Wednesday, 1 January 2014

In The Kitchen : Mole Sauce

Get ready for some more photospam today, because I made mole for the first time yesterday. It's been something that I'd been wanting to make for years, so of course I took lots of photos. My ultimate dream is to create my own mole recipe, but I decided to start with some established ones and experiment. I bought the chillis and some of the other spices from Gewurzhaus in the city, so I thought I'd start with the recipe from their website, though I did modify it a bit. I'll explain the modifications I made as I went along. I also halved the recipe.

Here are most of the ingredients I used:

Instead of Ancho chillis, I used Mulato, as the shop was out of the former. They seemed quite similar according to the descriptions on the website, except that Ancho is a little more smoky. For that reason, I used a Chipotle chocolate disc instead of a plain one to add the smokiness.
The dried Mulato (left) and Pasillo (right) chillis, before I put them in boiling water to soak:

That thing on the right is my new Yerba Mate gourd that I got for Christmas. I always like to drink highly-caffeinated beverage while I'm cooking.... or just anytime, really. ;)
[find out more about Mate here]

Adding the spices, onion and garlic to the blender. Instead of Gewurzhaus Chilli con Carne spice, I used their Guacamole Spice. At the time I was in the shop, I hadn't decided yet which recipe I'd be following, and just happened to buy the Guacamole Spice in case I wanted to make that too (I didn't in the end). I figure the blends are probably quite similar. Also, instead of 1 1/2 cloves of garlic, I used 2. I couldn't be bothered faffing around with a leftover half a clove of garlic! I also didn't bother chopping the onion too fine, or grinding it in a mortar and pestle. What is technology for, after all?:

I fished the chillis out of the water and ripped them up roughly using tongs and my fingers:

Then I whizzed them:

Next, dry-frying the sesame seeds and 'breadcrumbs' (2 defrosted crusts from the freezer, roughly torn):

Adding the above to the food processor.....

.... and, whizzed!:

Now frying the resulting paste in a goodly amount of olive oil. Apparently the paste can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, but why on earth would I do that, at this point?:

Next, I added the reserved chilli water, a can of crushed tomatoes, and 2 cups of chicken stock. No, I didn't muck around with creating my own chicken stock as per the original recipe *hangs head in shame very briefly*.

The mole at the beginning of its simmering journey:

Let's just contemplate that for a moment, shall we?:

As well as looking quite suss, it also smelled pretty manky. I was quite concerned. The original recipe states to simmer for just a few minutes, and then leave off the heat for half an hour and re-heat slowly. To be honest, that sounded a bit barmy, especially with it smelling the way it did. Other recipes I'd read (not to mention Wikipedia) said it's cooked for 2 hours or more. So I compromised and simmered it for an hour. Here it is after the hour was up, and after adding the cocoa and chocolate:

Meanwhile, husband got into the spirit of things by making the cutlets into fried chicken with his own secret blend of herbs and spices. (It's not actually a secret, I just don't know what it is and don't think it's that important right now.) They were fried in rice bran oil, which I highly recommend to make it nice and crispy. Neither of us had ever made fried chicken before, but he did a fantastic job and it was delicious:

Meanwhile, I added the cocoa and 1 disc of Taza Mexican Chipotle Chocolate about 10 minutes before the end of cooking. It tasted pretty good before that, but even better after! The finished product:

I meant to make some kind of vegetable side dish to serve with it, but couldn't get to the supermarket in time. Some would say it would only have sullied the pure experience. ;)

Husband is very happy for me to make mole again in future, and I think I will. The flavour is unlike anything I've had before and I was a bit dubious at first, but by the last mouthful, I was hooked, as was everyone in the household.
I can vouch that it's just as good the next morning over fried eggs, as well.

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