In its 17 years as a Fitler Square mainstay for prepared foods, Bacchus Market has made a reputation with updated American comforts like meat loaf, brisket, mashed potatoes, and turkey chili. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a relatively exotic pint of zesty Mexican pozole verde in the take-out fridge. Pozole, the traditional stew of hominy corn, chilies, and meat often served at special occasions, has become one of owner Tracey Wolfson's favorite things since her parents began living half the year in Mexico. But this particular recipe originated with one of Bacchus' former Mexican dishwashers, Rodrigo Martinez, who complained about the thinner variations mostly found in Philadelphia and worked with Bacchus chef Graham Fuller to get it closer to his ideal. Depending on the salsa added for seasoning, pozoles are typically served "red, white, or green," the colors of the Mexican flag. The base meats can vary, too, with pork a common choice. This Fitler-friendly chicken rendition is decidedly thick and green, a vivid emerald hue from both raw and charred tomatillos that lend the broth steeped with coriander- and adobo-rubbed whole birds a deep roasty, earthy tang. A glow of jalapeño spice is present but doesn't overwhelm. But what makes a pint of this soup a memorable $5 meal in a bowl are the generous amounts of tender chicken that bob alongside those earthy little pillows of puffy pozole corn, the hominy for which the soup is named. Garnish it at home with a plate of fixings usually served alongside - avocados, radishes, oregano, cabbage, chopped onions, and lime.
- Craig LaBan