Local, pastured chicken is seasoned with cracked cumin, sea salt and black pepper, then quickly roasted before being lacquered with a densely-flavored, traditional red mole. Topped with toasted sesame seeds and minced onions & cilantro, and served with stock-simmered bomba rice with onions, green chiles and fried plantains..
Mole Rojo Clasico (recipe by Rick Bayless)
5 ounces (2-3 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1/2 cup (about 6 1/2 ounces) sesame seeds
1/2 cup rich-tasting pork lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if necessary
3 ounces (about 6 medium) dried mulato chiles, stemmed, seeded & torn into large pieces
2 ounces (about 4 medium) dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded & torn into large pieces
2 ounces (about 5 medium) dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded & torn into large pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) unskinned raw almonds
1/2 cup (about 2 ounces) raisins
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon anise, preferably freshly ground
1/8 teaspoon cloves, preferably freshly ground
1 slice firm white bread, darkly toasted and broken into several pieces
1 ounce (about 1/3 of a 3.3-ounce tablet) Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
1 1/2 quarts chicken broth
unrefined sugar to taste
On a rimmed baking sheet, roast the tomatillos 4 inches below a very hot broiler until splotchy black and thoroughly soft, about 5 minutes per side. Scrape into a large bowl. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, stirringly nearly constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Scrape half of them in with the tomatillos. Reserve the remainder for sprinkling on the chicken.
Brown other mole ingredients. Turn on an exhaust fan or open a kitchen door or window. In a very large soup pot (I typically use a 12-quart stainless steel stock pot or a medium-large Mexican earthenware cazuela), heat the lard or oil over medium. When quite hot, fry the chiles, three or four pieces at a time, flipping them nearly constantly with tongs until their interior side has changed to a lighter color, about 20 or 30 seconds total frying time. Don’t toast them so darkly that they begin to smoke—that would make the mole bitter. As they’re done, remove them to a large bowl, being careful to drain as much fat as possible back into the pot. Cover the toasted chiles with hot tap water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to insure even soaking.
Remove any stray chile seeds left in the fat. With the pot still over medium heat, fry the garlic and almonds, stirring regularly, until browned (the garlic should be soft), about 5 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove to the tomatillo bowl, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot.
Add the raisins to the hot pot. Stir for 20 or 30 seconds, until they’ve puffed and browned slightly. Scoop them out, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot, and add to the tomatillos. Set the pan aside off the heat.
To the tomatillo mixture, add the cinnamon, black pepper, anise, cloves, bread and chocolate. Add 2 cups water and stir to combine.
Blend, strain, cook. Into a large measuring cup, tip off the chiles’ soaking liquid. Taste the liquid: if it’s not bitter, discard all abut 6 cups of the liquid. (if you’re short, add water to make up the shortfall). If bitter, pour it out and measure 6 cups water. Scoop half of the chiles into a blender jar, pour in half of the soaking liquid (or water) and blend to a smooth puree. Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard the bits of skin and seeds that don’t pass through the strainer. Repeat with the remaining chiles.
Return the soup pot or cazuela to medium heat. When quite hot, pour in the chile puree—it should sizzle sharply and, if the pan is sufficiently hot, the mixture should never stop boiling. Stir every couple of minutes until the chile puree has darkened and reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about a half hour. (I find it useful to cover the pot with an inexpensive spatter screen to catch any spattering chile.)
In two batches, blend the tomatillo mixture as smoothly as possible (you may need an extra 1/2 cup water to keep everything moving through the blades), then strain it in to the large bowl that contained the chiles. When the chile paste has reduced, add the tomatillo mixture to the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes until considerably darker and thicker, 15 to 20 minutes. (Again, a spatter screen saves a lot of cleanup.)
Simmer. Add the broth to the pot and briskly simmer the mixture over medium to medium-low heat for about 2 hours for all the flavors to come together and mellow. If the mole has thickened beyond the consistency of a cream soup, stir in a little water. Taste and season with salt (usually about 4 teaspoons) and the sugar and keep warm.
For the Green Chili Bomba (adapted from a recipe by Rick Bayless)
1 cup bomba rice (a special type of Spanish paella rice)
3 cups rich chicken stock
1 cup yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat
1/4 thinly-sliced green chiles
butter or peanut oil
Place the rice in a strainer and rinse under cold, filtered water until the water runs clear. Allow to drain 20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock until steaming.
Heat the chicken fat in heavy, high-walled skillet until shimmering. Add the rice and stir constantly until it floats freely in the hot fat. Add onions and chiles and cook 8 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add chicken stock and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low and cook without stirring 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 15 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork just before serving.
Season chicken joints with salt, pepper and cracked cumin and roast in a heavy skillet in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven, dunk chicken in mole and return to pan to the oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Remove pan from oven, baste chicken with more mole and allow to stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fry slices of ripe plantain in hot peanut oil or butter until deep golden brown on both sides. Set aside to drain.
Arrange chicken on one side of plate and spoon a little mole over the top. Garnish with toasted white sesame seeds, minced onion and cilantro. Arrange rice next to the chicken and garnish with fried plantains. Serve hot.
- RECIPE: Rick Bayless’ Oaxacan Black Mole From Mexico State Dinner (huffingtonpost.com)
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- 9 Reasons to Beware Eggs (thedailybeast.com)
- Food! Summer! Farmers! Greens! (beliefnet.com)
- WATCH: Joel Salatin talks about building forgiveness into the system (chelseagreen.com)
Whole, pastured pork tenderloin from Richardson Farms is rubbed in a mixture of cumin, garlic, oregano, paprika, sea salt and black pepper, then tightly wrapped and chilled overnight before being sliced into thick fillets. Grilled over a wood fire then served on rounds of fried polenta with roasted peppers and a gastrique of prickly pear cactus with charred onions and ancho chiles..
