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Mole Poblano: Cook-Off 9


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Chris, you can always braise the pork shoulders. Also, look for fresh pork hocks. You can trim the fat off them and use the hocks for pork stock. Trust me, pork stock is a wonderful thing.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Chris, you can always braise the pork shoulders.  Also, look for fresh pork hocks.  You can trim the fat off them and use the hocks for pork stock.  Trust me, pork stock is a wonderful thing.

i think this is what's been missing for me. i've always been under the impression that you're supposed to braise whatever you're going to eat with the mole. i saw it ahppned on a "cook's tour" episode where he goes to mexico. they braised a whole turkey in the mole. i didn't realize that mole poblano was a sauce you put on top of stuff

bork bork bork

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I guess that if I ever had to pick what cook-off the definition

-- that you've always wanted to make at home (and may enjoy out) but rarely have made, or haven't made successfully;

was perfect for, mole would have been my choice. It is the ONE recipe I've been wanting to do at home from scratch since ages. And it would have probably stayed so if it hadn't been for these great cook-offs. So Chris, thanks again for coming up with the whole idea.

I decided to go with abra's recipe because of her very positive comments, but also because it was the most complicated of the lot linked here and I'm always in for a challenge :smile: . I managed to find pretty much every ingredient needed except the mexican sugar, and used a dark cane sugar instead. As tuhallii wrote, the recipe is not as challenging as it seemed and I often enjoy dishes with long cooking times so that was no problem either. Plenty of time to enjoy the nice weather sitting on the balcony and sipping something fresh during pauses.

My only "little" mishap was the "I forgot to tighten my blender's lid real tight accident " while preparing the chili puree. My wife is still laughing about that. I would have found it funny too if I hadn't had to scrub the kitchen walls and if I thought that mole splattered t-shirts look fancy :biggrin:.

Instead of turkey we went for chicken, cut into pieces, and I tried out chef koo's tip of braising that into the mole which worked great. As sides we had the Chufi's special :wink: : guacamole, rice, black beans plus a few pan fried plantain slices, which were a nice addition. Definitely miles from the stuff you get in jars: you have no clue how happy I am that I still had loads of sauce to freeze!

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Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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Looks great, Alberto! What's in the cup? I was hoping you might have a wine suggestion....

Thanks Chris!

The cup contained some apple juice for my 3-year old son. No wine for him yet, though he gets a tiny bit diluted in loads of water on special occasions.

Since the evening was so warm beer seemed the ideal choice this time. A wine pairing is intriguing though. Whenever I think of chocolate Port is the first thing that comes to mind, but it might overpower the dish. Too much alcohol I think. Still a full bodied red with a pretty high alcohol content might be worth a try, you need structure to balance the rich mole and a bit of sweetens from the alcohol would be good with the light spiciness. As you can imagine I have a soft spot for Italian wines so I was thinking an Amarone della Valpolicella, if you want to splurge, or a Primitivo di Manduria from Puglia. They might work fine.

Or even better: an empirical experiment. Port, Amarone and Primitivo side by side paired with mole. Not something I would do if I had to drive home though :biggrin: .

Edited by albiston (log)
Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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Well. What an interesting experience. :wacko::raz:

I'm not sure what pushed me over the edge to try this. I've had mole poblano once, years ago, and thought it was okay but not something I was dying to make. I'd planned to sit this one out, but the comments, all variations on "a lot of work but definitely worth it" finally persuaded me.

Abra's recipe, despite the positive comments, looked too complicated to me, so I opted instead for the Mole Poblane recipe from Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico by Rick Bayless, with Deann Groen Bayless. I've had this book nearly 20 years, given to me at the time by a boyfriend, and I've used it rarely (if ever) but kept it around anyway, on the off-chance that I might want to cook authentic Mexican food. Well, here was my chance.

This Mole Poblano isn't complicated at all, nosiree, only 26 separate ingredients. :laugh: Bayless does lay out the steps clearly, and gives useful advice such as to take several days to do the job (seed/stem/prep the chilies once day, and so forth). I blithely ignored that advice and crammed the job into two days. I had leftover turkey and figured I'd just throw that into the sauce, as a shortcut.

What a mess! As others have noted, this is a messy operation; I lost track of the number of times I mopped up spatters of dark brown or reddish sauces. I have no photos of the kitchen or the initial ingredients, but here are my intermediate stages:

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The nut/bread/tomato/spice sauce on left, the chili sauce on the right, and a spot of turkey "broth" in the middle. I think the turkey stuff actually qualifies as demi-glace, and I was more proud of that than of any of the subsequent steps. This is the first time I've managed to boil down broth to that concentration. It was intensely flavorful, rich, and wonderful. Two quart jars full of stuff just like that also went into the sauce. (By the way, the sauce on the left was nearly chocolate brown. It looks red on this computer screen, and I won't know until tomorrow at another computer whether I adjusted the colors properly.)

The sauces were smoother than the picture may make them look. Somehow I got flecks of each into the other's bowls, and this was the result. By the way: it took forever to run them through the food mill. Do the rest of you use some other screening method, or is the food mill the only way to go? These were as far as I got Sunday night, then everything went into the refrigerator...or the dishwasher, as appropriate.

