Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Green Mole - Pronounced Moe-Lay

This week involves prepping for Mother's Day Brunch and Tamale Making party. I typically make pork or chicken for the tamale filling and flavor the meat with this green mole or mole poblano (rich sauce flavored with several types of chilis, chocolate and spices). Green mole is the easier mole to make; it takes about 90 minutes to two hours and much of that time is unattended cooking. Mole poblano is a whole other story since it is at minimum a six hours process and that is only if you have all the ingredients on hand.

Since green mole is less time consuming and what I consider to be a fresher sauce, I tend to make it closer to the time of using it. However, if you make a big batch and don't plan to use it right away it freezes well and can last awhile stored that way. Green mole is a good sauce to use for chicken, pork or fish. I also tend to make it with vegetable broth so that my vegetarian friends can just eat it with rice. It would probably go very well with tofu even.

In a large pan filled with water, add 8 medium (approx 12 ounces) fresh, green tomatillos that have been husked and washed; one medium tomato; 1 poblano chili ; and 3 jalapeno chilis. Do not cut any of the vegetables; you will de-stem and de-seed the chilis later and the tomatillos and tomato will be left whole. Turn on the burner and cover, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. (You can used canned tomatillos - use 1 1/2 13-ounce cans- and if you do you will not need to simmer them with chilis.)

Next place a medium-sized skillet on burner, put the heat to medium and when the pan is hot add one cup of hulled, un-toasted pumpkin seeds. The seeds should start popping and you need to stir constantly to prevent them from burning. When they have all popped and nicely toasted (approximately 4-5 min) remove from the heat and place in a pie plate or cool cookie sheet. This will stop the seeds from cooking and start the cooling process.

Now clean five large romaine lettuce leaves and half a bunch of cilantro. You want to make sure to remove any grit from both of these items. Shake out excess water but don't worry about completely drying. Tear the lettuce into rough smaller pieces for easier processing in the blender. Next, rough chop half a medium onion and three cloves of garlic. Set aside near the toasted pumpkin seeds.

By this time, the tomatillos and chilis should be cooked. You will drain them and let cool slightly. When you can, remove the poblano and jalapenos from the pan and cut away the stem, slice the chilis in half and scoop out the seeds using a small teaspoon. Then roughly chop the chilis and set aside. (When working with chilis it is always a good idea to wear thin latex gloves. If you don't, even after washing your hands, the oils can linger and you discover - after gently rubbing you eye sometime later - that they had quite a kick. Rinsing your eye with cool water will help but it might take awhile for the burning sensation to go away.)

Now that all the ingredients are prepped, you will use a blender to pulverize everything together into a smooth puree. You will have to add the ingredients to the blender in small batches and pour each batch into a large pan (I typically use the same pan I used to simmer the tomatillos and chilis). Since most of the ingredients are dry add enough broth to each batch (1/4 to 1/2 cup per batch is usually enough) to help with the pureeing. You will need at least 4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth. After pureeing all the ingredients, add any leftover broth to the pureed ingredients in the pan.

You will turn the burner onto low and let the mole simmer for approximately 30 minutes. It will change from a fresh, avocado green color to a more grayish, green color similar to the color of overcooked/canned peas.

1 comment:

Eleanor said...

I can't wait until Sunday. Yum mole!
I love your blog and really look forward to reading it. I'm going to pass it on.

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