Pozole comes in the three colors of the Mexican flag: green, white and red. Pozole blanco is known for its rich pork broth. As a rule of thumb, blanco is for pozole purists. Pozole rojo is known for its beautiful crimson, chile-forward flavors, and it’s the signature traditional pozole for a reason. But I think pozole verde takes the cake with its complex broth made with pumpkin seeds, cilantro and tomatillo. This green variation tastes like it was cooking for hours and hours but comes together in just about an hour. Pozole verde hails from the state of Guerrero located in Mexico's Pacific coast. It is traditionally served with pork and topped with chunks of chicharrón. In this version, I use shrimp instead of pork for a lighter summer version of the dish. The plump shrimp shines against the backdrop of the rich nutty broth, the brightness from the tomatillos and herbs and the mellow heat from the fresh serrano chile.
Fill a large stockpot with 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the hominy, bay leaves and 1 teaspoon salt and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the hominy is tender and slightly puffed, 15 to 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, tortillas and 2 cups water to a blender and puree until smooth.
When the hominy are puffed, add the pumpkin seed mixture to the stockpot and stir to combine. Simmer on low as you prepare the salsa verde.
To make the salsa verde, add the tomatillos, cilantro, garlic, serrano, yellow onion and 1 cup water to the same blender and puree until smooth. You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your blender.
Add the oil to a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, carefully add the salsa verde and cinnamon stick. Partially cover the skillet with a lid until the salsa stops splattering and starts to simmer slowly. Uncover the skillet and continue to cook until the salsa is dark green and starts to thicken, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the salsa verde and cinnamon to the stockpot with the hominy mixture and continue to simmer to allow the flavors to meld, 15 to 20 minutes. You may notice that the mixture separates just a bit, but it will come together as it simmers. Taste and season with salt, about 1 tablespoon. Using a slotted spoon, remove the cinnamon stick and bay leaves. The broth should have a slightly thickened consistency, like heavy cream. If it’s too thin, cook for 5 to 10 minutes more. If it's too thick, add 1/2 cup water.
Slice the shrimp in half crosswise and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Remove the stockpot from the heat and immediately add the shrimp to the stockpot. The shrimp will cook with the carryover heat, turning pink and being fully cooked in 3 to 5 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, scoop some of the hominy and shrimp mixture into deep bowls, about 1 cup per serving. Ladle some of the verde broth into each bowl and garnish with radishes, red onion, avocado, cabbage and a pinch of dried oregano. Serve with tostadas and lime wedges.
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