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While Andrew Carmellini is renowned for his Italian cuisine, his second cookbook, American Flavor, focuses on the diversity of cuisine across the country. From the barbecue in his native Cleveland to pozole, a Mexican comfort food so delicious it made it onto Carmellini's menu, American Flavor is a good reminder to always expand your repertoire.

While Andrew Carmellini is renowned for his Italian cuisine, his second cookbook, American Flavor, focuses on the diversity of cuisine across the country. From the barbecue in his native Cleveland to pozole, a Mexican comfort food so delicious it made it onto Carmellini's menu, American Flavor is a good reminder to always expand your repertoire.

Pozole is the Spanish word for hominy: dried corn kernels with the germ and husk removed. The soup known as pozole is a staple in Mexican cooking; the different styles you find across the U.S. depend on what part of Mexico the cook’s family comes from. (This version, for example, could be made, if you wanted to go that way, with veal head instead of chicken.)

My take on pozole comes from a classic family-meal staple at Café Boulud that was cooked up by some of our dishwashers, who came from Puebla. I loved it so much I actually put it on the menu.

This soup is really all about the garnishes. On its own, it has some heft from the hominy and a meaty savoriness from the chicken, but when you load it up with salsa, cilantro leaves, romaine, and tortilla chips, squeeze a good hit of lime on top, and dose it with a little hot sauce, you’ve really got something special. It’s a great party soup: make a big pot of this, put it in the middle of the table, and let everybody throw on their own garnishes. People love that.

Reprinted with permission from American Flavor