Winter Squash & Red Bean Mole

This is an another amazing vegetarian chili variation. Hearty too. It was especially wonderful for me as well because it incorporated a lot of flavors typically used in a traditional Mexican mole, one of my absolute loves.

This recipe was adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant Table: 250 Brand-New Recipes from the Natural Foods Restaurant that Revolutionized Eating in America from the Moosewood Collective. I doubled the recipe, increased the garlic, and omitted the ground fennel. We ate it with corn muffins and a green salad. Fabulous!

Yield: Serves 8 to 12

  • 4 T olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (I used 2 large onions)
  • 10-12 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ground fennel seeds, optional
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 T chopped fresh thyme of 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup seeded and chopped poblano peppers (can substitute cubanelle peppers)
  • 3 cups seeded and chopped red, yellow, or orange bell peppers (I used 2 red, 1 yellow, & 1 orange)
  • 6 cups diced butternut squash (bite-size cubes), from 1 medium butternut squash
  • 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 2 2/3 cups water
  • 6 T pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 T sesame seeds
  • 2 15-oz cans red kidney beans, drained
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped, or to taste
  • 3 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used 72% cacao dark chocolate)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • sour cream, for garnish
  • thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
  1. In a heavy bottomed pot on medium heat, warm the oil. (I used an enameled cast iron pot.)
  2. Add the onions, garlic, fennel, cinnamon, thyme, salt, and black pepper and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions soften, stirring often to prevent sticking.
  3. Add the celery, poblano peppers, and bell peppers and cook for another 5 minutes until the peppers brighten and become fragrant.
  4. Stir in the squash and cook for a minute or two more.
  5. Add the tomatoes and water to the pot, cover, bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
  7. Using a spice grinder, mini food processor, or a mortar and pestle, finely grind the pepitas and sesame seeds.
  8. When the squash is tender, stir the ground seeds, kidney beans, chipotles to taste, and chocolate into the stew. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Stir in the cilantro.
  10. Garnish with more cilantro, sliced scallions, and/or sour cream, as desired.

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Six Years Ago:

Shrimp in Green Mole

I am a HUGE fan of a flavorful green sauce. This one did not disappoint. I would have just gobbled up the sauce with rice, but I served it with shrimp for the rest of the family. 😉 The shrimp is cooked in the wonderful sauce, so it was also delicious!

This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Martha Rose Shulman. I loved the contrasting texture from the crunchy, pan-toasted pumpkin seed garnish. Excellent.

Yield: Serves 4

  • ½ cup hulled untoasted pumpkin seeds
  • ½ pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 1 serrano chile or 1/2 jalapeño (more to taste), stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 3 large romaine lettuce leaves, preferably the outer leaves, torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup chopped white onion, soaked for 5 minutes in cold water, drained and rinsed, plus more for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ¼ cup tightly packed chopped cilantro, plus cilantro leaves and sprigs for garnish
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon canola or extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound medium-large tail-on shrimp, shelled and deveined (I used 21-25 count per pound)
  • brown Basmati rice, for serving
  1. Heat a heavy straight-sided skillet or a saucepan over medium heat and add pumpkin seeds. Wait until you hear one seed pop, then stir constantly until they have puffed and popped and smell toasty, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not let them darken beyond golden or they will taste bitter. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool. Remove 2 tablespoons to use as garnish and set aside.
  2. Place remaining cooled pumpkin seeds in a blender or Vitamix, and add tomatillos, chile, lettuce, onion, garlic, cilantro and 1/2 cup chicken stock. Cover and blend mixture until smooth, stopping the blender to stir if necessary.
  3. Heat oil in the skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin and let it sizzle for a couple of seconds, then add puréed tomatillo mixture.
  4. Cook, stirring often, until sauce darkens and thickens, 8 to 10 minutes. It will splutter, so be careful. You can hold the lid above the pot to shield yourself and the stove, or set the lid on the pot to partly cover it.
  5. Add remaining cup of chicken stock, bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring often, until sauce is thick and creamy, 10 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
  6. Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Shortly before serving, bring mole sauce to a simmer and add shrimp. Simmer 5 to 8 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through but still moist.
  7. Serve over rice, garnishing each serving with toasted pumpkin seeds, diced onion, and cilantro.

