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Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Centurryyyyy: Quest for Mole

October 8, 2012

I’m not sure why Daffy popped in my head when thinking about my recent adventures in mole.  Probably because I tackled the inimitable Chef Rick Bayless’s Classic Red Mole recipe with a healthy dose of the naive pluck and bluster epitomized by Dodgers.  It’d be false humility for me to say I’m inept in the kitchen.  However, when reviewing the recipe and stocking up at Global Foods, I was well aware that I was entering uncharted waters.  This sauce ain’t fooling around.

Unless you have (1) an entire day to burn AND (2) a love of Mexican food AND/OR a deep [read: bizarre] need to conquer complex culinary feats, making mole may not be for you.  Really, I emphasize the first of those requirements.  The de-seeding, roasting, soaking, pureeing of the dried chiles alone took a combined  two hours.  And that was just one of the umpteen ingredients in the sauce (granted, the chile puree makes up 50% of the volume of the sauce).  The assembling and roasting and pureeing of the rest of the ingredients – the likes of which includes tomatillos, raisins, almonds, chocolate and a variety of spices (ex, to the left) probably took another 1-2 hours.  When I introduced the rest of the ingredients to the vastly reduced chile puree, I had before me what appeared to be mole; the swirling marriage of the two concoctions is shown below.  A taste test did not reveal mole however.  It revealed a bitter, complex, thin soup.

Being a mole noob, I didn’t know how important a hefty dose of sugar and a couple more hours of simmering and reducing would be to the end result.  Truly, time and heat are key for everything to get happy together.  In fact, reheated the next day, the mole was even better.  Makes sense.  There’s a lot of schtuff in this recipe that has to learn to play nice.

Aside from freezing most of my hard-earned mole, I used just a bit to top some barely seared venison slices that were ultimately nestled in some fresh tortillas – damn good.  However, next time, I’ll probably defrost a portion of the sauce and simmer some meat for a good long while to let the mole become one with the protein.

So, if stockpiling a silky, rich classic sounds like a worthwhile endeavor, my parting advice is to (1) make a Saturday or Sunday project out of it, (2) not become disheartened if early sampling doesn’t reveal what you expect, and (3) *visit Global Foods for your ingredients.   Personally, I’m totally please with my mole investment.

*Yeah, you could also go to any store on Cherokee street for one stop shopping, but at Global, you can also pick up a selection of other intl treats – Ting, Kinder chocolate, and Polish dry hot sausage to name a few from my standard wish-list.

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