Today is the first day of Spring. Here in Brooklyn there is still snow on the ground and I’m wearing a sweater. As someone who is a avid admirer of soups and chowders… this is a great excuse to break out the slow cooker and make a recipe I’ve been wanting to make since we were in Mexico.
We actually spent most of our time in Mexico away from our swanky resort. We took day trips to Chichen Itza *, Tulum, Valladolid and numerous spots throughout the Yucatan. One thing that struck me was that everywhere we went there was soup – lots of soup**. We didn’t have any of course but there was a turkey and rice soup and a green pork soup called Pozole Verde. Pozole Verde stood out to me because this soup is as Mexican as Mexican food can get. In fact many believe this soup was being made by the Aztecs for like a century before the Spanish showed up and everything went to hell. The first recorded mention of Pozole Verde was in a book titled The Universal History of the Things of New Spain by Bernardino de Sahagún in 1545. Of course Ol’Bernardino claims this soup was originally made using people meat…Yep People Soup. He claims that pig meat was used in the soup to replace the people meat when yeah know people meat supplies were low. Now whether this is true, some Aztecs were having some fun with their new weirdo visitors, some prejudiced minds were letting their imaginations run wild or some combination of all the above is accurate – well that’s just one of those things lost to time. I can tell you that we don’t use people or pig meat to make ours. YES! 100% people and pig meat free!
What this soup does have is tomatillos! If you’ve never met one – tomatillo usually look like little green tomatoes with a single husk on the outside but they can also be red or even purple. But even though they look like little green tomatoes – they’re not unripe tomatoes so if you buy a bunch don’t wait for them to turn red to use or anything like that. They’re their own vegetable and really good in Mexican food. We use them in our Salsa Verde recipe.
If you cant find these fresh in your area – you can always use canned tomatillos or fresh tomatoes. No – it won’t be the same but it’ll work and still be delicious.
We used May Wah’s Vegan Citrus Spare Ribs to replace the pork in this recipe. I actually was reminded that I wanted to make this recipe after a reader asked me on facebook if I’d tried Vegetarian Plus’s Citrus Spare Ribs and what they could do with them besides over rice or in a sandwich. Both of these mock meat products are great in this recipe because they keep their firmness and flavor in hot soup. If you can’t find these guys where you live – you can use gardein beefless tips or smoked tempeh. Really either would be great too just keep in mind that you can’t just take out one and replace another without compensating oil and flavor. So I feel obligated to recommend if you’re going to tinker… you have to follow through and taste and retaste your soup to get that right.
I know I’ve been a little focused on Mexican food lately. It might be because it was St.Patrick’s Day and something about St.Patrick’s Day always makes me long for Mexican food. Maybe it’s because we were in Mexico for our babymoon (if you’ve been looking through our pictures – you probably noticed my belly) and now that we’re starting again – well I’ve been thinking a lot about the good times and how excited we were to start our family. I’m finding myself inspired to finally veganize all these recipes we saw when we were Mexico. Maybe it’s just time.
So dig out your slow cooker or largest stew pot and let’s get started making this literally legendary soup.
Vegan Pozole Verde
8 cups Better Than Bouillon, Vegan Chicken Broth, made per instructions on the package
1 can Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
1 large Bell Pepper, diced (we used an orange one but really any color would be nice)
1/4 teaspoon Hot Sauce
3 teaspoons Cumin
1 Tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
1/2 teaspoon Crushed Black Peppercorns
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
4 large ripe Tomatillos, husked and diced (will be a little over a cup)
1 large Red Onions, diced very small
1 Jalapeño, sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 can White Homney, rinsed and drained (if you live somewhere where you can use fresh Homney go for it! )
1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar
1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro (you’ll want more to sprinkle over the top)
2 Cups Vegan Pork (see above)
Olive Oil Cooking Spray
2 Radishes, sliced
1 Fresh Avocado, sliced
4 Limes, quartered
Pink Himalayan Salt and Crushed Black Peppercorns to taste
Slow Cooker Instructions
Set your slow cooker to high and toss in all your ingredients except Vegan Pork, Cooking Spray, Radishes, Avocados and Limes and mix. Cover and let simmer for 2 hours. Keep an eye on your soup and stir once in while. Once your Onions get so tender they start to kinda melt into your soup – like you would see in French onion soup – you’re soup is ready to serve.
While your soup is cooking see instructions below.
Stove Top Instructions
Toss all your in ingredients except Vegan Pork, Cooking Spray, Radishes, Avocados and Lime in your largest stew pot and mix. Heat over a medium heat until your soup begins to boil and then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer while stirring occasionally for about an hour or until your Onions are so tender they begin to melt into your soup. You’re looking for your Onions to be similar to what you’d find in French Onion Soup. Once you’ve got that – you’re ready to serve your soup.
While your soup is cooking…
Heat your oven to 375.
Spray a glass baking dish with Olive Oil Cooking Spray and toss in your Vegan Pork. Bake your Vegan Pork for about 20 minutes or until your edges are crispy.
Slice your Avocado and cut your Limes. Give your soup one last taste before serving and add any salt or pepper you need.
Serve your soup hot with Vegan Pork, Avocado slices, Fresh Cilantro, Radish Slices and some Lime wedges to squeeze over the top.
*Our tour guide joked Americans call this massive monument to ancient engineering achievements ‘Chicken Pizza’ – I hope that’s not true.
**And coffee – hot coffee. I admit I expected sodas but the hot coffees might have been there for the American tourists that were everywhere.