• Recipe and photos by Marie Hunt

As we head toward fall and the changing seasons, many of us are thinking about soup and comfort food recipes as we unwind from a busy summer.

At the Hawthorn Tree, we are fortunate to have a plethora of ingredients to craft some incredibly delicious recipes and an accomplished chef in Cheyenne who happens to love herbs too.

Marie Hunt is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University and, bonus, a budding herbalist. We asked Marie to test some recipes using herbs and spices from our apothecary.

Marie’s first dish was nothing short of amazing! She chose to use Epazote, Chenopodium ambrosioides incorporated into Pozole Verde. Epazote is a traditional herb from Central and South America and Pozole dates back to the Aztecs who traditionally prepared it for celebrations to the gods, a good harvest and the changing seasons. Hominy, one of the main ingredients in Pozole, was one of the first gifts given to European settlers.

Epazote, Chenopodium ambrosioides, also known as goosefoot, Jerusalem oak, Jesuit tea, wormseed and Mexican tea is both a culinary herb and historically used by the Mayans as a digestive remedy and an anthelmintic (used to destroy parasites). Its anthelmintic properties are thought to be due to its ascaridole content.*

While some find Epazote overpowering by itself, its hints of lemon, oregano and mint are wonderful when incorporated into soups, and main dishes. Many recipes say to use Epazote as a substitute for Mexican Oregano. Due to its carminative effects, it is often used in bean dishes to combat the uncomfortable side effects.

When we tasted Marie’s Pozole Verde we were left wanting more. We think you’ll find this dish an excellent fall favorite.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition, please seek the advice of a medical practitioner.

*CAUTIONS: Epazote is not recommended for pregnant women.

Pozole Verde featuring Epazote Herb
By Marie Hunt

Base Ingredients:
2lbs. Chicken Breast
2 Bay Leaves
Salt to taste
Half a 50 oz. can Hominy(Optional-1 onion and 2 cloves garlic)

Salsa Verde Ingredients:
8 tomatillos
¼ cup onion
2 garlic cloves
2 Anaheim peppers
3 Jalapenos
1 cup Hominy
1 tsp. Epazote Herb
1 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. Black pepper
Salt to Taste

Salsa Verde Directions:

  1. Roast Anaheim peppers and jalapeños till they blister in a pan on medium to high heat. Continually flip the peppers so they blister evenly. I prefer roasting peppers in a cast iron skillet.
  2. Once peppers are evenly blistered, remove from the pan and place in a ziploc bag for ten minutes to allow steam to soften peppers.
  3. Peel off skin and scrape seeds out from peppers. You can leave the seeds in if you want it extra spicy. Coarsely chop peppers and add to a blender.
  4. Peel and wash tomatillos and add to a small pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil over medium heat. Tomatillos will need to boil for about 10 minutes. Add tomatillos and about a cup of the water from the pot to the blender.
  5. Add onion, garlic, hominy, epazote herb and seasoning to the blender. Blend until smooth.
  6. Strain salsa verde and set aside.

Base Directions:

  1. Place Chicken in a medium sized stock pot and cover with water (about 6 cups), add bay leaves, salt, (optional onion and garlic to pot adds more flavor). Bring water to a boil over medium heat.
  2. After 20 minutes remove foam from the pot and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Once cool, shred chicken with a fork.
    Discard the bay leaves.
  4. Add hominy to the pot and cook on low for 10-15 minutes just enough for the hominy to get heated through.
  5. Add chicken and strained salsa verde to the pot. Cook on low for 20 minutes to allow flavors to combine.

Be creative and add any of your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Marie Hunt is a graduate from Johnson and Wales University and has an Associate of Science in Culinary Arts and a Bachelors in Culinary Nutrition. She received the Emeril Lagasse Scholarship based on a recipe submission and interned at his restaurant in Las Vegas. Marie was a personal chef for more than ten years, worked in clinics and private homes, worked in test kitchens and as a content creator for recipe development. Marie lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming with her husband Evan and loves working with herbs.