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As our journey into the world of cocoa continues, you have to know what’s coming next. I mean, how could I explore cocoa — with a fully stocked spice company, like Savory Spice Shop backing me up and NOT make Mole? I’d have to be stupid or crazy and though, I may sometimes be the latter, I am NOT the former. And as a former Central Valley Cali-girl with parents who grew up in Los Alamitos, CA, I’ve had enough immersion into all things auténtico to be in the know.  So, of course I whipped up some of the yummiest Mole just for you.

I’m not gonna lie to you — Mole takes time and care to prepare, but it is SOOOOO worth the effort. Nothing from a jar even comes close. This recipe makes up a BIG ol’ batch, because I highly recommend making it and freezing some future use. The roasted veggies I drizzled it over for this 6 course meal only took a small amount of this delicious sauce to make an impact (especially in a meal chock full of chocolate.) But I could easily see these roasted mole veggies wrapped up in a steamed flour or corn tortilla and topped with cojita cheese, shredded red cabbage and fresh tomatoes for a vegetarian taco that’s sure to please.

Mole before it hits the blender

Make a Big Batch

I froze my extra portions and have used it in shredded Mole Chicken Enchiladas, Pulled Pork Mole Tacos and I plan to use it next on Savory Corn Pudding topped with Garlic-Chili-Lime Grilled Shrimp. This mole is my own creation and is a blend of Poblano and Oaxacan styles, adjusted to suit my own tastes. Mole is one of those things that is different everywhere you go, because every area in Mexico puts its own spin on it and you should dabble a little to suit your tastes as well. But one thing is for sure, cocoa or chocolate form the basis of this richly-spiced sauce that will leave you licking your fingers and begging for more.

Messy Nessie’s Holy Mole!

(shown over roasted veg)

Dried Chile Prep:

  • 2 dried ancho chiles, pan-roasted, stemmed, seeded and re-hydrated
  • 6 dried mulato chiles, pan-roasted, stemmed, seeded and re-hydrated
  • 3 dried Pasilla negro chiles pan-roasted, stemmed, seeded and re-hydrated
Toast dried chiles in a medium dry heat pan, watching them carefully and turning them before they turn black (if they get black they will be bitter). Don’t over-fill the pan, roast just a few at a time to ensure the heat remains even and chiles do not blacken. Remove from pan to plate. Once all chiles have been roasted, remove the stems and seeds by pulling the chile stem from the tops of semi-softened-by-heat-chiles. Remove seeds and membrane and tear chiles into pieces in a medium sized bowl or pan. (You can rub olive oil on your hands if you’re afraid of chile seed oil penetrating your hands or use cooking shears to remove stems, seeds and membrane.) Once all chiles have been prepped, pour hot water over them and let them soak for at least 30 minutes.

 Spice Mix

The amount necessary for the recipe are listed below. I usually toast up 1 tsp each of the seed form of these spices and then freshly grind them (separately) in my coffee grinder before measuring out what I need. (I then try and use the rest within a couple days of grinding.) To toast seeds, use a dry pan set to med-low heat and a watchful eye, moving the pan gently on the burner as they toast. When the seeds begin to pop, it’s time to remove them from the heat. Let cool slightly before grinding. Remember to wipe down the coffee grinder between spices so as not to co-mingle flavors. When grinding is done, measure out the following amounts into a small bowl and stir to mix.

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground white peppercorn
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Saute

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil +- 2 tbsp for cocoa
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup crushed almonds
  • 1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • Spice mix
  • 2 tbsp natural cocoa powder mixed completely, with 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 pound of plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (canned is fine)
  • 3 to 5 cups chicken broth –depending on chile water yield (you can use vegetable broth if you want a true vegetarian dish)
  • 1 handful of ripped cilantro (roughly 2 chopped tbsp)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 banana, quartered
Saute onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until translucent.
Add pumpkin and sesame seeds, crushed almonds and raisins to the pan and cook until waxy smell is released from the nuts and almonds look toasted.
Add spice mix and stir, allowing the spices to release their scent and warm a bit.
Stir to incorporate, adding 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken broth to keep the pan from becoming too dry.
Add the seeded, peeled and chopped plum tomatoes to the pan and stir.
Add the chiles to the pan, stirring them in before adding rough-ripped cilantro and 1 to 2 cups (depending on tastes and yield) of residual chile hydration water and chicken broth (for a total of 5 cups of liquid) let come to a boil and reduce to heat to a simmer for  45 minutes.
Remove from heat and add cocoa/oil mixture, allowing it to cool some before moving to the blender.
Working in small batches, add equal parts liquid and solids from the pan to the blender, blending until smooth — adding the quartered banana to each batch. (The banana adds sweetness, complexity, and starch to help thicken your sauce — if you need a little thicker sauce, add one tortilla cut into strips to the blending process.) Adjust spices and salt and pepper to taste.
Your sauce is now ready to top roasted vegetables like my medley of butternut squash, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini and corn. Great as a side this medley works beautifully in a warmed flour or corn tortilla and topped with cojita cheese for a tasty mole veggie taco. (Note: These vegetables have different cooking times and must be roasted in rolling batches and mixed together at the end. All veggies are tossed in olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and nothing more.)
Once all has been blended smooth add it all back together in it’s original pan, to soak up any remaining flavors in the pan and to reincorporate with one another.