The Real Deal – Sort of, Anyway August 10, 2012Posted by Toy Lady in Cooking, Cooking Challenge, Food.
I fear that if you want a really real molé, you’re going to have to make Rick Bayless’s recipe. I’m not about to do that. NOBODY is going to do that. And if you do, well, I’m coming over.
So. . . molé. Molé is a Mexican sauce, or rather, it actually means sauce, and there are various types, apparently often named for their colors – red molé, green molé, black molé. . . it may not be imaginative, but at least you know which is which!
So for our (black) molé, there are what seem like an awful lot of steps (and, actually, it is a lot of steps!), but they sort of flow together. You do one thing, then move on to the next – it wasn’t hard, really – just a bit of a time commitment. Starting with the shopping list – besides your regular pantry items spices, nuts, onions, etc.) you’re also going to need two (TWO!) kinds of dried peppers – anchos and pasillas.
And sadly, neither of the two best-bet supermarkets near me carried both peppers – but one had one, and the other had the other, so that was okay.
So we start by roasting the peppers in the oven, then soaking them in hot water for half an hour or so – and while that’s going on we also toast the spices in a big frying pan, then grind them. We’ll come back to the spices.
While the peppers are soaking, we’re going to roast a coarsely chopped onion, a handful of garlic cloves, and a couple of tomatoes (bonus points if you ran out to the garden to pick them!).
Once the peppers have soaked and gotten more leathery than crumbly, we took the stems off, de-seeded them, and tossed them in the blender with some chicken stock.
Dump that into a Dutch oven, then, when they’re done roasting, do the same for the vegetables – blender, chicken stock, Dutch oven. (If you have a heavy-duty Woot blender, you’re probably good; if not, you may want to strain the veggies. Maybe.)
Now, where were we?
Ah, lard. (I would imagine, if you’re lard-squeamish, you could go with unsalted butter or even vegetable oil, but really, unless you have a moral objection to pork, I’d go with the lard for authenticity’s sake, but that may just be me.)
We’re going to brown the nuts (almonds, pecans and peanuts) in a good amount of lard, just until they’re browned, then add some raisins for the last minute or so.
Then guess what we’re going to do with them. Go ahead – just guess!
Yup, into the blender (just the goodies, not the lard), along with some stock, then into the Dutch oven.
THEN we’re going to take a plantain and some corn tortillas and whack them up a bit.
You could use a green banana, from what I understand, but since plantains are a dime a dozen around here (not really – they’re 3 for $1), well, obviously.
These, I think, are going to help thicken the sauce. The plantain is a bit starchier than your standard banana, and the tortillas, well, they’re ground corn, aren’t they?
Throw those in the lard-pan and brown them.
For what it’s worth, when you fry corn tortillas in lard, you get what could be considered “tortilla chips” – and they’re not bad at all!
Once these ingredients are browned, I’ll give you three guesses as to what to do with them.
Yeah, blender with chicken stock.
At this point, we’ve got a Dutch oven full of . . .all sorts of interesting, exotic stuff, don’t we?
Let’s see, there’s a spice blend, there are a bunch of peppers, some vegetables, plantains, tortillas, plenty of chicken stock. . . .maybe a bit of salt at this point won’t hurt.
And some chocolate – not a lot of chocolate, and not just any chocolate – Mexican chocolate.
I’m thinking you could substitute semi-sweet here if you can’t find the stuff with the subtitles, but it’s not going to be the same.
I wouldn’t use milk chocolate, because that’s just not the same at all – it’s creamy, and this Mexican chocolate is decidedly not creamy – it’s almost gritty.
So you’re going to want to toss the chocolate right into the sauce to melt – no blender!
And they you just make sure the flame is on low and walk away.
I mean, check to make sure it’s not burning or anything, and give it an occasional stir, but basically, for the next couple of hours, this is nearly zero-maintenance.
And then, once the sauce is truly to a sauce-like consistency, you’re done.
We chose to stir some into some smoked pork (and yes, those are homemade tortillas), and I most definitely enjoyed a pork taco for breakfast a time or two the next week.
And we even had a mess left over that got frozen into 1/2 cup increments – molé for another day!
If you’re interested, the recipe I used is right here – it may be an all-day project, but it’s well worth the investment of time!