Pozole Verde with Pumpkin Seed Mole

Stopping by a favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican market, the mountain of in-season tomatillos inspired me to make Pozole Verde with Pumpkin Seed Mole. Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup made with chewy hominy (puffed corn). The broth can either be red or green. The red variety is made with dried red chilies, and the green (verde) is made with tomatillos and green chilies. I have combined the best aspects of a few recipes to create a delicious vegetarian version: roasting veg instead of blanching, and taking it to the next level by enriching the broth with a green pumpkin seed mole. Compared to the famous black mole made with cocoa and roasted red chilies, this green mole is made with ground pumpkin seeds, roasted tomatillos and green chilies. The green mole is so delicious on its own that it could be used in many other dishes. I think it would be lovely over roasted cauliflower.

We choose to use canned hominy for pozole because dried hominy can take hours & hours to cook through. Several years ago, my family made pozole for Christmas dinner and the beautiful, dried hominy refused to cook all the way after countless hours on the stove. We ate so late that night!

Note that I’m a cilantro-phobe, so there’s no cilantro in this recipe. Go ahead and add it if that traditional ingredient will bring you joy. Also note that the soup itself is vegan, and the garnishes can be entirely vegan if you use vegan feta instigated other cheeses.

pozole verde with pumpkin seed mole

25 ounce can hominy, drained

1 onion, diced

1 garlic clove, diced

1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano

5 cups veg broth or water

salt

3/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1 onion, quartered

1 pound tomatillos, papery husks removed

7 cloves garlic, peeled

2 poblano chilies

2 jalapeno or serrano chilies

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

garnishes

tortilla strips or chips

lime wedges

toasted pepitas

toasted oregano

avocado

queso fresco or cotija (or make it plant-based with vegan feta)

method

Drain the can of hominy. Combine the hominy in a large soup pot with the veg broth or water, chopped onion, chopped garlic, dried oregano, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then simmer 20 minutes.

In the meantime, toast the pumpkin seeds on a dry griddle or skillet until they begin to pop. Grind them as finely as possible in a food processor. Set aside ground pumpkin seeds.

Then use the same dry griddle or skillet to roast the remaining vegetables. Arrange the tomatillos, chilies, whole garlic, and quartered onion on the dry griddle. Cook them on medium-high heat, turning often, until they are charred and slightly softened. If smaller items like the garlic cloves are finished before larger pieces, remove them first. Transfer the poblano chilies to a tightly covered bowl to steam as they cool. When the poblanos are cool enough to handle, peel them and discard the stems. Discard the stems of the jalapenos or serranos but do not peel them. Add the roasted chilies and all other roasted vegetables to a blender or processor. Puree until smooth.

Heat the olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Add the ground pumpkin seeds and the pureed roasted vegetables. Sauté about 10 minutes until it becomes thick. Salt to taste. This is your pumpkin seed mole.

Add the pumpkin seed mole to the hominy. Optionally, you may strain the mole for a smoother soup, but note that you’ll lose some flavor. I choose to add it straight to the soup without straining. Simmer about 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Thin with more water or broth if you like. Adjust for salt to taste. Serve with a combination of garnishes.

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