I am not talking about the big mole scene from Austin Powers. This is one of the most complicated food I have evermade. Why did I make mole? Because my friend went to Mexico and brought back a bunch of dried chillies. When you have bag full of chili, you naturally make mole, right? I think I've had mole about three times in my life, so I have no idea how it should taste. Googled around for a bunch of recipes, and decided on one recipe, and mixing it with another.
So he gave me five different kinds, and I used three of them.
Here are the ingredients.
About 1/2 cup of sesame seeds
3/4 cup oil
8 garlic cloves
1 cup unskinned almonds
1 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cloves
bread (I didn't have loaf home, so just bought a piece of bread from deli)
3 quarts chicken broth
salt and sugar
1. Heat the oven to broiler. Quarter tomatillos, and lay on baking sheet. Broil for about five minutes or so.
Dump them in a bowl.
Toast sesame seeds, dump into bowl with tomatillos.
Open chilies, de-seed and lay flat on baking sheet.
Lower the oven temp to 400˚F, and put them in for about three minutes. The recipe said "Open you kitchen window and turn the vent on high". I didn't know the relevance of this process, but shortly after I put it in the oven, I understood why. I started smelling the chili and a bit of a burning smell, so I opened the oven, and I got blinded by the smoke coming out of it. I mean, it was SMOKEY, and immediately the entire apartment was filled with thick smoke. I ran to the window, opened it, then grabbed a magazine and started fanning the shit out from underneath the smoke detector for about five minutes. Total disaster. I thought I burned the chilies. Priority right here was to get rid of the smoke from apartment, and after that was taken care of, I returned to the kitchen.
This looks kinda burned, but didn't smell totally burned, and after all, majority of them were black from the beginning so it was hard to tell what the status was, but I went along with it. Soak the chilies in hot water (hot tap water is fine) to re-hydrate.
While chilies are taking a bath, heat oil in large pot, and fry almond and garlic, for about five minutes until garlic is soft. Put in a bowl. Then fry cubed plantain for about a minute, add to the bowl. Fry raisins for about 30 seconds. When they get really plump, add them to the bowl.
Add all spices (except for salt and sugar), chocolate and pretty well toasted bread (torn into small pieces) to the bowl. My friend brought Pierre Marcolini chocolate from Belgium, and I thought this would be a good way to use up leftover chocolate. Plus, it's Tabasco Mexique flavor. I didn't taste any tabasco, but sounds good to add into mole, right?
Add two cups of water to the bowl.
Now it's time to go back to chilies. Once they re-hydrate, it's time to blend them. Taste the soaking water, and if it's not bitter (Yay, it wasn't, that means I didn't burn them), use the soaking water. But if it is bitter, use regular water. Put chilies in blender and add enough water (recipe said to use three cups of water, but the more water you use, it takes longer to simmer, so use your own judgment) and blend until smooth. Press through strainer (shouldn't be too fine, otherwise it won't press through).
So far so good.
Dump the chili sauce into the same pot you fried other ingredients (make sure the pot is smoking hot), and bring it to boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes or so until it thickens. Stir often so that it doesn't burn the bottom of the pot.
Meanwhile, blend the rest of the ingredients together. Depending on its thickness, you might need to add extra water (about 1/2 cup) to be able to run the blender. Try to blend this as smooth as possible. The smoother this is, the better and smoother texture of the final product.
After the chilies are reduced down, add above to the pot. Below picture reminds me of Slumdog Millionare. Quite shitty, literally.
From here on, you just keep simmering. I apparently didn't blend the tomatillo/almond mixture smooth enough, so it was pretty rough, and in the middle of simmering, I used an immersion blender to make it smoother. Add salt and sugar (about 1/3 cup) to taste.
Here comes the difficulty. I had no idea if it tasted good. I didn't have anything to compare this to other moles. It tasted fine, but what does great mole taste like? So I called my Mexican friend, and he came over for a taste test. Apparently it lacked chocolate, and wasn't thick enough. Since it was too late to go buy chocolate, I called it a day and waited until next morning.
I added dark chocolate and cooked for about additional four hours. Still, without knowing if it was done, I got too tired of stirring, so I decided this is the end.
To serve it, I simply roasted pork tenderloin. As you can see in the pic above and below, the color is a lot darker at the end, and adding chocolate totally made sense. It added depth to the sauce. It was smokey, spicy, and sweet.
I made it for my friend's 35th Birthday.
Mole takes too long to make. Unless I get another bags of chilies, I don't think I will make this again. However, it tasted very good. I still have a jar full of it, and it makes very easy sorta-enchilada with store bought rotisserie chicken, which I made a couple of days ago.
Interesting experience, though.