A very exciting thing has been happening in our supermarkets down here in the South. Over the course of the last few years, they have started stocking exotic items, at least to people used to buying the ingredients for biscuits and gravy. Particularly, in the area of Mexican food. In the olden days the most exciting thing you could find was an Old El Paso taco kit. Now we have tomatillos, cactus paddles, and acres of different types of dried chiles. This is very exciting to me.
The other day, faced with a lack of imagination as to what to make for supper, I remembered mole. I can’t make that little symbol over the “e” to have it look correct, but basically mole is a Mexican sauce that can be made in literally hundreds of different ways. But it always starts with dried chiles.
I was stupid when I started making this. I soaked the chiles but the skins still seemed kind of tough. So I took a knife and tried to take out the soft-looking interior. Well, that was a mistake. I ended up with about a teaspoon of chile. Read the directions, dummy. Just chop them up and throw them in a blender. It all works out. Mole is wonderful on chicken, which is generally how you see it on a Mexican restaurant menu. But you can also use it in other ways.
The first thing I did with the mole was use it as a sauce on a fried tortilla pulled pork taco. Just fry a flour tortilla, both sides, in hot oil until it puffs up and browns a bit. Then top with Mexican melting cheese (another great find), pulled pork, mole, lettuce and sour cream. Mark at three of them and was eying mine. You could use shredded brisket or chicken and it would be just as delicious. Then a few days later, I made pizza and instead of the tomato sauce I used the mole. Mark ate half the pizza in one sitting and the rest for lunch the next day. I love an enthusiastic eater.
If you have leftover mole, put it in a baggie and freeze it. It freezes beautifully, as we say in the South, and you can add it to soups or stews for an extra something something.
Mole with Pine Nuts and Golden Raisins
4 dried pasilla chile peppers
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
½ cup yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¾ cup chicken broth
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons golden raisins
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coriander
Salt and pepper
1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened baking chocolate
Boil a small saucepan of water. Turn off the heat and add the dried peppers. Soak about five minutes until softened. Drain, remove stem and seeds, and chop roughly. Add the chiles, tomatoes, onion and garlic to a blender and blend into a smooth paste. Add broth, pine nuts, raisins, and spices. Continue to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer mole to a saucepan over medium low heat and add the chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted.