Thursday, March 5, 2009
I love Mexican food, but don’t make it that often. My friend Andy, who makes the most amazing Mexican food recommended that I buy a cookbook by Rick Bayless. Well I did just that several months ago and have neglected to actually use the book. I finally pulled it off my bookshelf, blew off the dust and decided to try out the Mole recipe. I must say that I was really impressed by the amazing flavor, aroma, and complexity of this dish, it was superb! It was a complicated recipe with many steps, so if you are not an experienced cook, you may want to skip this recipe. If you are like me and enjoy hanging out in the kitchen all day, then you should definitely try this out. I changed a few things from the original recipe, and it turned out just perfect, and all my friends raved about how good it was. I might recommend cutting this recipe in half as I ended up with about 6 quarts of mole sauce. It does freeze well, so if you do make the whole recipe, just use half of it and keep the other half in the freezer for later.
5 Ounces Tomatillos (3-4), husked and rinsed
1 Ounce Sesame Seeds
½ Cup Lard
12 Dried Ancho Chiles (6 Ounces), stemmed and seeded
4 Cloves Garlic, peeled
2/3 Cups Pine Nuts
2/3 Cups Dried Apricots (4 Ounces), coarsely chopped
8 Cups Chicken Broth, 2 quart sized boxes
½ Teaspoon Cinnamon, freshly ground
¼ Teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground
1/8 Teaspoon Cloves, freshly ground
¾ Ounce Mexican Chocolate, roughly chopped
1 Slice White Bread, toasted dark brown and broken into several pieces
2 Tablespoons Sugar
2 Tablespoon Salt
1 Whole Chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Vegetable Oil, for frying
First set out all prepare and set out all ingredients.
Spread the tomatillos on a baking sheet and roast them 4 inches below a very hot broiler until darkly roasted and blackened in spots, about 5 minutes. Flip over and roast on the other side for 4-5 mintes more, until slightly blackened and soft. Set out two large bowls, scrape the tomatillos, juice and all, into one of them.
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, stirring constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Scrape them in with the tomatillos.
Measure the lard into a large dutch oven (7-9 quarts) and set over medium heat. Tear the chiles into flat pieces, and when the lard is hot fry the chiles, three or four pieces at a time, flipping them continually with tongs, nuntil their interior side has changed to a lighter red color, about 20-30 seconds, don’t fry so they smoke or the mole will be bitter. As the’re done, remove them to the empty bowl, driaining as much fat as possible back into the pot, continue until all chiles are fried. Cover with hot tap water and place a small plate on them to keep them submerged. Let stand for 30 minutes.
With the pot still over medium heat, fry the garlic, stirring regularly, until browned and soft, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place into the bowl with the tomatillos. Add the pine nuts to the pot and stir until they’re lightly toasted, 1-2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, and add to the tomatillo bowl. Add the apricots as well.
Use tongs to transfer the rehydrated chiles to a blender. Add 2 ½ cups water. Blend the chiles to a smooth puree, adding a little extra water if necessary to keep the mixture moving through the blades, place puree back into the bowl
Without washing the blender jar, scrape the tomatillo mixture into it. Add 1 cup of the broth along with the cinnamon, pepper, cloves, chocolate, and bread. Blend to a smooth puree, place back into the tomatillo bowl.
Check the fat in the pot; If there’s more than a light coating over the bottom, pour off the excess; if the pt’s pretty dry, film the bottom with a little more lard. Set over medium-high heat. When quite hot, scrape in the chile puree and stir nearly constantly until the mixture has darkened considerably and thickened to the consistency of tomato paste, 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the remaining chicken stock to the pot and stir to combine. Partially cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. Check the consistency: the mole should be thick enough to coat a spoon, but not too thickly. If it’s too thin, simmer it over medium-high heat until a little thicker.
Taste and season with salt and sugar, it should be a delicate balance of salty, sweet and spicy. Add more salt or sugar to taste.
To prepare the chicken: In a skillet large enough to hold all pieces of chicken, heat enough lard to cover the bottom of the pan over medium-high. Fry chicken, turning occasionally until nicely browned. Reduce heat to low and cover chicken with ½ of the mole sauce, turn to coat. Cover with a lid and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through and very tender, about 2 hours. Sauce will continue to thicken and turn a very dark deep red color. Serve chicken with the mole sauce, garnish with a little fresh cilantro.