Herbed Green Mole: Mole Verde con Hierbas
Green mole is most commonly found in the states of Puebla, Tlaxcala and Oaxaca, where it is one of los siete moles - the seven famous moles, each with a distinctive color, flavor and aroma. Unlike the other moles, which nearly always contain nuts and seeds, this recipe gets its characteristic flavor and bright green color from fresh herbs. If you prefer chicken, it may be substituted for pork in this recipe. When cooking pork stews, I usually add my friend Bernarda's "secret" seasonings - salsa inglesa, salsa de soya, jugo maggi - which turn out to be none other than worcestershire, soy sauce, and Maggi sauce, found in every grocery store in Mexico. While the use of lard is certainly not encouraged for the cholesterol-conscious, it does give a wonderful flavor to Mexican stews, although vegetable oil can be substituted.
- 2 lbs. pork stew meat, cut into 1 1/2" cubes
- 1 large onion, cut into wedges
- 10 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
- 1 tablespoon each worcestershire, soy, and Maggi sauce
- 1 lb. tomate verde - tomatillos, husked
- 4 whole serrano chiles (more if you like picante)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or lard
- 1/2 cup each chopped parsley, cilantro, hierba santa, epazote
- 1 lb. tiny new potatoes, cut in half or left whole and cooked until just tender
- salt to taste
Put the stew meat into a stockpot with half the onion wedges, 4 of the garlic cloves, the seasoning sauces, and water to cover. Bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer until the meat is just tender (30- 45 minutes.)
Meanwhile, place the tomatillos in a saucepan with the remaining onion wedges, 4 more of the garlic cloves, the chiles, salt to taste and water just to cover.
Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, until the tomatillos are tender.
Cool a bit and transfer to a blender, along with the cooking liquid.
Heat the oil or lard in a saucepan, add the tomatillo mixture, and simmer about 30 minutes.
This simmering develops the full flavor necessary to a good mole.
Add the tomatillo mixture to the pork stew, along with the potatoes. At this point, you may thicken the stew by gradually adding a little masa harina (flour paste) mixed with water.
Using a molcajete if you have one, a mortar, or a food processor, grind the chopped herbs, along with the remaining 2 cloves of garlic and salt to taste, to a paste.
Stir this paste into the stew and serve immediately.