This dish was a labor of love. Rick Bayless titled it “Simple” Red Mole, but I took the “Simple” away from my title. 🙂 The method is simple, but there were so many steps required to make this ultra-FABULOUS sauce I couldn’t describe the dish as simple. Every step was completely worth it! Mole is my absolute favorite and this is a wonderful version. When tasting the sauce for seasoning, I could have gobbled up the entire pot! I did simplify the recipe by using shredded rotisserie chicken in the filling. This recipe is from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen: Capturing the Vibrant Flavors of a World-Class Cuisine by Rick Bayless with Deann Groen Bayless and Jean Marie Brownson. We ate the enchiladas with rice, refried beans, and sautéed kale with spinach and garlic on the side.
Yield: Serves 6 to 9, with about 6 cups of sauce
For the Essential Sweet-and-Spicy Ancho Seasoning Paste:
- 8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 8 medium (about 4 ounces total) dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- scant 1/4 tsp freshly ground cloves
- 6 cups chicken stock, divided
To Finish the Dish:
- 3 T vegetable oil, plus a little more if needed
- 2 oz (about 1/2 cup) whole raw almonds (with or without skins)
- 1 medium white onion, sliced 1/8-inch thick, divided
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 2-3 ripe plum tomatoes
- scant 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) roughly chopped Mexican chocolate (I used Trader Joe’s 72% cacao Belgian dark chocolate)
- 2 slices firm white bread, toasted
- coarse salt, about 2 1/2 tsp, depending on saltiness of stock
- granulated sugar, about 1 tablespoon
- 18 corn tortillas (plus a few extra in case some break)
- a spoonful or two of sesame seeds, for garnish
- 3 cups cooked, coarsely shredded chicken (I used rotisserie chicken)
- rice, for serving, optional
- refried beans, for serving, optional
Make the Essential Sweet-and-Spicy Ancho Seasoning Paste:
- Roast the unpeeled garlic directly on an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet (I used a cast-iron skillet) over medium heat until soft (they’ll blacken in spots), about 10 minutes; cool and peel.
- While the garlic is roasting, toast the chiles on another side of the griddle or skillet: 1 or 2 at a time, open them flat and press down firmly on the hot surface with a spatula; in a few seconds, when they crackle, even send up a wisp of smoke, flip them and press down to toast the other side.
- In a bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure even soaking. Drain and discard the water.
- Combine the oregano, black pepper, cumin, and clove in a food processor along with the chiles, garlic, and 2/3 cup of the stock. Process to a smooth puree, scraping and stirring every few seconds. If the mixture won’t go through the blender blades, add a little more liquid. Remove from the food processor and set aside.
Make the Mole:
- In a medium-size (4 to 6-quart) pot (I used an enameled cast iron pot), heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil over medium. Add the almonds and cook, stirring regularly, until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the almonds to a food processor.
- Add half of the sliced onion to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until richly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes. Use the slotted spoon to scoop the onions in with the almonds, leaving behind as much oil as possible. (If needed, add a little more oil or lard to the pan, let heat, then continue.)
- Add the raisins, stir for a minute as they puff, then use the slotted spoon to scoop them in with the almonds.
- Roast the tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on one side, about 6 minutes, then flip them over and roast the other side.
- Once the tomatoes are cool, peel and add to the almond mixture in the food processor, along with the cinnamon, chocolate and toasted bread. Add 1 cup of the stock and blend to a smooth puree, scraping and stirring every few seconds.
- Return the pot to medium-high heat, and, if necessary, add a little more oil or lard to coat the bottom lightly. When very hot, add the ancho mixture and cook, stirring almost constantly, until darker and very thick, about 5 minutes.
- Add the pureed almond mixture and cook, stirring constantly for another few minutes, until very thick once again.
- Stir in the remaining 4 1/3 cups stock, partially cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, over medium-low for 45 minutes. Taste and season with salt and sugar. (The sugar balances the strong flavors.)
Finish the Enchiladas:
- Warm a plate for each person in a warming drawer or in the oven on the lowest setting.
- Warm the tortillas: I put 6 to 8 tortillas at a time on a microwave safe dish (I have a tortilla warmer) covered with a damp paper towel and lid or plastic wrap. Heat for 1 minute or until warm, soft and pliable.
- Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet, stirring frequently, over medium heat until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
- In a medium-size saucepan, combine the chicken with 1 1/2 cups of the mole and warm over medium heat. Bring the remaining mole to a simmer.
- To serve: Quickly make the enchiladas by scooping 2 generous tablespoons of chicken onto a tortilla, rolling it up and placing it on a warm dinner plate. Continue making enchiladas, arranging 2 or 3 per plate, then douse them liberally with the hot mole. Strew with the remaining sliced onion and toasted sesame seeds.
- The finished mole will keep for several days, covered and refrigerated; it also freezes well. Reheat, taste and adjust the seasonings before finishing the dish.
- Leftover chicken, pork, shredded roast, turkey, grilled steak, or even roasted squash or sweet potato mixed with grilled onion and/or blanched greens would also be wonderful fillings.
- The sauce could be served over poached chicken with rice on the side as an alternative special dinner.
One Year Ago:
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