Mole Poblano

Jorge and I made Mole Poblano this week. Our guests all enjoyed the dish and asked me to blog the recipe. So here you have our version of this classic entree from the central Mexican state of Puebla…

mole

MOLE POBLANO

(for 8 persons)

Place the following ingredients in a large pot and completely cover with water (about 3 quarts). Put on the lid and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and stew everything for 1/2 hour.

  • 2 chickens, cut into quarters, skin removed
  • ½ med. white onion, chopped coarsely
  • 4 whole cloves of garlic, skinned
  • 1 T. salt
  • 10 whole black pepper corns
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano

While the chicken is stewing, cook and char on a stove top griddle:

  • 1 lg. white onion
  • 1 lg. red pepper
  • 2 lg. Roma tomatoes

Cut the vegetables (charred skins and all) into large chunks and put them in the blender. Add:

  • 2 oz. of dark chocolate (La Abuelita)
  • 1/2  tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 T. chicken consommé powder (Maggi)
  • the contents of 2 jars (235g. each) of (DoñaMaria) mole paste.

When the chicken is cooked, remove the pieces and set them on a platter to cool for ½ hour – then remove the meat from the bones in as large pieces as possible. Set the chicken pieces to one side. Discard the bones.

Strain the broth, discard the onion and other bits, and then take out enough broth to cover the ingredients in the blender. Process until smooth. If your blender’s glass is not a large one, do one half of the ingredients at a time.  Transfer the mixture to a clay cooking pot or other large pot.

Reserve 4 cups of the broth so you can use it when making the rice, and add all the rest to the blended mixture in the cooking pot. Stir well and put the pot on medium heat. The mixture will be “soupy”, so you need to let it reduce by about a third, or until it has the texture of a creamy sauce.

Add the chicken pieces to the mole sauce and simmer for 20 minutes.

Measure out:

  • 2 cups of rice

And prepare it as you please, but instead of using water, use the:

  • 4 cups of reserved chicken broth

To the steaming rice, add:

  • 2 envelopes of condimento español

(this is basically turmeric and is available at you corner store or in the market)

Optional ingredients::

  • ¼ cup of toasted sesame seeds
  • light cream
  • red onion
  • cilantro leaves

To plate:

Mold ½ cup of rice on one side of the plate. Spoon the Mole beside it. To garnish the mole, I sometimes run a line of cream over the top and sprinkle it with the toasted sesame seeds. Sometimes I place thinly sliced red onion on top or I use cilantro leaves.

I serve guacamole, fried plantains and hot corn tortillas with this meal. I pair it with a robust red wine.

Spaghetti for the Holidays

 

Getting into the Holiday spirit

Getting into the Holiday spirit

Do you get a lot of extra company in December? At our house, friends and family who are in town for the holidays often drop by unexpectedly, and I have to quickly put a meal together.

So this week I’ll be making a big pot of spaghetti sauce, and freezing it in 2 L. containers. I’ll also freeze 4 long baguettes (for garlic bread), and make sure we have salad greens, peperoncino, parmesano, a few extra bottles of Shiraz, and Christmas baking to serve for dessert.

Holiday  Spaghetti Sauce

 Ingredients

½ kilo ground pork

½ kilo ground beef

2 Italian sausages (cut into 1 inch pieces)

100 grams of bacon (cut into 1 inch pieces)

5 whole garlic cloves (or to your taste)

1 large white onion (chopped)

1 large green pepper (chopped)

2 stalks of celery (chopped)

5 Roma tomatoes (chopped)

20 button mushrooms (cut in halves)

1 T. each of dried: oregano, basil, rosemary, powdered consommé (Maggi)

1 tsp. each of: crushed black pepper corns, sugar, (fennel optional)

Olive oil

2 liters tomato sauce (2 large cans)

1 cup red wine

To make the sauce

Sauté the garlic in olive oil. Just as it begins to turn golden-colored (be careful not to let it burn), remove the cloves from the oil and set to one side – later you can crush them into butter to make garlic bread.

Add the meats and brown for ten minutes, breaking up any really large chunks.

Add the chopped onion, green pepper, and celery. Continue cooking for 5 min. or until the vegetables turn translucent.

Pour off any excess fat

 Add the spices

Add the tomatoes and tomato sauce

Add the mushrooms

Add the wine

Simmer uncovered for 1 hour

*** The recipe makes 6 – 8 liters of sauce (depending on how much liquid evaporates while cooking)

Chiles en Nogada

It’s THAT time of year again… during August and in September, Mexicans savor one of the country’s most famous dishes: Chiles en Nogada (Chilies in Walnut Sauce.)

I post my recipe every year, and hope that some brave souls will give it a go!

I’ll be making Chiles en Nogada this week… how about you?

CHILES EN NOGADA

The Picadillo (Meat filling)

Saute 1 kilo of ground pork with:

1 medium onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

Add salt and pepper to taste

When the meat is cooked, use a small molcajete (mortar and pestle) or coffee grinder to pulverize:
8 peppercorns
5 whole cloves
1/2 inch stick cinnamon

Add the ground spices to the meat mixture with:

2 heaping Tbsp blanched and slivered almonds
2 heaping Tbsp dried citrus fruit peel and salt to taste

Cut in tiny pieces:
1   1/2 pounds of tomatoes,
2 pears, cored, peeled and chopped
2 peaches, pitted, peeled and chopped

Add whole: 100 grams of raisins

Mix everything together

The Chilies:

Put  8 chiles poblanos (and you MUST use this type of chili) straight into a fairly high flame or under a broiler and let the skin blister and burn. Turn the chilies from time to time so they do not get overcooked or burn right through. Wrap the chilies in a plastic bag and leave them for about 20 minutes. (they will sweat and the skin will be easier to remove) Make a slit in the side of each chili and carefully remove the seeds and veins. Be careful to leave the top of the chili (the part around the base of the stem) intact. Rinse the chilies and pat them dry.

