Sharing, Connecting and Pozole

An herbaceous spring pozole recipe and more. Something deep inside me lights up in the presence of fresh herbs. I know it’s the direct result of all the years I have spent tagging along with women in kitchens across rural landscapes, from Holland to Peru, Israel, Mexico, Nicaragua, Tunisia, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, Ecuador, Italy, Greece, and beyond.

I found that, where the women used fresh herbs, the food was always more flavorful and the communities more joyous. I became more joyous. And through the culinary and cultural wisdom gained through my encounters with these marvelous women in their kitchens, I became a really good cook.

By harvesting the multitudes of ideas, traditional recipes, flavors, and ingredients that have swirled around me, I have created a fresh, global cooking style laden with fresh herbs that is completely unique to me.

Yet this style is tethered to everything I’ve seen, everyone I have crossed paths with, and everywhere I’ve been.

This spring pozole pays homage to my fresh global cooking style and the beautiful women who fostered it.

Herbaceous Spring Pozole

Serves 6-8

My recipe is a modern version of green pozole that preserves the authentic, traditional taste of one of Mexico’s most iconic soups.

I load it with lots of fresh herbs, spring greens, and a harmonious blend of flavorful braised pork, chicken, chilies, tomatillos, and hominy. It’s fresh and healthy and, most importantly, easy to make.

Traditionally, authentic green pozole involves a hand-pounded paste of herbs, pumpkin seeds, and mild or spicy green chili peppers.

By incorporating a few clever shortcuts, I’ve not only streamlined the usually lengthy pozole-making process but also deepened the overall flavors without making it too meat-rich.

Related Article: Superfoods, the Commercial Strategy Aimed at Good Health

While it may seem unconventional to mix chicken and pork, trust me, the flavors meld incredibly well and create a beautiful broth for the vegetables to swim in.

The recipe yields a perfectly spiced soup in terms of heat, but feel free to add more heat by incorporating an additional green chili into the verde sauce.

If you have access to Mexican herbs like Hoja Santa, epazote, or culantro, consider tossing them into the blender with the cilantro for an extra burst of some unique green flavor.

These Mexican herbs can be hard to find, which is why I grow them in my garden, but many Hispanic stores carry them, so be sure to check those out. And don’t overlook your radish leaves—toss them in, too, as they contribute a subtle sharpness to the soup that I really love.

Ingredients for the Spring Pozole

For the verde sauce

1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped6-7 tomatillos, husks removed, chopped into quarters2 teaspoons salt, plus more for the soup2 cups water
1 poblano chili pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves (optional)1 bunch of cilantro, stems removed, roughly chopped
1 jalapeno chili pepper, deseeded and chopped2 tablespoons pumpkin seedsHandful of radish leaves (optional)
2 tablespoons neutral oil or olive oil, plus more for the soup1 cup of spring greens (mix and match whatever you have on hand: spinach, carrot tops, young kale, arugula, and even romaine lettuce)½ cup of chopped Mexican herbs like hoja santa, epazote or culantro (optional)

For the soup

3-4 tablespoons of neutral oil like olive oil or avocado oil1 serrano chili pepper, deseeded and finely chopped2 teaspoon of cumin2 cups of hominy, precooked
½ medium sized chopped red onion1 medium carrot, chopped small1 teaspoon of smoked paprikaLime slices
2 cloves garlic, chopped1 large chicken breast (6-8 ounces), cubed small1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepperSliced chilies
1 poblano chili pepper, deseeded and chopped¾ pound of pork, cubed small2 teaspoons of fresh oregano leaves, chopped (sub 1 teaspoon dried)Cilantro leaves
Warm tortillas1 teaspoon of salt4 cups of waterAvocado cubes or slices


For the verde sauce:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine the onions, poblanos, jalapenos, and tomatillos in a baking dish. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds, salt, and oil. Add the optional fresh thyme leaves. Mix well.
  3. Roast for about 25-30 minutes until slightly brown and soft. Cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Place the roasted mixture in a blender, and add cilantro, radish leaves, Mexican herbs (if using), spring greens, and water. Blend until smooth. Set aside.

For the soup

  1. Heat a heavy-bottom soup pan with a few tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onions, garlic, poblano, serrano, and carrots. Sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add chicken and pork. Sauté and stir until the meat slightly browns, another 4-5 minutes. Once browned, add salt, other spices, and fresh herbs.  Stir well.
  4. Allow the mixture to cook for a few more minutes on medium-high heat.
  5. Pour in the blended green mixture, stir, and let it cook for a few minutes.
  6. Add the 4 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the temperature and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes.
  7. Add the cooked hominy, stir, and cover. Simmer for another 20 minutes.
  8. Turn off the heat, cover it, and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Garnish the soup with sliced radishes, cilantro leaves, avocado slices, and lime wedges. Add sliced chilies for more heat. Serve with warm tortillas and some sweet and spicy hot sauce.

For serving:

Prep: 30 minutes

Cook: 60 minutes

Nissa Pierson is a noted herb expert, cooking teacher, and accomplished recipe developer. She writes about fresh herbs on her blog