Friday, October 8, 2010

Mole Poblano

This month I'm going to focus on a few recipes and crafts that are traditionally made to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. Towards the end of the month I'll bring it all together with an altar in honor of my little dog Jack. First up, Mole Poblano!

Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce made from a blend of chili peppers, nuts, seeds, and spices. The flavor is warm, nutty and complex. Its delicious spooned over chicken, tamales, and eggs or rolled up into enchiladas (called enmoladas).

I often wondered where this combination of ingredients originated. And after doing some research I found that like any good traditional dish, its origins were shrouded in legend.

The most common version of the legend takes place at the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla sometime early in the colonial period. Upon hearing that the archbishop was going to visit, the convent nuns went into a panic because they were poor and had almost nothing to prepare. The nuns prayed and brought together the little bits of what they did have, chili peppers, spices, day-old bread, nuts, and a little chocolate and more. They killed an old turkey they had, cooked it and put the sauce on top. And the archbishop loved it.
(via Wikipedia)

Mole Poblano
(printable recipe)

6 dried ancho peppers
6 dried mulato peppers
4 dried pasilla peppers

3 medium tomatoes (squeeze out seeds and chop)
2 medium onions, chopped
2 corn tortillas, chopped
2 cloves
1/2 c almonds
1/2 c pumpkin seeds
1/2 c unsalted peanuts
1/2 c raisins
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp. comino
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/2 tsp. anise seeds
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c vegetable oil
2 c chicken stock
1 tbsp. peanut butter
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3 tbsp brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Don't let the long list of ingredients fool you, mole is fairly simple to make... if you have a food processor. Otherwise the grinding and pureeing could take all day if done by hand, which is the traditional method. Because of this, Mole Poblano is considered a very special dish in Mexico, often served at celebrations and used as an offering on Dia de los Muertos.

Here's the process for putting it all together,

Remove the stems and seeds from the chiles, cover with 2 cups of boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes. While you are waiting on the chiles prepare and measure the remaining ingredients. Transfer the peppers with the soaking liquid to a food processor, add the tomatoes thru cinnamon. Pulse until pureed.

Heat the oil over medium heat (preferably in a cast iron skillet). When hot but not smoking add the chile mixture. Add remaining ingredients and stir constantly, about 15 minutes. Add more chicken stock if it seems too thick. Mole Poblano may be refrigerated up to 2 weeks or frozen up to 6 months.

Come back Monday to see what I made with this batch of mole.

1 comment:

  1. I love, Love, LOVE Mole Poblano!

    I usually make the Bayless version (from his first book), which differs a bit. His show on our local PBS station recently was all about moles!

    MY favorite way to have it is in and over a chorizo/potato enchilada. I can't wait to hear what you did with it!