For the Pork (adjust spices to suit your own taste)
1 whole pork tenderloin, trimmed, about 1 pound
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon granulated organic garlic
1 teaspoon granulated organic onion
2 teaspoon2 Mexican oregano
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry comal over medium heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool, then combine all spices together in a spice grinder and process into a slightly coarse powder.
Pat the tenderloin completely dry, then roll in the spice mixture until all surfaces are evenly coated. Wrap the tenderloin tightly and refrigerate overnight.
For the Gastrique
juice of 3 fresh cactus fruits
1 ancho chile, stemmed, seeded, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup yellow onion, charred and slivered
3 tablespoons raw cider vinegar
1/4 cup sustainable, organic palm sugar
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Harvest a few small prickly pear cactus fruits, then roll them around on the ground to knock off the glochids (clusters of small, sharp spines). Rinse the fruit clean, chop coarsely then place in an inch or so of simmering water for ten minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then mash the fruit with a potato masher.
Line a sieve with a clean kitchen towel and set over a bowl. Pour in the cooked fruit and water and allow to drain through. Discard the pulp and pour the liquid into a heavy pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer and cook until reduced in volume by about a third. Set aside.
Combine water and sugar in a heavy saucepan over high heat, stirring constantly until caramelized. Reduce heat to a simmer and whisk in the vinegar to form a sauce of pourable consistency. Reduce again until thick, then whisk in the cactus fruit juice. Allow to reduce one last time, then add charred onion and chopped ancho. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and keep warm until ready to serve.
Slice pork tenderloin horizontally into 4 4-ounce fillets. Grill fillets over a wood fire until the internal temperature reaches 150 degrees (about 4 minutes per side) then transfer to a plate to rest for a full 5 minutes (roast some stemmed and split grilling peppers while you’re waiting).
Arrange fried polenta on a serving plate, placing a grilled fillet on top of each disc. Garnish with sliced grilled peppers and spoon gastrique over the top. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve immediately.
Traditionally cultivated throughout the Andes (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela), oca (Oxalis tuberosa) is an annual plant that overwinters as underground stem tubers.
Unlike potatoes, oca can be eaten raw with a carrot-like crunch (try them with salt, chili powder and lime), but are more commonly bolied or roasted, with a familiar, potato-like texture. Due to its tolerance for for poor soil, high altitude and harsh climates, oca is hugely important as a staple crop in the Andean highlands.
In this preparation, oca are parboiled in lightly salted mineral water, then drained and sauteed in cumin oil with Aji Amarillo (a medium-hot, orange-colored chile with a light citrus/apricot flavor), purple garlic and shallots. Finished with sea salt, freshly-ground pepper, cilantro and a squeeze of lime, oca make a distinctly delicious side dish..
Oca du Pérou (ratios given here are for 2 servings)
2 cloves purple garlic, slivered
2 shallots, slivered
1/2 whole mild grilling pepper, julienned
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon Aji Amarillo chile powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon clarified butter (increase olive oil & omit butter for vegan use)
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, torn
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Scrub and trim the ends from a dozen similarly-sized variously-colored oca and plunge into a pot of rapidly-boiling mineral water (substitute plain, filtered water) along with a good pinch of sea salt. Allow the tubers to cook until almost, but not quite tender, about 10 minutes. Drain oca and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat and sauté cumin seeds until fragrant and lightly toasted. Add butter and potatoes and cook, turning often until slightly crisp and browned, about 7 minutes.
Add garlic, shallots, grilling pepper and Aji Amarillo and cook until peppers are soft, about two minutes. Remove pan from heat and add torn cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, toss and serve hot with a wedge of fresh lime on the side.
This post is part of Real Food Wednesday!
- The New Staples | Aji Amarillo, Buckwheat, Aloe (tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com)
There are lots of great CSAs in the Austin area (seriously, you really can’t go wrong!), but Farmhouse Delivery is the one that I’ve stuck with for some of the best in all-local produce, pastured meats and dairy, fresh eggs, herbs and a growing list of artisanal products..
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Toasted ancho chiles, onions, garlic, cumin and coriander with apple cider vinegar and a touch of wild guajillo honey..
For the Jam
1/4 pound dried Ancho chiles
1/2 small yellow onion, chopped
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, cracked
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, cracked
2 tablespoons raw cider vinegar
a few drops of hickory or mesquite liquid smoke (optional)
2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil, divided
1 tablespoon (or to taste) wild guajillo honey
sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Split the Ancho chiles open and remove the stem, seeds and ribs. Lightly toast on a dry comal for about 20-30 seconds on each side. Take care not to let the peppers burn or they will become very bitter.
Transfer the chiles to a glass bowl and cover with just-boiled water. Allow to steep 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut the top off of a whole head of garlic, brush with olive oil, wrap in foil and roast for a half hour at 400 degrees. Allow to cool.
Meanwhile, toast the chopped onions on a dry comal over medium heat until golden brown. Add the cumin and coriander and toast another minute, again taking care not to let it burn. Allow to cool.
Squeeze the garlic into the bowl of a food processor and add the softened chiles and vinegar and pulse a couple of times into a thick, chunky paste.
Transfer the chili mixture to a bowl and stir in the seasoned onions and garlic. Add honey, salt and pepper to taste.
Ancho chili jam is delicious with grilled, roasted or smoked meat, fowl or sausages (venison, bison and wild boarsausage shown).