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Chris Amirault

Mole Poblano--Cook-Off 9

109 posts in this topic

Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.

For our ninth Cook-Off, we're going to be making Mole Poblano de Guajolote. If you're like me, you can't get decent mole poblano where you live; instead, you get the "Mexican" equivalent of Hershey's chocolate syrup, which is sure to make you wonder what the fuss is all about. But if you've ever had the rich, piquant, incredibly complex sauce made from dried chiles, spices vegetables, nuts, seeds, lard, stock, and chocolate... well, you're in for a treat. You're also in for an absurdly long list of ingredients and a substantial simmering time. But it's worth it, trust me -- and what other dish might get you seriously thinking about how delicious turkey is in May?

As usual, our eGulleteer forebears have done a lot of good work for us. Here's a thread on mole poblano, a great tamale thread with Abra's mole photo essay, and a more expansive, and a bit older, mole thread.

Starting researching recipes and sourcing ingredients people!


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I've been looking for an excuse to get to that area of East Lake with all of the Hispanic markets and the Mercado (for a great food court) with the goat barbacoa.

Now, I just need to find a recipe.

EG'ers, point me to a recipe! I have time to shop or time to search for a recipe. I'd rather shop.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I made the one from Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz' book of

Latin American Cooking a couple of times. It's less elaborate than the one on Epicurious that Abra made, but still a lot of work!

I remember I had trouble locating the chiles and I don't even remember where I ended up getting them. So, my participation in this cook-off will depend enterely on the fact if I'm able to find the right chiles.


Edited by Chufi (log)

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I remember I had trouble locating the chiles and I don't even remember where I ended up getting them. So, my participation in this cook-off will depend enterely on the fact if I'm able to find the right chiles.

Ditto here, or better:does it make sense to look for substitutes? I've been dying to make mole poblano from scratch for ages but I never dared to because of the difficulty in finding the right ingredients. I can get poblanos without any problem, mulatos maybe, but I've never seen pasilla on sale around here. Any suggestions?


Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.

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times like this really make me miss living in California. I wonder if I can even find the ingredients here. Maybe I need to make a trip to Michigan.

I'm off to go look at the few bags of chili's I brought back on my last trip to Cali.

Do we have a recipe we're working from?

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I think this is one of those dishes where substitutions are perfectly acceptable, even the normal way of doing things. With as much complexity as there is in the dish the subtle differences between Ancho, Mulato, Pasilla, Hatch, etc. chiles are not going to be dramatic in the end result.

Heck, I think when I make up my pot I will just wander to the mexican grocery store and pick up some stuff I haven't heard of yet. I've never ruined a recipe by subbing one type of chile for another, they are all just variations on similar flavors.


He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I have no problem getting the ingredients, and cheap (we have a large mexican population in town) but since I am dining solo for the next month or so, how well does the stuff keep? I would make the paste, use a small portion right away and save the rest for when I get back in July. Otherwise, I'll have to put this one off.

Klary and Alberto, I can easily mail you a small packet of chiles, you'd have them within the week. Just say the word. Plus it would force me to go to the post office, so I might actually send my relative the CD I've been holding for her since last christmas. :hmmm:

The Diana Kennedy version is good, I might do that one. Doesn't Rick Bayless also have a version online somewhere?

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I have no problem getting the ingredients, and cheap (we have a large mexican population in town) but since I am dining solo for the next month or so, how well does the stuff keep? I would make the paste, use a small portion right away and save the rest for when I get back in July. Otherwise, I'll have to put this one off.

Somewhere on one of the other mole threads, someone said it was so much work that you best make lot of it because it freezes beautifully.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Somewhere on one of the other mole threads, someone said it was so much work that you best make lot of it because it freezes beautifully.

Then I guess I'm in :smile:

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times like this really make me miss living in California.  I wonder if I can even find the ingredients here.  Maybe I need to make a trip to Michigan. 

There are at least two shops in Kensington market, Toronto, selling a wide variety of Latin American ingredients. I can't get there until next Sunday, but I'll be stocking up then, and we'll have a few more ideas listed here...

