Saturday, February 6, 2010
Have you ever tried mole? (pronounced mole-aye) Mole means sauce, or concoction in Spanish. Guacamole is an example of mole, its a concoction of avocado and whatever the chef feels like adding. There is no right or wrong mole, just different versions.
They type of mole I was thinking of was very deep, complex, sweet, spicy, nutty and chocolatey all at once. A classic red mole. That's when I decided I was in need of tutelage from the master of all things Mexican cooking: Chef Rick Bayless.
Rick Bayless is a pioneer in Mexican cooking. I remember being 13 years old and watching "Great Chefs of the West" on PBS and seeing Rick Bayless make awesome creations. He was the first person I had ever seen to use authentic Mexican cookware, recipes and ingredients. I watched with rapt attention as Rick made hot chocolate using Mexican chocolate and a molinillo, a traditional hot chocolate frother, amazed at what he was telling me, how the molinillo breaks down the chocolate, incorporates air, all this wonderful science along with folklore, well I was under his spell.
Rick has had a very successful career including Frontera and Topolobampo restuarants, multiple cook books, a few cooking shows on PBS and last summer he was named Top Chef Master. On the very first episode of Top Chef Masters I saw that Rick was in the competition. I told my husband that the rest of the contestents should go home now, Rick was walking away with the title. I was right. This man is an amazing chef.
Thats why he was the first and only place I went to when looking for a mole sauce. A quick trip to the Mexican supermarket for ingredients & I was in business. 4 very very VERY messy hours later and I had about 12 cups of the most complex, wonderful sauce I had ever created. Thank you Rick for sharing your knowledge and love of Mexican cookery with me.
this is after the sauce has cooked for hours. Notice how much its darkened.
Click here for the recipe. Here's the 3 changes that I made:
1. I used 2 oz mulatto chiles, I didn't realize I needed more. Oops!
2. I used 6 oz of ancho chiles, not the 3 oz of ancho & 3 oz of pasilla chiles that Rick calls for. The store had the anchos listed as "Ancho Pasilla" so I figured it incorporated them both :-) My lack of attention to detail on reading the recipe is why there's less chiles in my mole than Rick calls for. An error I won't make again, my sauce lacked the heat that I was hoping for. Oh well, there's always next time.
3. I used 2.5 oz Mexican chocolate. I like chocolate, sue me.
Mole is not a very photogenic sauce. I apologize for the lack of photos on this post, believe me some of the steps weren't pretty. Tasty yes, attractive, not so much.
Oh and 1 final word. This sauce will cause a royal mess in your kitchen. You will find brick red splatters that you could have sworn you wiped up at least 100 times before, 5 days later. Using a splatter screen helps, minimally. I ended up using a combo of splatter screen with the lid to the pot on top. Be prepared to clean when making mole, don't say I didn't warn you!
2 chicken breasts butterflied open
3/4 cup mole sauce
Butterfly chicken breast to maximize surface area. More surface are means more mole. That's a good thing. Salt the chicken.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and allow to brown on first side. Flip chicken, add mole sauce, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Allow chicken to simmer for 15 minutes or until done (160* internal temp). Stir occasionally and spoon mole over top of chicken.
Serve with rice, beans and tortillas.
I'm not even going to try, there are way too many ingredients in the mole and it makes 3/4 of a gallon. You don't use much mole in recipes so I wouldn't worry about it too much. This is one of those 'just enjoy the meal' moments - Andrea the Kitchen Witch