Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Mole poblano.

[So: I am making mole poblano with turkey for a family party. I have never made it before. I will be reporting in stages. Rick Bayless is my guide.]

[Note to anyone who is coming to the family party: this will be delicious, I promise. But do not pay attention if you don't actually want to know what is in the dinner. I mean it.]

Stage 1. Toast the seeds and toast some other stuff as well.

But first, put 3/4 of a 15 oz. can of tomatoes in a bowl. Or, guess how much is the equivalent portion of a 28 oz. can, and put that in a bowl.

Then, crumble 2/3 of a tablet of Mexican chocolate into the tomatoes. Try to think of this as a step and not something really disgusting.

Then, assemble all your ingredients for the toasting before you start the toasting. Or, if you are me, toast and scramble for the next item in the list: sesame seeds, coriander seeds, chile seeds (see note below). Then almonds and raisins. Then onion and garlic, a tortilla, and two slices of stale bread.

The toasting seeds is aromatic and not something you should do whilst scrambling for the next item on the list. Happily, there was no scorching. Toasting chile seeds is a heady--not to see cough- and sneeze-inducing--experience for the 30 seconds it lasts.

A note on chile seeds: For this recipe, you are supposed to tear apart piles of dried chiles, taking out the stems and ribs and reserving 2 t. of the seeds. Except I did not find the proper chiles at my store which has a pretty well-stocked Mexican grocery, which even so did not have: ancho, pasilla, or mulatta chiles. I thought to myself, well, I will just get these other kinds of chiles and we'll figure out which ones will approximate. But The Bayless says: "Mole poblano calls for the triumvirate of ancho, pasilla, and mulatta chiles. If you can't find these chiles at your otherwise well-stocked Mexican grocery, pick up your marbles and go home. You are not making mole poblano." So that means I need to go to a real Mexican grocery. Tomorrow. And find ancho, pasilla, and mulatta chiles or die trying.

Anyway! I decided that my inferior chiles could still yield chile seeds, so I tore some up and got the seeds, and toasted them. Heady, cough-, sneeze-inducing. Etc.

Also, I ground up some spices (aniseed, cinnamon, pepper and maybe one other thing), and I toasted the almonds in oil (delicious!) and also the raisins, which, how curious is that? But kind of fun, to watch them puff up, and some onions and garlic, and finally a tortilla and the bread. Toasting toasting toasting. All of this stuff is in a bowl now, each thing getting acquainted with the other.

Tomorrow, assuming I find the illustrious tres chiles, I will fry and soak them, and then blend up the chiles with all of the above along with a lot of broth until it is the mysterious, the ineffable, the awesome mole. I will report how it goes.


  1. OK. It's not that long of a drive to your house. See you in a couple hours.

  2. I've heard about the boasting that goes on between mole makers. Now I understand why there is boasting.

    It's like the meatloaf of Mexican cooking--everybody makes it with different ingredients and it takes mucho effort. oh wait, that isn't at all like meatloaf.

    Maybe I heard there was mucho toasting. Nevermind.



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