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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Poblano Mole

I haven't had this in over 10 years...partly because I don't want to buy the jarred stuff (although I heard La Costena does a very decent job of it) partly because I don't have access to some of the key ingredients, and partly because it intimidates me a bit.
Lucky for me, the family and professional extensions of it were on a mission to bring me some ancho and pasilla chiles from the US, and oh did they succeed!!
Thank you Elena for the acquisition, Brother for the logistics, and Father for the organization.  These types of little things make me so ecstaticly retarded my own household doesn't get it, but I don't care, I'm making MOLE!!!
Before I get started, mole is a sauce you use over boiled chicken (or whatever other meat or enchiladas or eggs you desire).  The ingredient most talked about is chocolate, although it is not the most prominent ingredient.  Only a bit is used and it is for a balance of flavors, not sweet chocolatey, but full of depth and slightly bitter.  While prepping all the ingredients for my mole, a familiar feeling came over me.  The motions seemed natural with a type of déjà vu.. and then I realized why.  This recipe is conceived the way many Indian recipes are.  Several separate parts that come together in the end, and always with a side of rice and rotis (or tortilla in this case).  When I get my hands on some masa harina, I will be able to make my Mexican meals even more authentic.
Adapted from Homesick Texan
Makes 3.5 cups
Part 1 dry roast and grind:
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup blanched almonds (I used ground almonds)
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anis
Part 2 fry soak and blend:
4 dried ancho/pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 dried chile de arbol, stemmed and seeded
1 cup warm water ready in a bowl
2 Tbsp canola oil
Part 3 simmer and blend:
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 large ripe tomato, blanched, peeled, and quartered
2 tomatillos (I subbed juice from 1/2 lime and 1 Tbsp tamarind concentrate.. sorry)
1/2 cup minced white onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
Part 4 stir in:
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 oz (30g) 100% dark chocolate (or the darkest you can find)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1.  In a wok dry roast the Part 1 ingredients until fragrant, then grind in a spice grinder and set aside.
2.  Using that same wok (why get more dishes dirty than you need to?) heat the oil from the Part 2  ingredients.  Add the dried chiles and fry for 2 minute on each side, then transfer to the bowl of warm water and let soak for at least 10 minutes.  This is to soften the chiles.  You can move on to the next step while you wait for the chiles to soften.  When you're ready, blend the chiles with their soaking water to form a thick lush dark reddish brown paste and set aside.
3.  In the oil still in the wok, sautée the onions and garlic from the Part 3 ingredients until translucent.
Add the stock, tomato, and tomatillo (if you are so lucky to find some) or tomatillo substitute and bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.  Blend it all together until there are no longer any bits and pieces.
4.  Stir in the ground spices and seeds from Part 1, and the chile paste from Part 2.  The sauce should thicken a bit.  Be careful not to have the heat on too high or it will bubble and pop in your face.  Stir well until all incorporated.
5.  Stir in the Part 4 ingredients until the chocolate melts.  Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.  Mine didn't need any adjusting.  The balance was just perfect.  If you're not using 100% chocolate, you might not need any sugar.

Now your mole sauce is done.  You can either pour it over some boiled or roasted chicken breast, or do as I did and simmer the chicken in the sauce just a few minutes before serving so the flavor seeps into the meat.  To use with eggs, take a bit of the mole and poach the eggs in it, kind of like shakshuka or even in the oven for mole shirred eggs!
This recipe yields enough for several servings of whatever you plan to do with it.  I may freeze some for a rainy day since I won't be able to make it again any time soon (no more chiles...)

I served mine sprinkled with more raisins and sesame seeds with a small salad and Mexirice.
I then poached some eggs in it the next day for fabulous results.  This is one of those things that tastes better the next day.  The eggs were not pretty enough to photograph, but this mole really pairs nicely with it!
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