Now that it finally feels like fall (brrr!), we're all about seeking warmth in a bowl, namely a bowl of pozole, the traditional pork-and-hominy Mexican stew typically matched with a swell of ingredients that add another dimension of texture and flavor. And while the hearty stew is usually reserved for special occasions, especially in Mexico, these six Denver restaurants serve it every day.
At Acorn, Steve Redzikowsk's stellar restaurant inside The Source, the fragrant bowl of pozole (pictured above) brims with roasted Hatch green chiles, white hominy, soft onions, Mexican oregano, ancho chile paste and tender cubes of smoked and braised pork. The deeply flavored pork broth, garnished with avocado slices and fistful of cilantro leaves, is judiciously jolted with lime to give it a tart finish.
3350 Brighton Blvd.; 720-542-3721
While 7 Leguas Mexican Grille doesn't look like much from the outside, the festive interior is a riot of bright colors and the menu is a vast and varied scroll of outstanding real-deal Mexican dishes that satisfy just about every south-of-the-border craving, including pozole (pictured below). Here, the pork-intensive stew is a pungent brew of several chiles (including chile guajillo) that's elevated with the obligatory accoutrements: sliced radishes, cilantro, cabbage, lime wedges and white corn tortillas.
4550 E. Colfax Ave.; 303-322-4431
Season five Top Chef winner Hosea Rosenberg, chef-owner of Blackbelly Market, hails from New Mexico, where pozole, like green chiles, is a compulsion. And Rosenberg's signature powerhouse pozole (pictured below) — a savory concoction teeming with roasted and charred Hatch green chiles, ropes of house-smoked pork (procured from one of the many pigs that he breaks down in his butchering quarters every week), tomatoes and cilantro — would make any New Mexico native green with envy.
1606 Conestoga St.; 303-247-1000
It's not new, nor is it trendy, but we love Tarasco's New Latino Cuisine for all sorts of reasons, including its pozole (pictured below), an aggressive chile-red broth underscored by chunks of pork and fluffy kernels of white hominy. And there are plenty of ways to kick up the flavor quotient: wedges of lime, onions, a pinch of oregano, salted housemade tortilla chips, roasted guajillo chiles and bold, spicy dried chile de árbol peppers. And if you toss in a splash of the hot — really hot — salsa, it takes the broth to a whole other level.
470 S. Federal Blvd.; 303-922-2387
We're head over heels for the pozole (pictured below) at Leña, a harmonious marriage of tender pork, hominy, ribbons of jicama, toasted pepitas, white onions and dried chiles, including ancho, guajillo and pequin. The flavor-bombed broth is even better with a light squeeze of lime, and it's perfectly fine to crumble the chips — made with fresh corn ground in-house — into your stew to give it added crunch.
24 Broadway; 720-550-7267
At Adelitas Cocina Y Cantina, a rollicking Mexican joint on South Broadway, the super-popular pozole (pictured below), a family recipe, is stained crimson from the guajillo chiles and served with traditional sidekicks of onions, cabbage, cilantro, diced radishes, plenty of lime and either flour or corn tortillas. If you want to turn up the heat, swirl in a spoonful of the simultaneously spicy and fruity habanero salsa.
1294 S. Broadway; 303-778-1294