As the weather cools down, it’s time to change up the seasonal menu at Chez Melli. B/c really, we do sort of run our meals as if we’re a restaurant. Minor problem is that we’re sort of between seasons. Everything from the summer garden (less about a zillion hot peppers) has been eaten, while the fall garden was just planted this afternoon. Other problem is, we were feeling kind of bored w/ our usual dishes. I mean, I know it sounds absurdly snooty, but how much homemade pasta, pizza, and tortillas can one girl eat? Anyhoo, after some cookbook reconnaissance, we picked some new dishes for the week. One involves something that, at least until tonight, I’d never tried before — mole.
Now my lack of mole familiarity is entirely attributable to the fact that I’ve only ever seen it served w/ poultry. While my status as a vegetarian has been brought into question after slaughtering my first pig,I pretty much despise poultry. Hence, I was a zero mole kind of gal.
Tonight we had (vegetarian) mole. And holy moley (bad pun, couldn’t resist) is it tasty!
I slightly adapted a recipe from one of my very favorite veg cookbook folks, Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Her recipes are brilliant and have satisfied many a skeptical carnivorous family member.
Making mole was a delight. The combination of ingredients is patently odd by American standards, but the flavor and texture that result are super. It’s a little ingredient- and bowl-intensive, but otherwise easy to make.
First, it was a matter of toasting the nuts/seeds for the mole base…
then I mixed the spices.
I combined those in my trusty food processor and ground them to bits. Next, I emulsified some peanut butter w/ a little hot stock. Then everything went back in the skillet w/ some diced tomatoes.
Once it cooked down for about 10 minutes, it was on to the blender. It turned a phenomenal orange color.
*Then* it went back into the skillet for the final step — some fancy pantsy Taza chocolate. This chocolate is divine…and I’m not just saying that b/c the man is friends w/ the owners. It’s just plainly superior.
The result of my labor was some tasty goodness, in a lovely shade of dark pumpkin.
We had it as part of a cornbread/spinach casserole. I may have had three pieces. I *never* have three pieces of anything…other than Twizzlers or Hot Tamales.
Chile Chocolate Mole
(slightly adapted from Veganomnicon)
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1/3 c. crushed tortilla chips
2 T sesame seeds
1 t. anise seeds
3 t.chili powder
1 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. cumin seeds
1/4 t. ground allspice
3 T canola oil
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
2 c. hot stock
2 T creamy peanut butter
1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes
3 oz of Taza chocolate (We used the salt and pepper one)
Prepare the spice mixture: Put almonds, tortilla chips, sesame seeds and anise seeds in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Toast over medium heat for ~3 minutes. The seeds should start to color.
Cool slightly then transfer to a food processor. Add the rest of the spices, then process until fine.
Using the same large skillet, sauté garlic and onion until soft, ~5 minutes.
While the onions are cooking, combine peanut butter and a few tablespoons of the hot broth. When it’s emulsified and easy to pour, add it to the skillet, along w/ remaining stock, tomatoes and spice mixture. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for ~10 minutes. The sauce will reduce slightly.
Transfer mole to a blender; blend until smooth. Return mole to skillet and place over low heat. Add chopped chocolate, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
It makes a ton. I just put the left over 1.5 cups in the freezer.