Monday, May 23, 2016

Mole


Mole is a very complex sauce utilizing many different ingredients.  It is considered the Mexican national dish, which makes sense considering it has almost every single Mexican ingredient in, I mean take a look:




Growing up, it was very common to have mole from a store-bought mole paste which was prepared by adding more ingredients.  This makes sense considering how time consuming the process can be, it is common to see various mole pastes for sale in markets.  I wanted to make my own mole, preparing each individual ingredient, and balancing the taste out as necessary. I used as my source Diana Kennedy's The Art of Mexican Cooking.  In there she has a recipe for Oaxacan black mole.  I used some of the proportions as a guide but used some different ingredients I've seen also used in mole poblano. 


 





The process is fairly straightforward, it's just the amount that needs to be done. Each ingredient needs to be toasted on a comal.  For spices and the sesame seeds I used a pan, just to make them easier to handle.  Traditionally a metate is used to grind all the ingredients into a paste, but I used a blender, adding just enough liquid at a time to get it going without make it too wet, it should still be a paste.  Some more detailed steps are included in the recipe below.







Mole



10 chiles guajillo
10 chiles ancho
10 chiles pasilla
5 chiles cascabel
4 tomatillos, peeled
4 cloves garlic
1 platano maduro
1/2 cup reserved chile seeds
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 of a stick of canela
3 allspice berries
4 cloves
6 peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp marjoram
2 tsp Mexican oregano
1 tsp thyme
2 tortillas
1 bolillo
1/2 cup lard
salt
1 tablet Mexican chocolate
1-2 tsp sugar
5-6 cups chicken broth



Toasting the ingredients
- Toast all ingredients on a comal until golden brown, except for chocolate.  For small seeds, spices, herbs a saut√© pan might work best and heat through until fragrant.
- For chiles specifically: toast ancho and pasilla for 2-3 minutes on each side. Toast guajillo and cascabel for 4-5 minutes to get them very dark/black. Place in a bowl and cover with boiled water for 25 minutes.
- Platano maduro can be griddled skin on, the heat will soften it.
- For the bolillo: heat the lard until hot, fry the bread well on all sides.


Blending the ingredients
- This might need to be done in batches depending on the size of the blender.
- Start with chiles and nuts/seeds as these will get the thickest.  Add just enough water at a time to get the blender going, you may need to push ingredients down.
- Blend the remaining ingredients, except for the chocolate, chicken, and lard.
- At this point, it should be a slightly thinner paste


Finishing the sauce
- Heat the lard in a large pot or dutch oven until very hot.
- In one motion, pour all of the mole over the lard, the idea is to fry the sauce and cook it really well. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
- After this point, add the chocolate and stir well so it can break up and get incorporated.
- Add chicken broth and allow this to simmer for an hour, stir frequently to avoid sticking.
- Towards the end, use a stick blender to smooth out the sauce a bit more.

Eating the sauce
Boiled shredded chicken mixed into the sauce what I grew up with and still my go to.  I also really love just the mole over red or white rice, I really love the texture difference.  The more traditional would be turkey meat, but beef and pork also work really well.  It is a fairly versatile sauce given how complex it is.  There is also nothing wrong with just drinking it out of a bowl, right?



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