Every now and again, I become obsessed with a certain dish I'm introduced to. Case in point, Melbourne restaurant Mamasita's hugely underrated menu item, pozole. For the uninitiated, it's essentially a spicy Mexican soupy stew, usually made with maize grits (hominy), meat (chicken or pork) and flavoured with jalapeños, garlic, coriander and served, poured over shredded lettuce, avocado and radishes - so it's kind of like a soup and a salad in one bowl.
Mamasita's pozole sits there on the menu, largely overlooked in preference for more sexy and conspicuously Mexican dishes such as their delightful tacos de lengua (ox tongue tacos), but that's our loss. It's rich, soothing, spicy and basically the perfect warming soup for the cooler months, that maintains that bright, spicy, savoury, earthy flavour profile we love about Mexican cuisine.
Here is an admittedly not-so-authentic (however delicious) version of pozole verde (this dish also comes in a red, or rojo version, aromatic with ancho and arbol chillies). It's at once light, bright and spicy flavours, but also rich and comforting.
1 organic chicken
1 brown onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 green capsicums
2 fresh jalapeño chillis, tops trimmed
2 long green chillis, tops trimmed
1 tablespoon of chipotle in adobo (any good Latin or gourmet grocer will stock this)
1 x 400g tin cannelini beans, washed and drained (a substitute for hominy, mainly to thicken)
2 bunches coriander, washed thoroughly
1 tbs pickled jalapeños, drained
200g tin tomatillos (if you can't get these, just use more cooking liquid from the chicken)
1/2 a ripe avocado, sliced just before serving
1/4 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
3 red radishes, mandolined into thin slices, set aside in a bowl of water
1-2 tbs Greek yoghurt
A handful good quality tortilla chips (or you can fry corn tortillas in a little oil). I like the ones by La Tortilleria
Wash the chicken inside and out, pat dry and set aside. In a large, heavy based pot on a medium heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil, then the chopped onions and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the onion begins to turn translucent. Add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and oregano and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the chicken and enough water to cover it. Cut the lime in half, squeeze in the juice and throw in the squeezed fruit. Cover with a lid and bring the water to the boil. Remove the lid and reduce to a simmer, skimming any scum from the surface regularly.