Posted by: A Part of the Solution | December 22, 2010

Mole Poblano

I grew up in the Chicagoland area. I went back to visit friends and family across the decades. As my palate broadened and improved, I promoted myself from Italian and Greek dining to authentic, regional Mexican cuisine when in the Windy City. This proved frustrating, as the only ‘mole’ item on menus in the D.C. region was the ‘guaca’ variety.To this day, my first judgement of Mexican restaurant is whether it serves any kind of mole beyond our green, avocado based friend.

This recipe is the first mole I made in my own home. It is delicious with turkey (and a great way to use up those leftovers when you know if you serve turkey soup again people will throw things at you). It is also lovely with one of those super-sized packs of chicken thighs–sear them off, braise them or bake them and top them with this mole for 1/2 an hour in a slow oven .

This mole poblano also works with leftover pork. It’s too dark and rich for fish, unless you have a bunch of leftover sturgeon laying around the kitchen. Though I would definitely pour it over goat.

Speaking of which, mole poblano is also good with warm goat cheese or poblano chiles stuffed with sautéed mushrooms and onions. Experiment, this is delicious enough that shoes would taste good with a nice helping of the mole poured over them. It makes a lot, but it also freezes well and is amenable to being multiplied or divided.

Mole Poblano

3 oz ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded

3 oz  pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded

2 oz dried mulato chiles, stemmed and seeded

3 cups water

1 14 oz can tomatoes, juice and all

2 large onions, peeled and coarsely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, peeled

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1 1/2 tsp anise or fennel seeds

1/4 cup lightly toasted sesame seeds, I like the ‘hulled’ variety here–not the polished white ones

1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cups vegetable or chicken stock

1 cup apple juice

1 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

Wash the chiles and put them in a non-reactive pan with the water, tomatoes, onions, garlic and salt. Bring this mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Top up with more water if necessary to keep all the chiles covered as they cook. Purée this in the food processor or blender.

Grind up the coriander and anise/fennel seeds in a spice grinder (a mortar and pestle will work too). In a food processor, grind up the sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Add the coriander and anise/fennel, the raisins and spices. Run the food processor until you have a thick, sticky paste. Stir this into the chile purée.

In a large saucepan, put the stock, apple juice, and the chile mixture. Stir occasionally as it comes to a simmer. Add the chocolate and keep stirring as it melts. Let it cook, just below a simmer for another 20 minutes.

Serve the mole poblano as you wish–but make more than you think people can eat, since it’s so good they’ll consume more than is seemly.

This makes about 10 cups of mole poblano.

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