Sunday, October 18, 2009

Timmy's Mole

Ever sit there eating a delicious plate of mole enchiladas, enjoying them with an ice cold cerveza or margarita and think to yourself; damn these are good, what the hell is in this sauce? Well there are actually quite a few things that go into making the perfect mole. Mole is a sauce from the interior of Mexico. Traditionally it is served with turkey (unexpected!). However the sauce can be used in a wide range of dishes with shredded chicken or pork in them. It may also be used with bone-in pieces of chicken and pork tenderloin. And don't forget it makes a wonderful sauce to top enchiladas. One of my favorite favorite ways to eat this is served over white rice with tortillas; simple, yet awesome. I won't lie to you, for the novice this recipe is time consuming. The recipe has several steps and processes to it and has a laundry list of ingredients; 26 to be exact. I assure you the time and care spent in preparation will be reflected in the results. When you are done with the mole you will have a lot of sauce on your hands (3-4 quarts, give or take). Anything extra can be portioned and frozen. You may prepare this sauce up to three or four days in advance of the actual meal. I recommend at least one day ahead of time as this lets the sauce rest and allows the many flavors of the dish to come together nicely. When you are seeding and deveining the chiles I would advise using latex gloves since you are handling a large quantity of chiles. When I prepare this dish I use two whole chickens to make the chicken stock for this recipe. I then shred the chicken and use it with the prepared sauce. However it is perfectly acceptable to substitute low-sodium or no-sodium chicken stock purchased from the store. Sometimes it can be difficult to find ripe plantains in the store. This leaves you with two options; you may substitute bananas or you may purchase unripened plantains several days ahead and let them ripen. A word of note; plantains are not like bananas. Unripe plantains contain a large amount of starch in them, similar to a potato, and are not sweet at all. When a plantain is ripe the entire skin will be black. Try not to get too freaked out about this. It is easiest to use a blender to puree' the mole. While you are blending the sauce you may add some extra chicken stock to thin the sauce slightly. Make sure the sauce has cooled and do it in smaller batches as to minimize any splattering, unless of course you're into that shit.

Away we go................................

7 large gualillo chiles, seeded and deveined
7 large pasilla peppers, seeded and deveined
7 large ancho chiles, seeded and deveined

1-1/2 yellow onions, quartered
3 tomatoes, quartered
8 large garlic cloves

1/4 c. black raisins, firmly packed
1/2 c. dried apricots, firmly packed
1/2 c. prunes, firmly packed
2 c. red wine

1 Tbl. Mexican oregano
2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1 Tbl. whole black peppercorn
3 pieces whole clove
1 large cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
3/4 c. pumpkin seeds

2 quarts chicken stock + extra for blending
1 ripe plantain
1/2 - 3/4 c. vegetable oil
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
6 corn tortillas
1/4 c. espresso
1/4 c. almond butter
1 Tbl. salt
1 Tbl. turbinado sugar (sugar in the raw)

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toast the pumpkin seeds for approximately 20 minutes tossing two or three times. Remove from oven and set aside.
~ Turn broiler up to 500 degrees. Begin by placing the chiles on a foil lined baking sheet and toasting them under the broiler for 3-4 until they start to smoking and let off an aroma. Be careful not to breathe in heavily as you will be in for quite a chili-rific surprise. Remove from the oven, place in a large bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside and allow to soak for 45 minutes
~ Keep broiler on 500 degrees. Place the onions, tomatoes, and garlic on a foil lined baking sheet and place under the broiler for 8-10 minutes allowing the vegetables to roast and become slightly charred. Remove from the oven and set aside.
~ In a small sauce pan combine the raisins, apricots, prunes, and red wine and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until most of the wine has been absorbed by the fruit. Remove from heat and set aside.
~ Grind the pumpkin seeds in a spice grinder and set aside. You may also use a mortar and pestle.
~ In a medium hot pan toast all of the spices, turning quickly as not to burn them. As soon as you see them smoking remove from the heat and allow to cool. Grind the spices in a spice grinder and set aside.
~ To start assembling the mole, drain the chilis and combine them with the roasted vegetables, the wine soaked fruit, pumpkin seeds, and spices in a large, heavy bottom stock pot. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes.
~ As the sauce is simmering, peel the plantains and slice into 3/4" slices. Place the vegetable oil in a sauté pan, heat pan to medium high and sauté the plantains until they are golden brown on both sides. Put plantains directly into stock pot.
~ Add chocolate, almond butter, espresso, tortillas, salt, and sugar to the sauce and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
~ Remove from heat, allow to cool, and puree until smooth

Below is a photo of the finished sauce. I know it's not exactly a glamour shot but will give you a good idea of the sauces color and consistency. Now go out there and impress your friends and family.


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