Pozole Rojo de Puerco - Red Pozole with Pork Ribs

Pozole Rojo de Puerco - Red Pozole with Pork RibsIt is so amazing what a difference in flavor you get between fresh chilies and dried. Pozole verde is made using fresh chilies while pozole rojo is made with the same types of chilies after they have been dried.

It’s interesting how everyone has their own personal likes between the two. For example, I absolutely love the fresh flavors of the green sauce with ground chilies and tomatillos, whereas Andrew definitely has a preference for the red sauce, with it’s sharp heat and smokiness.

I encourage you to try them both, and especially to experiment with the types of chili you prefer in each sauce. Along with recipes for each of those, we have also posted vegetarian options, so there should be plenty to choose from!

Now, a word about dried chilies…

Obviously every dried chili has to have come from a fresh chili at some point. Interestingly they often change the name between the two. The choice for use of chilies in both the green and red pozole sauces is completely up to the chefs, however, the dried chilies sure can pack the heat. I’ll lay out a few of the most common chilies here, from lease heat to most:

California Chilies are Dried Anaheims (AKA New Mexico or Hatch)- These can be quite mild, but every few might have an unexpected bite. Enchilada sauce is most commonly made using these chilies.

Ancho Chilies are Dried Pablanos – Obviously they have more heat than a bell pepper, but they really are not considered spicy. This is what is use in chili rellenos. Cooking for your children or grandma? This might be a good choice. They have an earthy and sweet flavor.

Pasilla Chilies are Dried Chilaco or Chile Negro – These are mild to medium in heat with rich flavor.

Guajillo Chilies are Dried Mirasol Chilies – They are of medium heat. I, personally, never seen these fresh.

De Arbol Chilies are Simply Dried De Arbols – These are substantially more spicy than the previous on this list, but adding a portion to your soup is fantastic.

Crushed Red Peppers are usually Dried Cayenne – You may think, “I’ll just use what I have on hand.” You don’t want to do that. You may, however want to add a little if your really want hot soup!

Chipotles are Smoked Jalapenos –
These can be ‘fresh’ in a can or dried. Jalapenos, despite their reputation, are really not that hot on the scale of chilies, however, smoking them brings a very unique flavor that many people really like. You may choose to add them to your soup for this reason.

Chili Powder – This is ground mix that usually includes not only several different kinds of chilies, but also additional spices such as cumin, oregano, and garlic. I suppose you could use chili powder to make your pozole if you really needed to, but I wouldn’t suggest it. It might end up tasting like the watery run-off of a generic can of chili beans.

Paprika – Chilies truly are native to the Americas, however Paprika comes from a particular species that has been adapted to Europe through trade. It is associated with Spain, but most commonly Hungarian cuisine, and comes in many varieties. It is particularly known for being less hot than other chili peppers, but within that standard there are regular, smoked, and ‘sweet‘ grades. The sweet paprika has had the spicy seeds removed before being ground. Paprika might make a decent back-up plan if other, more traditional chilies, are not available.


Pozole Rojo de Puerco - Red Pozole with Pork

The addition of the avocado is nearly crucial in holding the heat under control in this dish.

So, now that you have way more information to work with in choosing your chilies, I release you to the wilds! Go my children and forage freely at your local markets. Gaze upon the multitude of chilies with your new found knowledge and a glint in your eye, as you will now be able to pick, like a pro, the specific chilies to perfect your personally created pozole.

….or you can just copy the recipe I have below. It’s good. It’s a little hot. Be warned.

Pozole Rojo de Puerco – Red Pozole with Pork Shoulder or Ribs

By:semiserious chefs
Serves: 6


  • 2 pounds pork should and/or ribs
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 garlic cloves – minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 T oregano (Mexican preferred)
  • 1/2 T cumin
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 2  28oz cans of hominy
  • 4 oz (1 cup) mixed ground Chilies*
    • See the list above to create your own combination
    • OR 2 ancho chilies, 3 guajillo chilies, 1 T ground de Arbol chili, 1 T pasilla chilies

*To grind your own chilies, break off the stems, split and shake out the seeds. I imagine you could grind them dry, but the most common way is to soak them in water for 30 minutes then grind them into a puree when they are soft. You can use some of the broth for this as you need.


  • avocado – cubed small
  • red radish – sliced thin and halved
  • white onion – diced small
  • jalapenos – thin sliced or fine diced
  • fresh cilantro – chopped
  • cabbage or iceberg lettuce – sliced into thin strips
  • lime wedges
  • tortilla strips


  1. Select 2 pounds of pork either all shoulder, all ribs, or a mix of both as available or desired. Add them with the stock, water, garlic, and bay to a pot with a lid. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and allow to gently boil continuously for 2 hours, until the meat is tender and falls off the bone.
  2. Remove the meat from the broth and allow to cool to the touch. Using two forks shred all the meat and return to the pot.
  3. Grind your chilies as needed then add them, with the cumin, oregano, diced onions, and hominy to the pot and bring to a firm boil for 10 minutes.
  4. While your soup finishes, prep your garnishes of choice.
  5. Serve a hearty helping of soup to each guest with a large plate of garnishes in the center of the table. Allow each person to top their own soup as desired.


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