Sunday, January 9, 2011
In an interview I once watched with a great chef named Rick Bayless, he described that making mole was a huge step for him in his culinary career. He explained that from the first time he had it he fell in love, and was still trying to get it right 25 yrs later. Rick Bayless is credited with bringing high end Mexican to the forefront of some of the nicest restaurants in the country. Making it more than pinto beans and rice, and the first to give that cuisine the justice it deserves.
Different parts of Mexico make different mole, from green, to red, to dark brown, to black and very very spicy to calm and collected. Local and family recipes are handed down from generation to generation, and protected like gold. The process can easily take a few days, and call for a vast plethora of ingredients. I acquired a recipe from the mother of one of my long time cooks and it was in Spanish, and called for so many ingredients that I have never heard of, let alone could find anywhere in my vicinity. At its most basic form it is a mixture of 3-7 dried and toasted types of chili, chocolate, cinnamon, tomato, tomatillo, cumin, coriander and more and is almost always served over chicken with corn tortillas and Mexican rice.
While I will continue to research and develop my own recipe, luckily it is available almost anywhere in a canned form which while holds no candle to the homemade stuff actually isn't that bad. Look for it on the ethnic aisle of your grocer, and heat it slowly. Unless you are at a very nice Mexican restaurant this is the same thing you will most likely get when you order it.
All of this (and the picture) stems from our company Christmas party a few weeks back where we were tasked with cooking for about 250 ppl. Now about half of our workforce is Mexican and we wanted to honor that by feeding them some really authentic food. With some help from some of our employees we made posole, mole, and three different types of tamales, all paired with every condiment you could ever fathom. The woman who made the mole made about 7 gallons of it, and it took her most of the day, and she was very secretive about her process and ingredients. It was mind blowing good, and while I worked at the party I was able to bring some home for use at some point soon. I encourage you to spice up dinner at home with items like this, its healthy, inexpensive, and a change from the normal grind that I realize cooking for a family can be like every day.