Monday, September 5, 2011

Chicken and Pork Mole de La Abuela Ramoncita

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
I've had chicken mole back in graduate school when my friend Luis invited us over for dinner at his apartment. Luis is Mexican from the town of Queretaro. It was my first foray into authentic Mexican food and it was quite an experience. Luis is quite the chef and it was the first time I also tried pickled cactus at his urging. I did not like it but it was not an unpleasant experience and I'm just glad I gave it a try. I just don't like pickled anything so it was not the cacti's fault. The mole sauce that he made though was really very good and I seem to remember asking for the recipe but it is all very fuzzy now so he might have a better answer as to why I did not get the recipe back then. 

I made my own version of Chciken Mole Poblano using Tyler Florence's recipe while at Emory. On a whim, I thought I'll send it over to Luis for him to check if the recipe is credible enough to pass as authentic as I planned to make chicken mole this weekend. Let me just put it this way, his first response was, STTOOOOOOPP! This was followed by, "I'll have my wife send you a real recipe of mole." That was good enough for me. While I patiently waited, I was not ready for the surprise that came my way when the recipe arrived. It was a lot more different than what I thought it would be. My idea of mole is a bunch of dried chilies reconstituted in broth and flavored with chocolate. I did not anticipate the inclusion of animal crackers, plantain bananas and lard. So, without further ado, I'm sharing the recipe that Luis and his wife, Teresa graciously shared with me that belonged to Teresa's Grandmother, Ramoncita.

Chicken and Pork Mole de La Abuela Ramoncita

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
6 dried poblano peppers (ancho)
4 dried pasilla chili (chili   con negra)
1 banana plantain
1 Fuji apple, peeled
1 1/2 cup animal crackers
3/4 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp anise seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds,   toasted
1/2 cup skinless almonds,   toasted
1 cup peanuts, roasted
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 onion, sliced
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 chocolate tablet
1/2 lb lard
2-4 tbsp vegetable oil
2 lbs pork, cut in large pieces
4 lbs chicken, cut in large pieces

1. Cook the pork in water and season with salt and pepper and a clove of 
    garlic. Boil for about 30 minutes. In a separate pot, do the same for the 
    chicken. Set aside.  

2. Deseed the dried chilies and dry toast in a non stick pan over medium 
    heat. Be careful not to burn them. Once toasted, put in a glass bowl 
    and pour enough hot water the soak them, about 1 cup. Set aside. 

3. On the same pan, dry toast the onions and garlic until browned on both 
    side. Set aside.

4. In succession, dry toast the almonds, peanuts and sesame seeds. Set 
    them aside. Lastly, toast the anise seeds and the cinnamon for about 
    a minute. Set aside. 

5. On the same pan, add 2 tbsp of oil and fry the bananas and apples 
    until caramelized on both sides. You may have to do this in batches. 
    Set aside. Add 2 more tbsp of oil and fry the raisins. 

6. To make the chili paste, take the reconstituted chilies and the liquid 
    and put them in a blender. Blitz until you get a smooth paste. If you 
    need more liquid, use the pork broth until you achieve a thick dark 
    paste, about 2 cups. 

7. To make the spice paste, blitz the rest of the toasted and fried 
    ingredients. Use the pork broth to aid in the blending. You will end up 
    with about 8 - 10 cups of spice paste. 

8. In a deep sauce pot, warm the lard over medium heat. Once melted, 
    add the sugar and the chocolate tablet. Stir until the chocolate is fully 

9. Add the chili paste and mix. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 
    minutes. Add the spice paste and simmer for another 30 minutes. Check 
    for flavor and correct with salt. 

10. In a large deep sauce pan, take about half of the mole and add about 
    1/2 cup of water to thin out the mole paste. Add the chicken and pork 
    pieces and simmer for another 15 minutes. The mole should have the 
    consistency of ketchup. Add more mole paste if needed. Garnish with 
    toasted sesame seeds and serve with Mexican rice. 

The mole paste you get from this recipe is more than you will need unless you are making a giant batch. You can freeze the rest of the mole paste. I doubled the recipe and I obtained a whole pot of mole paste which I plan to cook over the next few months. 

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