Fricase is a spicy Bolivian-style pork soup served with potatoes and maiz, hominy. It shares some of the same flavors as a Mexican red chile pork pozole.
While visiting my family in Texas, I was fortunate enough to enjoy some authentic Bolivian fricasé. Joanne and Christian are long-time friends of my brother and sister-in-law. And both of their families are from La Paz, Bolivia. I was intrigued by this recipe, because as I saw the ingredients, it was very much like preparing Mexican-style pozole. And very much like pozole, Joanne explained how this recipe is typically enjoyed during New Year’s, particularly after a long night out. The difference was that for the fricasé, Joanne added some very fragrant ají powders, both in red and yellow. The ají spices are brought directly from Bolivia when her mom visits. I knew that I would want to prepare this dish once I returned home, and Joanne gave me some great tips on substitutions I could use to adapt the recipe.
For the Soup Base
2½pounds pork steaks or country ribs, sliced into 1 inch pieces
Combine the dry spices, reserving the yellow ají paste. Add the meat to the pot and cover with seasoing mix until well coated. Let sit for 20 minutes.
Cover the seasoned pork generously with water, at least 10-12 cups. Mix in the yellow ají paste. Bring to a boil, skimming the foam off the top as needed. Reduce to a steady simmer and cover partially.
Here is my small twist to the recipe. While the pork was simmering, I added 1/3 white onion, 4 smashed cloves of garlic and 2 bay leaves. This is up to you if you would like to add them. Continue simmering for 2 1/2 hours or until pork is very tender and broth has reduced. Taste for salt as it cooks down.
Once pork is tender, reduce heat slightly. Transfer the potatoes to a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until fork tender. In another pot, add the hominy including the liquid. Add a little more water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook while potatoes are cooking.
Once potatoes are tender and the maíz has bloomed a bit, remove from heat. To serve, ladle some broth and pork into serving bowl. Add a few potatoes and about 1/2 cup of hominy to the soup. This fricasé is simply served with a Bolivian-style crusty bread.
This soup is like chili! Taste 10 times better the day after. Prepare ahead and enjoy!