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Red Mole

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I've been asked to cater a small dinner for 12 and the menu is up to me with the exception of the plat de resistance (sorry I can't come up with the Spanish term!).

He wants Mole ("the one with chocolate"). As the other diners have probably not had mole before I hesitate to make one of Zarela's Mole Negros. Especially since this will be a tasting menu consisting of :

*Tacquitos of Tinga Poblano

*Pozole (a hybrid of Rojo and Verde)

*Grilled Prawns with a Roasted Tomatillo Serrano Salsa

....and finally the Red Mole with Chicken. I like the description that Bayless gives indicating that it would appeal to those not "weaned in Puebla".

Has anyone tried this recipe? I've cooked many classic Mexican dishes but don't quite have the feel for Mole culture. Is it an authentic Mole?

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When making a recipe you haven't made before, especially for a dinner party, I like to have Plan B.

Make the red mole the day before. Not only will the flavours improve overnight - my experience - but if you are having a struggle with the rather lengthy procedure or if some disaster takes place - you burn your chiles, kitchen catches on fire, etc. - you can revert to Plan B.

I haven't made the red mole from Bayliss, but I am reading over the recipe listed in One Plate at a Time. Looks good and straight forward to me.

I love making moles and encourage you to dive right in. Its magical.

And please render your own lard, do not use Crisco or other brands that come in a box. That stuff is disgusting.

S

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He wants Mole ("the one with chocolate").

Mole rojo doesn't normally have chocolate as one of its ingredients. I'm not familiar with the Rick Bayless version; he may put it in, but it's not usual with mole rojo.

There are lots of other moles that do have chocolate, though. Your 'he' is most likely thinking mole poblano, which is the one most folks outside Mexico think of. It's the one from Puebla, and even those of us not weaned there love it.

On the other hand, I have a recipe for mole dulce con chocolate that was passed down to me by a wonderful home cook who lives near me here in Jalisco. She makes it with pork, but it would be just as delicious with chicken. I'd post it, if you're interested.

And amen to what Shelora said: make your own lard.

Oh, and the plat de resistance is platillo fuerte in Spanish.


Edited by esperanza (log)

What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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Haven't tried bayless's version....but this one is excellent (according to my Mexican Dishwashers) and turns out red...and has chocolate....but check out the whole page.

http://www.ramekins.com/mole/molepaste1.html

the only things that I add to it are cumin seeds and tomatillos.

I like the fact that it is less fatty.

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...

Has anyone tried this recipe? I've cooked many classic Mexican dishes but don't quite have the feel for Mole culture. Is it an authentic Mole?

I've made this recipe (in One Plate at a Time) twice and really liked it. It was better tasting than any mole I've had in a restaurant--but then I've never been to Mexico. I followed the recipe very closely, not making any substitutions b/c it was the first mole I made and I figured the balance of flavors is important to the final dish.

As people mentioned above, do use good lard that you've rendered yourself if possible and do make the mole 1-2 days before to blend the flavors.

The only tricky part I found was getting the temp and timing correct when frying the dried chiles. He gives pretty good instructions though, so just jest adjust the heat to get the described results. (It may be helpful to have a few extra chiles of each type on hand in case overcook some.) After the first 2-3, I found it easy to not overcook them.

The Mexican White Recipe he gives in the same book goes very well with it and is nice to sop up the great sauce. I also made some glazed sweet potatoes with lime, black pepper. a little brown sugar and red chile to go with. The slight sweetness was a nice partner with the dish.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Thanks for all the feedback and links!

The Bayless recipe I was working from comes from "Authentic Mexican".

As I compare it to the "One Plate at a Time" recipe I see that he has adapted a few versions for his "Authentic" Rojo. I liked the addition of plantain and a roasted tomato along with the raisins and tomatillos but otherwise they are pretty similar. Both have chocolate.

Shelora: Oh yes I will be a renderin' and as the dinner is for Saturday I had planned to make the Mole this Thursday. I have already made two of the other dishes and frozen them so that my fridge doesn't explode. The Tinga and the Pozole seem to actually improve this way.

Do any of the Vancouverites know if we can get Mulato Chiles here or is there another name for it? I've been to the usual places but no luck, otherwise I'll sub Anchos.

Esperanza: I would love to see your Mole Dolce recipe.

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Many moles have a reddish color, but they are not in fact red mole. I know this sounds crazy, but trust me, it's not merely semantics.

Mole rojo (red mole) is a specific type mole and does not include chocolate in the recipe. Mole rojo takes its color from various chiles and has a taste specifically for people who can tolerate quite a bit of picante (spicy heat).

You might choose to make mole coloradito, a reddish-color mole which does include chocolate and which is not as picante as a mole rojo.

You might well choose another kind of mole. In fact, you could eat a different kind of mole every day for nearly a year: there are around 300 different kinds, give or take a few. The name mole comes from a Nahautl (indigenous Mexican) word meaning *sauce*.


