishes, but you can do some meal-prep in advance and refrigerate the garnishes on a foil-wrapped platter. My favorite garnishes are:
- shredded lettuce
- thinly sliced radish
- sliced jalapeños
- sliced avocado
- chopped cilantro
- pickled red onion
- cotija cheese
- Mexican crema or sour cream
- additional salsa verde
- Mexican oregano
- tortilla chips for crumbling
For the veggies, all but the avocado can be meal-prepped ahead of time. Just store them in small containers in the fridge (you can also prep the garnishes while the soup simmers). If you're using homemade salsa verde, you can prepare it up to 3 days in advance (store in the refrigerator).
To thinly slice the radishes, I use a mandolin (here's the one I use). It's a lot faster than trying to thinly slice them with a knife!
Have a care when you slice the avocado. If you Google "avocado hand" you'll know why. If you're unsure of how to deal with these little beasties, I explain how I like to prep avocados in my Cutting-Board Guacamole recipe.
I make pozole verde de pollo on the stovetop. Since we start with cooked chicken/turkey and broth, it's done in under 45 minutes, including prep. Like most soups, the pozole's taste improves over time: for this reason, I often make it 1–2 days before we plan to eat it.
It's as easy as that! With all the garnishes, this meal is like a soup and salad in one. It's hearty and satisfying—I hope you love it!
If you would like more hearty soup recipes, Caldillo: Green Chile Pork Stew, Soul-Warming Barley Chicken & Vegetable Soup, and Slow-Cooker Rotisserie Chicken Pho Ga are just a few of our favorites. You can also check out my Soups and Stews page!
Or, if you need inspiration to keep from wasting your leftover meat, pop over and read Using up Leftovers! Or, for more Latin American-inspired recipe ideas, check out my Mexican-Inspired Recipes for Cinco de Mayo!
FOR THE SOUP
- 2 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
- 1 large, white onion, diced
- 8 baby carrots, sliced
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- ⅓ cup white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 cups rich chicken or turkey stock (see Recipe Note #1)
- 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
- ½ teaspoon powdered cumin
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 2 cups salsa verde (see Recipe Note #2)
- 25 oz pozole (white hominy), drained and rinsed
- 2 cups cooked chicken or turkey, shredded or cubed into bite-sized pieces
FOR THE GARNISHES
- sliced radish
- shredded lettuce
- sliced jalapeño
- sliced avocado
- pickled red onion (see Recipe Note #3)
- lime wedges
- cotija cheese, grated
- sour cream or Mexican crema
- salsa verde
- tortilla chips
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven. Add the onions and carrots; sauté until the vegetables have softened slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the cumin seeds. Continue sautéing for 3 additional minutes (about 8 in total). The cumin seeds will begin to pop, which is fine.
- Turn the heat to high and add the wine to deglaze the pot, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add in the bay leaf, stock, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, salsa verde, and pozole. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
- Add the chicken or turkey. Continue simmering until the chicken is heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve with your favorite garnishes.
- If you have a rotisserie chicken from the grocery or roast turkey leftovers from your holiday dinner, use the carcass to make 2-day stock in the crockpot. I explain the technique in Slow-Cooker Rotisserie Chicken Pho Ga (leave out the lemongrass, kaffir leaf, ginger, and spices) and Crockpot Turkey Stock.
- You can use my homemade Salsa Verde or your favorite jarred salsa verde, such as Frontera's Tomatillo Salsa (affiliate link—no extra cost to you!).
- Check out my Easy Pickled Red Onion recipe. It takes just a few minutes to make!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 bowl (about 2 cups)
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g