Monday, June 28, 2010

Mole Poblano!

*Makes 1 L of mole -- enough for 6 servings over meat or veg. 

The following recipe will be featured in Spezzatino's chocolate issue, along with two pieces I wrote ( one about mole and the other about the history of drinking chocolate. Stay tuned).  

Here is my recipe, my concotion which is based on the abuela's tips and the ingredients she had gathered for me when I visited The Latin American Emporium in Kensington Market. 

Not all moles are made with chocolate, but mole poblano is. Here is the recipe: 
1 mulatto*
1 ancho*
1 guajillo*
1 pasilla*
*all of the above are whole, dried chilies. Before cooking with them, wipe them with a moist towel to remove any dust or soil.

1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
4 Roma tomatoes
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ tbsp salt

¼ cup blanched and skinned almonds, roughly chopped
¼ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1 generous pinch of ground cinnamon

2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 plantain, sliced into 1cm thick coins

4 cloves garlic
½ white onion

10 grams dark chocolate (I used 90% cocoa)

1. Heat a dry skillet over medium heat. Add the 4 chilies and heat on both sides until the skin begins to blister.
2. Transfer the chilies to a medium-sizes bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak until softened, about 45 minutes.


3. Cut the peppers and tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds. Toss them in 1tbsp vegetable oil and salt and place them skin side up on a baking tray. Bake them under a medium-hot broiler for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
4. Wipe your skillet with a dry cloth. Over medium heat, toast almonds until golden. Put into a bowl and repeat with the sesame and then pumpkin seeds. Set aside together in a bowl with the cinnamon.

5. Wipe your skillet with a dry cloth again, and add 2 tbsp oil. Over medium-high heat, add the plantain. Flip them over once the bottom is golden brown and cook on the other side for 1 minute. Put half on a plate to cool, and eat the other half immediately*.

*This recipe only needs half a fried plantain, but you might as well cook up the whole things while you’re at it. They are so delicious once fried that it makes the perfect mid-recipe snack.

6. How are your peppers and tomatoes doing? If they are done, just let them cool somewhere until you’re finished with steps 7 through 10.

7.  Using the flat side of your knife, smash the garlic and puree. (Check out Spezzatino Volume 9: Garlic, page 84 for tips.).

8. Roughly chop your white onion.

9. By now, your kitchen will be a little messy and your chilies sufficiently soaked and softened. If they aren’t soft yet, you’ve got to wait a little longer before you move onto the next step. Maybe take that time to clean up a bit? Or have some tequila to get into the Mexican mood….

10. Holding them above the bowl, one by one, remove the seeds and the stem of your chilies and place them on a cutting board once cleaned. Roughly chop them up.

11. Chop up your chocolate.

12. Add everything into your blender: peppers, tomatoes (plus any liquid on that baking tray), onion, the bowl of seeds and almonds, garlic, plantain, your chilies and the chocolate.

13. Puree until smooth.

14. Have a taste and add a bit of salt if you think it needs it. Let the layers of bitter, sweet, hot and smoky play over your tongue. Well done -- you have now made mole! Place in a jar to save for later, or heat gently and serve with turkey, chicken, pork or vegetables.


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