Stuff the chilies with the picadillo until they are well filled out. Set them aside on paper towels then put them in the fridge to chill (If you wish, they can be refrigerated until the next day)

 The Nogada (walnut sauce)

The day before you plan on eating the chilies, soak 2 cups of walnuts overnight in cold milk

On serving day:

Drain and pulverize the nuts, then blend them with:
1 small piece white bread without crust
1/4 lb queso fresco
1 1/2 cups cream
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
Large pinch of cinnamon

When the sauce is smooth, refrigerate it until it is cold.

 To Serve

Set the chilies on a plate and drizzle them with the walnut sauce. Then, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley leaves and pomegranate seeds.

You can accompany this dish with guacamole, rice and tortillas.

Note: Although the original recipe calls for walnuts, I often substitute pecans. The difference in flavor is there but barely.

Two Poblano Chile Recipes

DSCF1337Last month my friend Susana asked me to lead a memoir writing workshop at Villa Serena, her wellness center located in García Ginerés. Our group has bonded well, and feel comfortable with one another.  At the end of our last session, one of the participants told us that his sister and nephew would be visiting… and could Susana and I show them a Mexican recipe or two? He didn’t have to ask twice; cooking together is something Susana and I both enjoy.

“Most people have heard of the festive dish called Chiles en Nogada,” Susana said, “but there are many other fillings for poblano chiles. Two of my favorites are Stuffed Chiles Cooked with Rice and Chiles with Guacamole.”

And that’s what we decided to make with our visitors… they enjoyed them so much and I thought you would too.

  •  The first (and most time consuming) step is to prepare the poblano chiles: After washing
    Char the chiles over an open flame
    Char the chiles over an open flame

    16 poblanos, dry them and place them over the open flame of a gas burner, turning frequently until evenly charred. Use tongs to remove the chiles from the burners and place them in a plastic bag for 20 – 30 minutes so that the charred skin will blister and can be peeled off. Once the chiles have been peeled, make a lengthwise cut so you can de-vein and remove the seeds. Rinse the peeled, de-veined and seeded chiles under a slow steam of cold water and pat them dry.

      Next, prepare the meat filling and the tomato sauce…
Preparing the Picadillo
Preparing the Picadillo

Picadillo (meat filling)

Finely chop: 1 white onion, 1 bell pepper and 5 cloves of garlic

Sauté the vegetables with 3/4 kilo of ground pork

When cooked through, add: 1 T. oregano, 3 crushed clove, salt & pepper to taste.

Tomato Sauce:

Tomato Sauce and Broth
Tomato Sauce and Broth

Wash 2 kilos of Roma tomatoes , chop coarsely and liquefy them (you’ll need to add about 1 cup of water to each blender-full of tomatoes) Put the watery sauce into a large skillet and let the mixture cook down. It will take about an hour for the sauce to thicken, then add salt to taste.

  • We also need to prepare Guacamole:  Mash 6 large ripe Hass avocados
Grinding spices in a molcajete
Grinding spices in a molcajeteMash 6 large ripe Hass avocados

Finely chop: ½ white onion, 1 green chile (seeded and de-veined), 2 Roma tomatoes, then mix into the mashed avocado

Add the juice of 3 lemons, chopped     fresh cilantro, salt & pepper to taste… and combine well.

  • When the chiles are ready for stuffing, and the picadillo, tomato sauce and guacamole are made, it is time to put together the two recipes…
Filling chiles
Filling chiles

Chiles Stuffed with Pork Filling & Yellow Rice

Mix 1 – 2 cups of the tomato sauce into the meat mixture and combine well. You should have a damp filling that holds together. The amount of tomato sauce you use will depend on how liquid it is. The thicker the tomato sauce, the better it will bind the meat filling.

Holding a chile in the palm of your hand, gently spoon the meat filling into 8 of the chilis, DSCF1334then set the stuffed chiles to one side.

While the rice is sautéing, heat 8 cups of water to boiling then add 3 tsp. consommé powder and three envelopes of condimento español (this is basically turmeric and is used to color the broth)

Empty 6 cups of the boiling stock into the sautéed rice and cover. When the rice starts to inflate, correct the salt to taste, and arrange the stuffed chiles on top and cover again. The rice will continue cooking. If you need to, (and you probably will) add more of the reserved stock until the rice is fully cooked.

Picadillo
Picadillo

To serve: Place a large spoonful of yellow rice across the plate, and set the stuffed chiles on top. Cover the chiles with left-over tomato sauce and garnish the top with chopped parsley or cilantro.

You can accompany this dish with the other chile recipe, black or red beans and tortillas

Poblano Peppers Stuffed with Guacamole

Chiles Stuffed with Guacamole
Chiles Stuffed with Guacamole

Gently spoon the guacamole into the other 8 peppers, and set them on top of a platter of romaine lettuce. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve. Just before taking the platter to the table, pour some thick cream over top of the chiles and garnish with chopped cilantro (and pomegranate seeds if they are in season)

These chiles can be served as an accompanying vegetable dish with any meat, rice or pasta entree.

DSCF1346¡Buen provecho!