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Well I'm overwhelmed. I'm considering simplification, including this recipe. Another issue for me is cloves. There are very few flavors I don't like, but that is one I cannot stomach. Is anyone going to say that if cloves are not included, I won't learn what a true Mole Poblano de Guajolote tastes like? It's a totally new dish for me. I haven't even eaten it in a restaurant.


Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Another issue for me is cloves.  There are very few flavors I don't like, but that is one I cannot stomach.  Is anyone going to say that if cloves are not included, I won't learn what a true Mole Poblano de Guajolote tastes like? 

Nope. I think that we have a more sophisticated understanding of authenticity to do that, Susan! :wink: From what I've read, NulloModo is right on the money; this is a classically intricate, and thus classically meddled-with, dish, a la cassoulet.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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times like this really make me miss living in California.  I wonder if I can even find the ingredients here.  Maybe I need to make a trip to Michigan. 

There are at least two shops in Kensington market, Toronto, selling a wide variety of Latin American ingredients. I can't get there until next Sunday, but I'll be stocking up then, and we'll have a few more ideas listed here...

Yes, I can't remember their names, but there's 2 places on Augusta just above Baldwin, as well as Emporio Latino, also on Augusta, just below Baldwin. Well worth checking out - you can get a great selection of peppers, as well as Mexican chocolate, tomatillos, and corn tortillas.


Cutting the lemon/the knife/leaves a little cathedral:/alcoves unguessed by the eye/that open acidulous glass/to the light; topazes/riding the droplets,/altars,/aromatic facades. - Ode to a Lemon, Pablo Neruda

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Klary and Alberto, I can easily mail you a small packet of chiles, you'd have them within the week. Just say the word.  Plus it would force me to go to the post office, so I might actually send my relative the CD I've been holding for her since last christmas. :hmmm:

now that is one of the kindest offers I've ever had!

It's just very hard for me to believe that I can't get these chiles in Amsterdam. But the fact is that Mexican/South American cooking is not very big here. I've remembered where I got them last time: I was friends with a guy who owns a restaurant, and I went with him to this huge wholesale place for people in the business (what's that called in English).

Alas, I don't have access to a place like that anymore. :sad: And I have no clue what other place would be selling this stuff in Amsterdam. I've never seen it.

So I might take you up on that offer!

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Living in a suburb of NYC, there are plenty of Mexican bodegas in my vacinity. I understand how someone living in the middle of the US or Japan or Australia or France or whatever could enjoy and think worthwhile the process of hunting down the numerous ingredients required for an authenitc mole sauce. I, however, am very lucky. A nearby town, Bergenfield, NJ, is practically a colony of Puebla, Mexico. At a nearby convenience store I can pick up a pint of mole paste, made with all of grandma's secret ingredients, not tasting in the least of mexican hershey's syrup.

You brown your meat, be it chicken breasts, on the bone or not, turkey, pork chops, etc. Remove from pan. Add a big dollop of the paste, stir and cook a bit, add stock until it becomes a sauce consistancy you like. Return the meat and simmer until cooked through.

Sure this is cheating. But I really don't think I could make it any better than they. This was not the case for the pizza -- I think mine came out better than a lot of local places. Enjoy your chile hunt, order those spices online, grind your nuts and chop your dried fruit. I'm going down to Mi Tierra and picking up a pint of ready to go homemade mole paste!

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I live in Mexico, er Los Angeles. I think I'll still try it the old fashioned way. It's been a long time since I've made slow Mexican food at home.

Alas, I don't have access to a place like that anymore. sad.gif And I have no clue what other place would be selling this stuff in Amsterdam. I've never seen it.

Between the Indonesian and North African immigrants/residents I think you would be able to find most if not all of the spices and chilis or reasonable subsitutes.

Or am I just way off in assuming that Amsterdam would have at least a few 'ethnic' markets?

