Mexican soup - basic information

bowl of lentil soup

Mexican soup

Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup that usually consists of hominy, pork, chicken and spices. It probably originated with the ancient Aztecs, but modern audiences still enjoy the spicy flavor of pozole. The preparation of this dish requires several hours and moderate preparation. If you are not familiar with Mexican cuisine, you may feel a little confused about pozole. This confusion is easy to explain. Pozole is a type of soup that usually consists of hominy (a type of swollen, pre-soaked corn kernel), various meats and a variety of spices. Although pozole is eaten by millions of people every year, especially when the weather turns cold, it is not a modern dish. Indeed, the origins of pozole can be traced back several thousand years. At least for the last six hundred years, it has been a staple dish of Mexico City. The literal translation may be a mixture of "hominy" and "frothy," although many still debate this point. Either way, this dish was already popular in the Aztec Empire when Spanish invaders found their way there in the 1500s. Menudo, which means "insignificant" in Spanish, is perhaps a reference to the cuts of meat used as the main ingredient in this soup dish. It is usually made with unique ingredients such as beef tripe (stomach lining) and pig's feet. It is flavored with ancho and poblano chilies, as well as onions and garlic. Menudo is traditionally known as a folk remedy for hangovers. This may be the reason why the dish is popular on January 1, a day when many reach for the morning remedy for one too many drinks.

Most of our ancient ancestors were not farmers or herders. Instead, they were nomadic scavengers who roamed the land in small tribes. When humans began experimenting with animal domestication and agriculture, everything changed. Thanks to archaeological evidence and intensive work by botanists, we can pinpoint almost exactly when ancient humans began breeding and raising animals. For example, it seems that prehistoric tribes in Mexico began growing corn about 7,000 years ago. Most importantly, the original pozole dish probably differed somewhat from the one served today. That's because chickens didn't arrive in South and Central America until the 1300s, and pigs weren't introduced until Spanish invaders and explorers arrived in the 1400s. The earliest versions of the pozole likely included a mix of muscovy duck, hairless Mexican dog and wild turkey. These animals were native to Mesoamerica. Modern versions usually exclude these meats, although duck or turkey may appear occasionally.

This is worth remembering!

Pozole, also spelled posole, means "hominy" in Spanish. This soup is a great way to enjoy hominy pork, a form of soaked field corn. It is cooked with hominy in a broth usually seasoned with chili, cumin, oregano and garlic. There are many variations on this classic dish, including red, green or white broth. The color of the broth is influenced by the type of chili peppers used. The white bouillon variety, pozole blanco, has no chili. The green variety usually has tomatillos and jalapenos. The red version is usually flavored with ancho, guajillo or piquin chili. Tender pieces of chicken combine with the creamy texture of the avocado to create a light but filling soup. Onions, cilantro and garlic flavor the broth. To give the soup more depth of flavor, you can add a variety of popular soup vegetables, such as peas or carrots. For a little zing, you can add thinly sliced jalapenos or sprinkle with lime wedge juice. For an even more hearty meal, add rice or pasta to the broth.

If you want to impress everyone, this Sopa de Fideo, also known as Mexican noodle soup, should get the job done! The highlight is the blended tomato sauce made from chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic and chicken broth. Traditionally, locals make this recipe with chicken broth, but you can use chicken or vegetable broth for a vegan soup. The cabbage, zucchini and chickpeas are added after everything has come to a boil, so the vegetables don't overcook. Finally, sprinkle the bowl with cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice and warm tortillas.

Summary

In addition to beans, roasted tomatoes, vegetables, broth and Mexican spices are integral to many Mexican soups. They go wonderfully with rolls, cornbread or a hot cup of steamed rice. Don't forget to sprinkle each bowl with a dollop of sour cream and salsa. Today, pozole is made with pork and chicken. It also contains tons of spices, some of which may not have been available to the pre-Aztec peoples who produced the dish. Still, many of the basic characteristics remain consistent, particularly the use of hominy.

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