The national dish of Mexico, mole(pronounced Moh-lay)is a concoction of many different spices including chocolate and chile, slow cooked into a thick sauce. And, like its curry counterpart, no two moles are alike. As a gluten-free eater I tend to stay away from mole around the restaurants here, because in many cases the sauce is thickened with breadcrumbs. But, have no fear- you can achieve and enjoy rich chocolatey, spicy goodness without the addition of breadcrumbs. I’ve used this recipe in a few different forms over the last few weeks, and have enjoyed all of them. Seriously- what’s not to enjoy about chocolate and chile this time of year? And, for those of you believing food is the way to your beloved’s heart, or that chocolate is an aphrodisiac, this recipe may be just what you’re looking for to add a little spice to your Valentine’s day feasting!
The mole spices can be used as a rub- as pictured above- or as a stewing sauce. In the past few weeks we’ve enjoyed mole with pork tenderloin, shredded turkey, and chicken. It’s great with rice, tortillas, or any grain you enjoy. Use the recipe below as a starting point for your mole, and then add your own twist- some moles in Mexico have 20-30 ingredients. You’re sure to enjoy what you come up with!
1 tsp ground Spanish Saffron
2 tbs red chile powder
1 tbs + 1 1/2 tsp unsweetened chocolate powder
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coffee, finely ground
1/2 tsp salt
Directions for using as a Rub
Combine all ingredients. If you are using as a rub-for pork tenderloin, or some other cut of meat- rub the meat thoroughly and then place in a lightly oiled, very hot cast iron or other oven-proof pan. Sear the meat on all sides- you will smell the spices heating up- if necessary add a tiny bit more oil. Use a high heat oil like grapeseed, ghee, or canola.
When the meat has been browned, add the rest of the spices to the pan and 2 cups of chicken stock. If you are using store-bought stock or bouillon, you may want to add a little less liquid. Homemade stock tends to have more gelatin. Whisk briefly and place in a 375 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until meat is cooked to your specified level of doneness.
Directions for using as a Stewing Sauce
Mix all the ingredients together, doubling or tripling the proportions depending on how much meat you are stewing. Heat a cast iron or other oven-proof pan over medium/medium high heat. When you feel the heat radiating from the pan, add a little oil- grapeseed, ghee, canola, or other high-heat tolerant oil. Swirl the oil around, then add all the spices to the pan. Whisk vigorously for about 1 minute. You will smell the aromas being released from the spices. Add the meat you’re using and continue to stir vigorously for another minute, allowing the spices to coat the meat. Add 2-4 cups of chicken stock, until sauce has reached your desired thickness. It’s okay if the sauce is a little thin at this point, as it will thicken during the cooking process. Place uncovered in a 300 degree oven and allow to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Sauce will thicken. Serve over rice or with tortillas.