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9 June 2011

Chicken or Pork with Red Mole Sauce (Coloradito)

This recipe is from one of our latest additions to The Artisan Food Trail, Capsicana Chilli Co and uses two types of their dried chillies, Ancho Poblano and Guajillo. Ben gave us his whole range to photograph for his website and kindly let us keep them to test out in our kitchen.

The chillies are sun-dried so are a little wrinkly in appearance, but what they lack in looks, they certainly make up for in flavour. Grown in their native habitat they have absorbed every ray of Mexican sunshine and no doubt the soil has imparted its individual characteristics too (terroir is what they call it, we believe).
Drop them into a bowl and pour over a little hot water and leave to soak for 20 minutes and they're ready to use. We reserved the seeds too and might have a go at growing them in our kitchen garden.

Capsicana's website says: Mole sauce is a rich chocolate sauce flavoured with chillies and spices and a whole host of other ingredients. This particular recipe is a famous traditional recipe from the Martinez family of Oaxaca City and is served every day at their wonderful restaurant Casa de la Abuela. It uses Ancho Poblano and Guajillo chillies. Mole is traditionally served with turkey but can be used with Chicken or Pork. Mole sauces are thought to originate from the state of Puebla east of Mexico City. The exact origin of Mole Poblano is disputed but one of the more interesting stories is that it was served to Cortez and the invading Conquistadors by the Aztec King Moctezuma.

Our verdict? We loved it.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For the meat

  • 500g chicken breast or pork tenderloin,
  • ¼ piece of 1 small onion
  • pinch of salt and pepper

For the mole

  • 1½ tbsp sesame seeds
  • 25g Ancho Poblano chillies, tops and seeds removed (keep seeds)
  • 17g Guajillo Chillies, tops and seeds removed (keep seeds)
  • 22g of dark chocolate (70-75% cacao)
  • ½ thick slice of day old brioche bread
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick or ¼ tsp ground
  • 2 black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • ½ small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves (pressed)
  • 2 small sized ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 inch chunk of plantain or very ripe banana
  • 5g of fresh thyme
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 15g of raisins
  • 37g of blanched almonds
  • 750ml of chicken or pork stock
  • ½ tsp of salt, or to taste

Place a large pan of water on high heat, add the ¼ piece of onion and bring to boil. Add meat and boil until cooked through. Remove from boiling pan, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using a fork, shred the meat, cover and place in fridge until required

Place the sesame seeds in a small heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium heat. Stir constantly shaking pan until they start to turn golden. Scrape seeds into bowl and put to one side

Grate the chocolate coarsely or break into small pieces and put to one side

Crush the bread into fine crumbs or grind in food processor and put to one side

Wash and dry roast the chillies a couple at a time for 30-60 seconds in the a heavy bottomed frying pan. Do this on a medium heat and shake the pan as you do this to make sure they do not burn. Then place them in a bowl and cover generously with boiling water. Soak for 20 minutes

Grind the cinnamon, cloves and peppercorns together with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder
Drain the chillies and put the water to one side

Heat 15ml of oil in a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add the ground spices and cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly. Add the onion, garlic, tomatoes, plantain (or banana), thyme, oregano, sesame seeds, raisins and almonds. Cook uncovered stirring frequently for about 15 minutes

Allow this to cool for about 10 minutes and then place half in a blender with about 250ml of the chicken or pork stock and half of the drained chillies. Blend for 3 minutes or until very smooth. Repeat with remainder of sauce and chillies

In a large non stick saucepan heat the rest of the oil over a medium high heat. Add the blended mixture stirring constantly. Stir in the remaining stock a little at a time. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes. Stir in the bread crumbs and cook stirring constantly for about 10 minutes or until the sauce is lightly thickened. Stir in the chocolate and cook stirring constantly until well dissolved. Add salt

Stir in the shredded meat; cook, partly covered for 7-10 minutes stirring occasionally until heated through. Taste and season further if desired
Serve with rice or in tortilla wraps

Courtesy of Zarela Martinez. This recipe comes from her popular Mexican cookery book Food and Life of Oaxaca. Other titles by Zarela include Food From my Heart and Zarela's Veracruz. To read more about Zarela please see her profile on the Capsicana website friends page here.

Photo: ©childsdesign 2011

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