Tonight I fried the sauces, mixed them together, threw in the turkey scraps, and let it all simmer while the dog and I romped in the yard.

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Every once in a while I'd come in and check the flavors. Yikes! Strong! Bitter! It wasn't supposed to be spicy hot like this! Then I'd adjust. Sugar, that's the answer. Maybe more broth to tone it down. Patience.

I served it over egg noodles instead of the rice or quinoa I'd been planning, because I thought it needed something to tone down the bitterness and heat. Although these aren't "hot" chilies, there still was heat to the sauce.

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The final result? Well...hey...not bad after all! Actually, it's pretty darned good! Very pretty, too, with that smooth texture and deep brown color. My husband, who'd never heard of mole and was surprised that it was neither fiery hot nor obviously tomatoey, quite liked its complexity. (I didn't tell him it has small amounts of chocolate and cinnamon in it; it would have spoiled his fun.) I liked it too, and think it would after all have benefited from rice more than noodles. I'm glad there's more. I think I needed a lot more turkey, and I may cook up a turkey breast to use up the rest of this.

Still...it was a lot of work. I may make it again, but I don't see it making its way into my usual repertory. Thanks for the spur to try it, though!

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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I just ask the local butcher to save me pork faat until he has 5 lbs.  It's free, and it makes fine lard.  The other fats may be even better, but this is easy to get and the results are delicious.

"easy to get"?? ... sigh ...

Well, I just called a bunch of butchers, as well as the two Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, and a few other places: no dice. Do you think I could buy a couple of shoulders or butts, trim them, and use that fat? (Yes, I'm suggesting buying meat so that I can trim off the fat to use. I'm sure I'll find a dish for a couple of picnic shoulders.... :raz:)

Think of dishes like Chile Verde, Souvlakia, homemade sausage, Chinese BBQ pork, or a stir-fry. I almost always have a bag of packages of pork shoulder in the freezer. It is very versatile.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just an update: elsewhere on eG I found this fascinating article by caroline, a.k.a. Rachel Laudan, on the connections between Islamic and Mexican cooking, which starts with a fascinating anecdote about mole:

When Mexico’s leading writer, Nobel Prize laureate Octavio Paz, arrived in New Delhi in 1962 to take up his post as ambassador to India, he quickly ran across a culinary puzzle. Although Mexico and India were on opposite sides of the globe, the brown, spicy, aromatic curries that he was offered in India sparked memories of Mexico’s national dish, mole (pronounced MO-lay). Is mole, he wondered, “an ingenious Mexican version of curry, or is curry a Hindu adaptation of a Mexican sauce?”

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow! Well, well, well!

Ever since my first attempt at mole poblano upthread we've had a couple of containers of frozen sauce in the freezer. I didn't have enough turkey the first time around, and as the days have lengthened and gotten warmer we've gotten more interested in cooking fresh ingredients than in using things from the freezer.

This evening, while I was grocery shopping, I decided to change that. Turkey breasts were on sale, and looking pretty tasty, so I bought one. While I browned it in lard I thawed a quart of the mole sauce. Then I threw it all together into a casserole dish, which went into the oven at 350F for 45 minutes or so.

You know, making that sauce was a lot of work, but the result tonight was divine. I think I may just do this again, after all. I know I'm glad to have another container of frozen leftovers from the first attempt.

There's a 'local' sailboat race that runs from Sault Ste. Marie, ON to Duluth, MN. The Trans-Superior race course is something like 320 nautical miles (although few boats manage to stick to the course so closely), can take anywhere from 66 to 96 hours depending on your boat and the weather, and can be either a wonderful jaunt or, more likely, an exercise in masochism. Our running joke is that it only runs every other year because it takes that long for people to forget how miserable they were and be willing to do it again.

Mole poblano: the Trans-Superior of the culinary world. I may just do it again. :biggrin:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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You know, making that sauce was a lot of work, but the result tonight was divine.  I think I may just do this again, after all.  I know I'm glad to have another container of frozen leftovers from the first attempt.

So true. I used some of my frozen mole a couple of weeks ago. It made 2 dinners: for the first one I simmered some pork in it, the second dinner was black beans and mole wrapped in tortilla's. I actually thought the mole tasted better than when I had freshly made it. But you may be right. Maybe it will taste better because by the time you pull it out of the freezer, you don't remember the hard work!

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I appreciate the follow-up about the frozen left-overs. I never did make Mole, but this talked me into it. It probably won't be soon, but I do intend to try it.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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  • 3 months later...

This is one we didn't have a chance to participate in the first time around, so tonight we made Chicken Enchiladas Mole Poblano, using Mole paste made by our housekeeper Socorro ("Soco"), who is from Puebla.

