An electric stove is no fun, until inspiration strikes and a blow torch walks into the kitchen.
Why was I blow-torching tomatoes? To make mole poblano, the Mexican national dish that marries chilli with bitter chocolate.
I'd always been fascinated by mole poblano. Chocolate with meat? It sounded too bizarre. I tried it for the first time at the Chocolate Dog in Newtown (now closed) and have been hooked ever since.
The theme was Mexican for a Stomachs Eleven dinner hosted at my place, our happy club of food-loving friends. I used dried ancho and mulato chillies that were sent to me from Le'Spice and set about making mole for the first time.
Mole Poblano is a complex treat for the senses. The bitter undertone of chocolate interplays with chilli, spices, tomato and almond. I found this tasted even better a few days later, when the spices and flavours had been given time to develop.
8 cloves garlic unpeeled
30 grams dried ancho chillies
30 grams dried mulato chillies
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 litres of chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup raisins
75g ground almonds
100g bitter chocolate (at least 85%)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
salt, sugar and chilli powder to taste
Serve with chicken or turkey (enough for 6 people)
Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
Roast the unpeeled garlic in a frypan over moderate heat until the skins blacken and the flesh goes soft (about 10-15min). Cool and peel.
Open and de-seed the chillies, then heat in the same frypan for a few seconds on each side, using your hand to press them flat. Soak the chillies in boiling water for at least 30 minutes.
Roast the tomatoes under a grill or over a open flame. I blow-torched mine and enjoyed it thoroughly. The tomatoes should be blackened all over. Allow the tomatoes to cool.
Drain the chillies and place into a blender with the peeled garlic, oregano, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, cloves and 2/3 cup of chicken broth. Blend until smooth, then remove. This is your chilli paste.
In a large dutch oven, casserole dish or heavy saucepan, heat the oil and add the onion slices, gently frying until brown. Add the raisins and heat for a minute until they plump up slightly. Transfer the onions and raisins to your empty blender.
Add the peeled cooled tomatoes, almonds, chocolate, breadcrumbs and 1 cup of chicken broth. Blend until smooth.
Place the dutch oven on high heat until hot, then add the chilli paste, stirring constantly for five minutes or until the mixture thickens and darkens. Add the tomato and almond paste and stir until well-incorporated and the mixture has thickened.
Add the remaining 4 1/2 cups of chicken stock and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot halfway with a lid and gently simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After 30 minutes, season with salt and sugar to taste. I added chilli powder for an extra kick.
I served mine with boiled chicken legs, using the chicken stock for the mole dish itself. The chicken legs were smothered with the mole sauce and garnished with toasted sesame seeds.
Pan-fried caramelised garlic
Adding the tomato almond mixture to the chilli paste
Of course it isn't a Stomachs Eleven feast unless there's a feast involved. We christened the evening with margaritas, the rims of our glasses expertly frosted with sugar by the G-man.
I also made empanadas, making the pastry from scratch which resulted in rich buttery appetisers filled with chicken and chorizo. As I'd tended to the mole, a slow cooker worked its magic on a huge cut of pork shoulder, which was later shredded for pulled pork burritos.
My tomato salsa and jicama, rocket and orange salad was joined by contributions of quinoa salad and corn salsa. Almost everyone ended up bringing a dish, and the table groaned with quesadillas, paella and ox tongue too.
Chicken and chorizo homemade empanadas
Traditional fried quesadillas using homemade tortillas by Miss Rice
Ox tongue by Pig Flyin'
Guacamole by Mrs Pig Flyin'
Pulled pork burrito
Louisiana Crystal hot sauce
Jicama and orange salad with Pig Flyin's homegrown rocket
Sweetcorn salsa by K
This was incredibly delicious and refreshing.
Quinoa salad by Mrs Pig Flyin'
Paella by M and J
And for dessert? Pig Flyin' had wanted to make a key lime pie until I piped up "tequila".
Hence the tequila lime pie was born, and it was awesome. And alcoholic.
Tequila lime pie by Pig Flyin'
Creme caramel by Pig Flyin'
And because any excuse is good enough for gluttony, Pig Flyin' spoilt us all with his divine creme caramel, a silky eggy rich concoction that is one of MoVida's finest recipes.
A chorus of sighs.
Related GrabYourFork posts:
Mole - Chocolate Dog, Newtown (closed)
Stomachs Eleven: Christmas 2010 (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Teochew feast (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Mole poblano and pulled pork tacos (Me)
Stomachs Eleven: Pizza and friends (Miss Rice)
Stomachs Eleven: Ten kilograms of mussels (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Shanghainese banquet (M&L)
Stomachs Eleven: Wagyu shabu shabu and dessert sushi (Silverlily)
Stomachs Eleven: Stuffed deboned pig's head + nose-to-tail eating (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: French feast (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Whole suckling pig and Chinese banquet (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Hotpot night (M&L)
Stomachs Eleven: Crackling roast pork and black sesame cupcakes (me)
Stomachs Eleven: No ordinary steak dinner (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Polish feast (Miss Rice)
Stomachs Eleven: Christmas 2009 (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Char siu and Hainan chicken (me)
Stomachs Eleven: Amazing impromptu dinner party (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Dumplings and Shanghai soy duck (M&L)
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9/13/2010 01:34:00 a.m.