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Living in a suburb of NYC, there are plenty of Mexican bodegas in my vacinity. I understand how someone living in the middle of the US or Japan or Australia or France or whatever could enjoy and think worthwhile the process of hunting down the numerous ingredients required for an authenitc mole sauce.

Middle of the US is a lot of farmland. A lot of the farmworkers are Mexican. Many occasionally eat, I am told. Hence, very good access to Mexican groceries. You New York types really need to drive a little farther west every once in a while, you know :raz: Sorry, but I was once a similarly misinformed east-coaster. :smile:

Hell, even the local wall-mart carries pozole and salt cod.

But I found it very hard to find decent Mexican groceries in Europe. What you can get really depends on the immigrant mix, obviously. But Mexican stuff in the midwest? Never a problem.

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the plebian once more, sigh ... :sad:

i'm ashamed but i'll admit it. we love dona maria mole sauce out of the jar. (ok, its a little heavy on the chocolate but the kids request it a couple time a month). kind of like chicken helper. it is soooo quick and easy. (i've found that placing thinly sliced raw onions on top of the chicken and mole cuts the chocolate flavor). if you can't find the ingredients and just want to try some quick mole i would recommend this alternative.

for the cookoff we'll get out the grinder though.

i always order mole poblano when i can find it, but its damn difficult to find it on a restaurant menu even here in california. however, the chili pepper in anaheim used to have good mole (i'm not sure the place exists anymore) and if you are ever in cabo san lucas, the moles at mi casa are excellent.

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Alas, I don't have access to a place like that anymore. sad.gif And I have no clue what other place would be selling this stuff in Amsterdam. I've never seen it.

Between the Indonesian and North African immigrants/residents I think you would be able to find most if not all of the spices and chilis or reasonable subsitutes.

Or am I just way off in assuming that Amsterdam would have at least a few 'ethnic' markets?

yes, lots of ethnic markets here, but neither the Indonesian/Chinese/Asian stores nor the Turkish/Moroccan shops sell Mexican chiles. (assuming these are uniquely Mexican. Ah, ignorance!)

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Alas, I don't have access to a place like that anymore. sad.gif And I have no clue what other place would be selling this stuff in Amsterdam. I've never seen it.

Between the Indonesian and North African immigrants/residents I think you would be able to find most if not all of the spices and chilis or reasonable subsitutes.

Or am I just way off in assuming that Amsterdam would have at least a few 'ethnic' markets?

yes, lots of ethnic markets here, but neither the Indonesian/Chinese/Asian stores nor the Turkish/Moroccan shops sell Mexican chiles. (assuming these are uniquely Mexican. Ah, ignorance!)

I think that the chilis at the Turkish or Moroccan places will provide a pretty close to 'authentic' flavor.

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I think that the chilis at the Turkish or Moroccan places will provide a pretty close to 'authentic' flavor.

I dunno, middle eastern chiles may occasionally come close to anchos, but not to mulatos and pasillas. (To say nothing of chipotles). My recipe also calls for tomates verdes. What would you guys suggest to our poor bodega-deprived euro friends as a sub on that one? Those are hard to mail. Sort of a mix between a green tomato and a green plum, sort of. Plus they sorta look like gooseberries :smile:

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What are middle eastern chiles? Every single cook-off brings me more questions..

My recipe also calls for tomates verdes. What would you guys suggest to our poor bodega-deprived euro friends as a sub on that one? Those are hard to mail. Sort of a mix between a green tomato and a green plum, sort of. Plus they sorta look like gooseberries  :smile:

hey, I could get those in a can :biggrin:

Well, at least I know what my weekend is going to be like

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What are middle eastern chiles? Every single cook-off brings me more questions..

We call 'em chiles. But, you know, in Arabic. :biggrin:

hey, I could get those in a can  :biggrin:

Sounds like you're all set then! :smile:

Actually, any sort of dried chiles would probably be close enough. If you can find canned tomatillos you might be able to find canned chipotles, which while not used in my particular recipe would probably add a little of that "authentic" earthiness.

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