The Story of Pozole
We're nearly at the end of 100 Dishes to Eat Now, our tasty countdown leading up to our Best of 2012 issue!
Many of us are familiar with the pork-and-hominy stew called pozole that's available as a weekend special at taquerias in East Harlem, Sunset Park, Hell's Kitchen, and Corona, among other places here and there in the city. Our pozole is generally a milky white, or on rare occasions when it can be found, a much spicier red color. Now an East Village restaurant offers a more obscure green version. And is it tasty!
According to Mexican cookbook author Diane Kennedy writing in My Mexico, the soup originated in one of the western states running from Nayarit to Guerrero, where it is eaten as supper and especially prized in arid seaboard areas. Guerrero clearly has the most variety, though, and red versions found in New York are usually on the menus of places run by immigrants from Guerrero, where it's eaten at breakfast. You can see how it would wake you up in a big way.
She also mentions a green version prepared only "at midday on Thursdays" in Guerrero. This rare dish seems to be exactly what is being served at East Village Mexican cafe Sabor a Mexico. In the usual fashion, it comes accompanied by things you can toss into the soup at your discretion. In this case ia catalog of explosive flavors: coarse Mexican oregano, matchsticks of radish, chopped cilantro and jalapeno, minced onions, lime wedges, and a half avocado crosshatched for easy access.
Unlike some of the Pueblan places, there are no bonus tostadas (though tortilla chips are provided for tossing in), and the soup deploys chicken only, and not the pork or the pork/chicken combo that one usually finds.
The soup still feels like a giant meal, with a broth so rich and herby you'll be sipping instead of gulping. It's a great feed.
Sabor a Mexico
160 First Avenue