Mar 19, 2004, 8:17 AM
Post #7 of 8
The mole with a small amount of chocolate (and about 30 other ingredients) that we usually think of as the only kind is actually mole poblano...Puebla-style mole, invented to serve over wild turkey by (according to legend) 17th Century nuns to please the palate of a visiting archbishop (or was it a virrey?).
Re: [Esteban] Breakfast at Esteban's house...March 18
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There are as many varieties of mole as there are kitchens, including red, green, yellow, and a delicious black one from Oaxaca. There is mole almendrado (flavored and thickened with ground almonds), pipián (orange-y brown and made with squash seeds), and mole de la olla (a soupier version).
There are two major points of origin for mole: 1) Puebla and 2) Oaxaca, though Veracruz is famous for mole verde (with tomatillos and no nuts or seeds); Guerrero features mole verde (with ground pumpkin seeds); Mexico City and Guadalajara play host to Manchamanteles de Cerdo y Pollo (simple red mole with meat, fowl and fruit). Oaxaca counts no fewer than seven famous kinds of mole.
It's easy and quick to buy a jar of Doña María mole poblano paste, thin it with chicken broth, and pour it over pieces of cooked chicken. Let it simmer for a few minutes so the flavors meld. Serve it with arroz a la mexicana, frijoles refritos and a big stack of hot tortillas.
Even better is to buy fresh mole paste from tianguis vendors in Tonalá, Oaxaca, Veracruz, or Michoacán. Use it the same way you use the commercial mole paste. The difference in flavor and quality will amaze you.
Or, if you're really adventurous, you can make your own mole paste. Here's a simplified recipe for mole poblano:
- 10 dried ancho chiles
- 6 dried pasilla negro (or negro) chiles
- 4 dried guajillo or mulato chiles
- 6 T black raisins
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 6 T raw sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 slice French bread
- 1 corn tortilla
- One 3-inch piece of Mexican canela (soft-bark cinnamon)
OR 1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
- 6 whole cloves
- 1 t black peppercorns
- 1 1/2 t dried oregano
- 1 tablet of Mexican chocolate--Ibarra, Abuelita, etc (3.1 oz.)
Wash the dried chiles under cold running water (hot water will increase the chile fumes). Shake out the chile seeds and break off the stems.
Heat a comal or griddle or even a nonstick skillet and toast the chiles in batches. The chiles should soften and slightly brown. Do not blacken them, or they will become bitter..
When they are all toasted, place them in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave them to steep for 30 minutes. Add the raisins to the hot water so they will plump up.
While the chiles are soaking, place the almonds, the sesame seeds and the pumpkin seeds all in separate pie tins. Toast them in a 350 degree oven for approximately 10 minutes. Watch carefully. Remove them as they begin to turn golden brown.
At the same time, place the French bread and the corn tortilla to toast in the oven.
The toasting of all the nuts and seeds is traditionally done by frying them in lard; the oven method is easier and lower in fat.
Break up the cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns in a mortar or pound with a heavy skillet (a spice grinder will work too).
Grind the chiles, almonds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds in a blender in at least three separate batches--too large a batch at once will burn out the motor of the blender. Add some soaking water for the desired consistency of thick gravy (if soaking water tastes bitter, use plain water instead), so that the mole paste will puree smoothly.
When grinding the last batch, add the raisins, crushed spices, tortilla, bread, oregano and chocolate, broken into small pieces. Makes about 1 quart of mole paste. The paste will last in the freezer for several months.