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Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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It was way hot. I surely didn't need to add the jalepeno and serrano to the simmering chicken, there's plenty of spice in the paste. I'll try to remember to ask her for the recipe on Friday (unless you really need it now, then Spanish speaking Jason can call her). Oh, and her name is Socorro. :wink:

My usual recipe for mole is... Go down to the local bodega and buy a container of their homemade mole. Add stock and simmer. Thicken with cornmeal if necessary (whisk through a strainer to avoid lumps).

But when your housekeeper from Puebla mentions she's making mole over the weekend, a well timed hint scores you some fresh stuff. :biggrin:

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I made this Mole over the weekend for a Day of the Dead/Halloween meal.

I made a few commnents there, but one thing that really struck me wa how simple preparing the Mole is, although there are a few pit-falls. Sure the list of ingredients is long, but most of these are regular pantry items.

The most important tip I got was from Rancho-Gordo a while back, when he commeneted that the frying of chile pastes is important to remove bitter flavours. I have found this to be so and I think that getting this step correct is important to getting the sauce to work out.

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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  • 11 months later...

I don't know, but have you tried Penzey's?

Oh, I didn't even realise they shipped to Canada, but apparently they do. Cool, thanks.

i just wanted to bump this up, since i also have had problems getting some chilis:

more than 13 types of chili peppers, and they deliver to Canada...

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the ocean."

--Isak Dinesen

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  • 1 month later...

Kinda late to the party. Her is my take on Mole Poblano. I've roughly followed the recipe from Diana Kennedy. I used these ingredients:

6 TBSP ground mulato chile (seeds and veins removed)

5 TBSP ground ancho chile (seeds and veins removed)

6 TBSP ground pasilla chile (seeds and veins removed)

30 G plain chocolate (high % of cocoa, 1 OZ)

12 X chicken drumsticks

1 X tortilla

1 X slice of white bread

4 X garlic clove

4 X clove

1 CUP whole-canned tomatoes in juice

1/2 CUP lard

1/3 CUP pumpkin seed

6 CUP chicken stock

6 TBSP chopped almonds

4 TBSP sesame seed

1 TBSP honey

1/4 TSP aniseed

1/4 TSP coriander seed

1 TSP black pepper corns

1 TSP salt (to taste)

1.25 CM cinnamon stick (1/2")

I had to settle with ground chile since whole dried ones were not available. A few quick impressions of the cooking process:

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I'm really happy with my first try. Amazing sauce!

Mole_Poblano_25.jpg

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Christian Z. aka ChryZ

[ 1337 3475 - LEET EATS ] Blog

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Christian Z: Wow, that is an awe-inspiring pictorial. Your dedication to authenticity while dealing with ingredient limitations is truly inspiring. The finished meal looks absolutely delicious. I’m drooling here. Wow.

Mole poblano is one of my favorite things on earth, and I haven’t made it for way too long.

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Beautiful, Christian! One of the great things is that the cook-off parties are never over, they just become longgggg parties!

How long do you figure this took from start to finish?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Thanks for the kind comments. I really appreciate it.

Christian Z: Wow, that is an awe-inspiring pictorial. Your dedication to authenticity while dealing with ingredient limitations is truly inspiring. The finished meal looks absolutely delicious. I’m drooling here. Wow.

Mole poblano is one of my favorite things on earth, and I haven’t made it for way too long.

Usually it's your food porn that leaves me breathless. Getting such warm feedback from you really made my day.

Ingredient limitations indeed, the leek garnish was also a brainchild caused by it ... I wasn't able to get any cilantro while shopping for the dish.

Mole poblano is truely something special and I can only encourage anyone who is interested in mexican cuisine, no wait, anyone who is interested in food to give it a try.

I agree -- great job! Where in Europe are you, and where are you able to get those ingredients?

I'm living in Germany. All ingredients are pretty much available, cilantro if I'm lucky and the selection of chiles is very limited. I had to mail-order my mulato, ancho, pasilla, chipotle, etc.

Beautiful, Christian!  One of the great things is that the cook-off parties are never over, they just become longgggg parties!

How long do you figure this took from start to finish?

Hm, the whole affair was actually quite quick and painless. I'm not talking "time is flyin when ya havin fun" here ... 90 min for the whole set, the beans took 90 min and were cooked ahead.

Christian Z. aka ChryZ

[ 1337 3475 - LEET EATS ] Blog

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  • 1 year later...

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I made mole this weekend. It was, I think, the 5th time I made it and it was the best EVER.

I used a combo of Elizabeth Lambert Ortiz's recipe from Latin American Cooking, and this recipe which has been mentioned before in this thread.

3 things I did this time which made the difference between good and fantastic mole:

I fried everything in lard, not just the chiles.

I took the time to fry and simmer everything for as long as the recipe(s) directed, instead of rushing these steps as I usually do.

I don't have a blender so I puree everything in my foodprocessor. This leaves the final sauce just a little bit gritty. This time, I took the time to put the finished sauce through a mesh strainer one last time (It's what you really DON'T want to do after an afternoon of chopping and frying and pureeing and sieving :shock: ) and I think that made all the difference. The result is a much smoother and more elegant sauce. Really worth the trouble. Oh boy was it good. I'm so glad I still have some in the freezer!

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