Pozole Blanco con Salsa de Chile de Arbol

De Arbol (Capsicum Annuum) means tree like in Spanish. The plant has thick, upright, woody stems and the chile itself is narrow, curved and bright red in color. Believed to be closely related to the pequin, the De Arbol is thin fleshed, with tannic, smoky, grassy flavor and searing heat. This chile has a heat range of 7.5 on the heat scale of 1-10. De Arbol Chiles are comparable to a Cayenne Pepper. Scoville heat units 15,000 to 30,000.

Suggested Use:
De Arbol is a hot chile and a staple in Southwest kitchens. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish. Be adventurous and add them to your next stew or chili along with the other spices. Add some heat to your next salsa or Mexican dish.

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Arbol chile sauce:

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
2 cups dried arbol chiles, stemmed (about 1-1/2 oz.)
2 cups boiling water
1/2 tsp. ground allspice


3-1/2 pounds pigs’ feet (about 4), split, rinsed under cold water, or 3-1/2 pounds meaty pork neck bones
2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs, cut into 2
1 pound meaty pork neck bones
12 cups water
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tbsp. fine sea salt

8 cups drained canned white hominy (from about five 15 oz. cans)

3 limes, cut into wedges
2 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
1 cup chopped white onion
1 cup thinly sliced radishes


For árbol chile sauce:

Cook the garlic cloves in a heavy small skillet over medium-low heat until the cloves begin to soften and blacken in spots. Turn them occasionally for about 15 minutes. Cool and peel the garlic. Transfer to small bowl and add the sesame seeds to the same skillet. Stir over medium-low heat until golden, about 6 minutes. Add the sesame seeds to the same bowl.

Combine the chiles and the 2 cups of boiling water in a medium bowl. Let stand until the chiles soften and the water is cool, about 2 hours. Drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Chop the chiles and place them in a blender with the seeds. Add 1 cup of the reserved soaking liquid and puree until almost smooth. Add the allspice, garlic and sesame seeds, then puree until smooth, adding more soaking liquid by 1/4 cupfuls to thin the puree if desired. Pour the puree into the strainer set over a bowl. Press on the solids in the strainer to extract as much liquid as possible for the sauce.

For soup:

Place the pigs feet, boneless pork pieces and neck bones in a very large pot and add the 12 cups of water. Bring to a boil, skimming any gray foam from the surface. Add the garlic and salt, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the pork is tender, about 1 hour 45 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the pigs feet, boneless pork pieces and bones to a bowl and let cool.

Pull the meat in small chunks from the pigs feet and neck bones; discarding the bones and cartilage. Shred the boneless pork pieces coarsely and return all the meat to the broth in the pot. Add the hominy and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes to blend the flavors, skimming any foam from the surface. Season the soup to taste with more salt. (The sauce and soup can be prepared 1 day ahead of time. Cover and chill the sauce. Cool the soup slightly, then chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Rewarm the soup before serving.)

Ladle the soup into individual bowls and put the sauce, limes, cabbage, onion, and radishes alongside to add to the soup.

Yields 8-10 servings.

Recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine, May 2003.