Note: The sauce can be made up to three days ahead and kept refrigerated until ready to use it. Alternatively, it can be frozen, just whisk or blend to restore its consistency after thawing.

Three Years Ago:

Four Years Ago:

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Rick Bayless’ Red Mole Enchiladas with Shredded Chicken

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. Add the raisins, stir for a minute as they puff, then use the slotted spoon to scoop them in with the almonds.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Add the pureed almond mixture and cook, stirring constantly for another few minutes, until very thick once again.
  8. 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:

  1. Warm a plate for each person in a warming drawer or in the oven on the lowest setting.
  2. 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.
  3. Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet, stirring frequently, over medium heat until golden, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. 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. IMG_8221
  5. 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.

Notes:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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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Slow-Cooker Chicken Mole

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My entire family LOVES Mexican food. I love it all but mole is my absolute favorite Mexican dish.  I can’t believe that I have never posted this fabulous recipe! I have made it several times- it must be the easiest mole to make- EVER. This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food. We ate it over brown basmati rice with cumin spiced sautéed kale with onions on the side.

  • Yield: Serves 8
  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 12-15)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
  • 1 medium yellow or 1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 large chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted (425 degree oven for 2-3 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (1/2 cup) (I used Trader Joe’s 72% Dark Chocolate)
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
  • rice, sour cream, avocado for serving, optional (I used brown basmati rice)
  1. Season chicken thighs with salt and place in a 5-to-6-quart slow cooker. In a blender, puree tomatoes, onion, ancho and chipotle chiles, almonds, raisins, chocolate, garlic, oil, cumin, and cinnamon until smooth.
  2. Add tomato mixture to slow cooker, cover, and cook on high until chicken is tender, 4 hours (or 8 hours on low). Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve chicken and sauce over rice topped with cilantro, avocado, and/or sour cream, if desired.

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One Year Ago:

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Mario Batali’s Chocolate Chicken Mole

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Mole is one of my favorite things in this world to eat. When we lived in Chicago, we would go to a restaurant that served a different type of mole every night of the week- heaven! When I saw Mario Batali make this mole on The Chew, I couldn’t wait to try it. Wonderful!! Yay! My family- especially my son- gobbled it up too. 🙂

The original recipe called for Mexican drinking chocolate, but, after an unsuccessful search for it, I substituted my favorite Trader Joe’s 72% cacao dark chocolate- perfect. According to Mario Batali, the burnt tortilla is very important for the resulting texture and smokiness of the sauce; I charred the corn tortilla on the open flame of my gas range. I also used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for convenience. The sesame seeds provided a contrasting texture in the otherwise smooth sauce. FABULOUS!!

  • 8 Bone-In Skin-On Chicken Thighs or 10-12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 small White Onions (diced)
  • 3 Garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 1/2 cup Peanuts
  • 1/4 cup whole Almonds
  • 1/4 cup Sesame Seeds
  • 1 Corn Tortilla (charred and cut into 8 wedges)
  • 4 large Guajillo; New Mexico; or California Chiles (stems removed)
  • 3 large Dried Mulato or Ancho Chiles (stems removed)
  • 1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 2 cups Chicken Stock
  • 3 ounces Mexican Drinking Chocolate or 72% cacao dark chocolate (grated)
  • Cilantro (leaves only; to garnish)
  • Lime Wedges (to garnish)
  • Brown Basmati Rice, for serving
  • Sour Cream, for serving, if desired
  1. In a large dutch oven, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken deeply on all sides and remove to a plate. Add the onions, garlic, and cinnamon to the pot and cook over medium-low for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the peanuts, almonds, sesame seeds, charred tortilla, and chiles. Pour 3 cups of boiling water over the contents of the bowl and steep for 5 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid, remove solids to a food processor, and pulse with just enough water to create a sauce-like paste.
  3. Pour the paste over the onion mixture, and add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Add the chicken pieces and chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chocolate and simmer 2 more minutes. Serve with rice, sour cream, and fresh cilantro leaves and lime wedges, if desired.

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