Cooking with Emotion

by Katie Lehn, RD

A couple years ago I spent my first Christmas away from my immediate family. I was surprised by how much it affected me. It’s funny how you don’t realize the role company plays during the holidays until it’s lacking. I enjoyed a lovely Christmas with my extended family in Tucson, however, I found myself missing my mom, dad and sister quite a bit. In an attempt to fill the void, I had a grand plan to attempt pozole for the first time, thinking the aroma might help fill my lonely home.

I was first introduced to pozole at a holiday work party. Man, was I impressed! My boss had executed the dish to perfection! I never did get around to making pozole that year, but it has been haunting my list of cooking projects ever since. As the mornings get cooler (or what us Tucsonans refer to as cool) I am finding it more difficult to pull myself away from the comfort of my covers. My pup, Bingley, is snuggling closer than usual and pleading me to snooze my alarm just one more time. Even though the daytime temperatures remain a bit warm, I’m craving a warm bowl of soup to compliment the “cool” weather. The time has finally come to make pozole!

Experimenting in the kitchen is what I consider a luxury. Having the freedom to just “go for it” can be quite liberating. I have forever been one who felt anxious without a recipe, and still am. Over the years I have slowly removed the training wheels and pushed myself out of the recipe box. Now, don’t let me fool you. I did a good deal of research before jumping into this one. It was my first attempt after all!

Thinking back to my initial urge to make pozole that lonely holiday season, it must be said that food should never be used to mend an emotion. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t use emotion when cooking! Feelings play a vital role in keeping us excited about nourishing ourselves. Emotions such as the excitement of your favorite produce coming into season, heart warming memories of your grandfather’s famous lentil soup or joy from the first time you tasted a handpicked strawberry, can all be used as inspiration to cultivate variety in your day-to-day meal planning.

My version of pozole may be far from authentic, but there’s one thing for sure, it’s bubbling over with excitement. So, for once, let yourself be overcome by emotion! Translate that emotion into action by inspiring a beautiful meal created with passion.

Tomatillo Pozole

Warm yourself up with a hot bowl of Pozole.


  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 8 tomatillos
  • 1 onion
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 4 fresh green chilis (or two 4oz cans of green chili- mild, medium or hot depending on your palate)
  • 1 lime
  • 2 pounds organic pork shoulder or natural, anti-biotic & hormone free
  • 1 25 oz can non-GMO hominy (or two 15 oz cans)
  • 32 oz organic chicken stock
  • Toppings
  • 1 bunch of radishes
  • ½ head of cabbage
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 2 avocados
  • optional: non-GMO whole corn tortilla chips


  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Keep dry skin on garlic and tomatillos and add to the pan. Roast, rotating as needed until browned on all sides. Add to blender.
  3. Cut onion into quarters and remove outer dry skin.
  4. Add onion, jalapeno and fresh green chili to pan. Roast until browned on all sides. Add to blender.
  5. Squeeze juice of one lime into blender.
  6. Blend tomatillo mixture into a puree. Add mixture to crockpot.
  7. Add pork shoulder and chicken stock to crockpot. Ensure pork is entirely covered by tomatillo/broth mixture.
  8. Drain hominy and add to crockpot.
  9. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
  10. While soup is cooking prepare the toppings. Thinly slice radishes using a mandolin or sharp knife.
  11. Shred cabbage (or buy pre-shredded).
  12. Cut lime into wedges. Roughly chop cilantro. Cut avocado in half lengthwise, peel and slice.
  13. Serve hot, with your preference of toppings.

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