What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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The Mole Rojo in Rick Bayless' "One Plate at a Time" is classified as Traditional (in this book he has a Traditional and a Contemporary category).

The mole is called: "Mole Rojo Clasico de Guajolote" and it does have chocolate.

As to how hot it is, it calls for: 3 oz. of Mulatos - 1 1/2 oz. Anchos - 1 1/2 oz Pasillas in a recipe that makes 7 cups of mole sauce.

I don't get the sense that this will be a particularly spicy mole but I bow to those with more experience.

I'm still open to other suggestions for the next day or so.

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I have found Mulato chiles down at Granville Island at South China Seas and at Il Sureno on Commercial between 1st and 2nd. Il Sureno is cheaper and sells in bulk. They are also known as Guajillo chiles. (I think)

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"Mulato chiles....They are also known as Guajillo chiles."

Mulato chilies are close in appearance to a chile ancho but with some flavour differences.

Guajillos have a tough, smoother skin not crinkly like an ancho. There are others much more versed in these differences than I. I'm sure they will come on board.

Chile identification can really screw with your mind.

S

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Mulatos are closer to Anchos. Deep, rasiny and almost more like a sun-dried tomato than what we think of as a chile.

Guajillos and Pulla (puya) are in the Mirasol family. All have bright, light flavor and tough skins.

But I'm sure somewhere in Mexico, Mulatos are called Guajillos just because I've gone on a limb here!


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Ay Ranchito, not at all! You have it exactly right. Guajillos and pullas are the same, and they are definitely from the mirasol family.

Anchos and mulatos are similar enough, as you said.


Edited by esperanza (log)

What's new at Mexico Cooks!?

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I've made the Bayless version Teleloapan Red Mole and his Black Mole. Both are nice but I prefer the Black mole recipe. You basically can't go wrong with either receipe.

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So, when faced with too many choices I fall back to plan A and I ended up making the Red Mole from Rick's "Authentic Mexican" to great acclaim.

The only change was subbing almonds for the peanuts. It had a great balance of the heat with the rich but subtle chocolate, raisin, plantain base. It's interesting watching the flavors evolve over a couple of days as the mole matures. I would definitely make it again but not before trying some of the others.

I have to get a new blender for making my chile and seed pastes. I have two, one is a fairly new Kitchen Aid which does a miserable job of fine pureeing and my mainstay a Hamilton Beach bar blender forces me into a Zen state as I fight all the convolutions in the container to remove every last bit of paste. Any suggestions as to best blender for this task?

Or are there better ways to remove the paste buildup in both the blender and the strainer (like pouring a bit of liquid in and swirling it around - or through the strainer)

Or am I being too meticulous as the recipes build in a certain amount of loss?

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Indeed, aren't moles amazing? You sound like you are smitten.

I wish I could see how you are approaching the blending task, but I will offer some of my experiences.

You may not need a new blender, but a new blade. Any hardware store that sells kitchen appliances should be able to get you a new one. Sharp blades are essential.

To get those blades working through the chilies, etc., you may need a bit of liquid to get things going. And I always find that there is a bit of a struggle between me, the ingredients and the blender. This takes the form of stopping and stirring the mixture around and then restarting, adding a bit more liquid and so on, until smooth.

When straining the ingredients, the classic technique is to firmly tap the sides of the strainer. I have never been completely satisfied with that technique - could be lack of muscle - so I find stirring the mixture seems to helps it all through. You are always left with some debris in the strainer. For the longest time, I threw that out and poured in the next batch from the blender - since you are blending in batches, right?

Over Christmas, my friend and excellent cook Reyna Mendoza told me to put those strained leftovers back into the blender and blend along with the next batch of ingredients to go through the strainer. I thought this was brillant. So that's what I do now.

Anything leftover in the blender should not be wasted. Any stock or water you are adding to the mole, can be swirled around first with the blender leftovers and poured through a strainer.

Waste is something you never want in any form of cooking. All the great cuisines of the world, Mexico no exception, utilize everything.

My favourite example of this is the recipe for an agua fresca, from D. Kennedy's Mexican Regional book, that uses only the seeds of the cantaloupe. I've made it numerous times and is absolutely delicious. I'd always thrown those seeds away, but no longer.

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MY blade is good and quite new, the actual pureeing process is not bad. I try to use the minimum amount of liquid called for so as not to degrade the frying process.

It's more a question of the shape of the blender bowl. It really is more conducive to quite liquid blends and has lots of curves that tend to glop up with whatever puree I'm making so that getting it all out the bottom (unscrewed of course) and from around the blades is time consuming.

I do puree in batches and when I strain, through the standard mesh kitchen strainer, I use my silicone spatula to push the puree through, tapping would never be sufficient.

Great suggestions on reusing the puree and pouring the liquid through. So obvious but yet..not!

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