First of all, I would like to say that I wish I knew how to make that little mark over the “e” in mole that would indicate that I am not about to talk about a sauce made of the animals that burrow under the ground. Of course, I am not going to do that. Let us proceed.
I cannot tell you how many times over the years I passed by the dried chiles in the grocery store because I was afraid of them. There were – oh, I don’t know – about 845 varieties and I was not going to get myself in the position of picking the wrong one. Worse, I did not know what to do with them when I got them home.
But one day I picked up a package of Frieda’s dried pasilla chiles and on the back was a recipe for mole (that’s mo-lay, ya’ll) sauce. If you have ever been in a Mexican restaurant and failed to order something with mole sauce you are just too sad for words. It is spicy, but not too spicy, and the thing that really finishes it off is a tiny bit of unsweetened chocolate.
So I brought my package of chiles home, sat them on the counter and regarded them with suspicion. The directions said to soak them in boiling water. I did. Then it said to chop them up. The first time I tried to take the skin off as you would a charred sweet pepper. Well, that was stupid. There was barely enough flesh left to fit in a thimble. So the next time, I just threw them in the blender with the rest of the mole ingredients and somehow that tough skin just disappeared into the sauce. I’ve been addicted ever since.
Can I pause to say that I have had the same blender since 1983? It is an Osterizer Pulsematic. Doesn’t that just smack of the ’80s? It is a little sad looking now, the original lovely tan plastic now a pallid shadow of itself and pocked with various remnants of frozen Margarita mix and pancake batter. But it still works just fine and is my preferred vehicle when I want to take my mole sauce on a little blender ride. I will no doubt be astounded when I finally give in and buy a new blender that there have been some improvements over the last 28 years.
But I digress. So this is decidedly not my recipe. This is Frieda’s recipe. I usually serve it with grilled or baked fish, but it would also be fabulous over shrimp. If you like a little spicy, you will love this. If not, just eat a taco and call it done.
4 Frieda’s Dried Pasilla Negro Chiles, rehydrated according to package directions
1 cup tomato, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken broth or water
1 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp. raisins
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 oz. (1 square) unsweetened chocolate
1 tbsp. sugar
Cut off stems of softened chiles and slit lengthwise. Scrape out seeds; chop coarsely. Place chiles in food processor or blender with tomato, onion, and garlic. Cover and process until smooth. Add broth, sesame seeds, raisins, and spices. Process until pureed.
In a large skillet, heat oil. Add the sesame puree; cook over medium-low heat about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chocolate and sugar; stir until chocolate is melted. (Be careful not to burn chocolate). Spoon sauce over grilled or broiled chicken, turkey, or meats. Makes 2 cups sauce; 4 servings.