I spent the weekend working on my recipe for pozole, a traditional stew from Mexico, and it’s been impossible not to see this wonderful dish as Mexico’s answer to the Vietnamese phở. It’s a hearty stock, chock full of meat and a starch, served with a variety of garnishes that the diner can add to personal taste. And I suspect, as with phở, devotees will spend their lives searching for that perfect bowl of pozole.
Take a good stock—my preference is turkey stock—and add seared, grill-marked hunks of pork for a long, slow simmer. Shred the pork, add a nice mole sauce to the mix, and fill it out with a batch of hominy. This is your base, and it’s a good one; good enough to have all on its own.
But wait! There’s more!
You can split up the work on this dish, breaking it up over two days. On Day One, you take the long-duration tasks and prepare the stock and the meat, even prepare the mole. On Day Two, you put it all together, giving you time to spend with guests (and look like a master chef!)
Hang on! It gets better!
Now give everyone a steaming bowl of hearty goodness and let them add, well, just about anything they want: slices of buttery avocado, crumbled bits of salty queso fresco, chopped herbs like cilantro or oregano, whisper-thin shreds of green cabbage or romaine, crisp-fried tortilla strips. Squeeze a wedge of lime over the whole thing and dig in.