Tag Archives: anise

Chicken Mole Rojo and Green Chili Bomba with Fried Plantains

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..

Chicken Mole Rojo and Green Chili Bomba with 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
Salt
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
sea salt

ripe plantains
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.

To prepare

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.

Orange Ginger-Grilled Pork with Toasted Sesame Somen

Thick cuts of pastured, heritage pork loin are marinated in a mixture of fermented soy, fresh ginger, garlic, coriander, anise and freshly-squeezed orange juice, then wood-grilled to juicy perfection.  Served over handmade somen noodles wih braised baby bok choy, slivers of scallion, red bell pepper, toasted sesame seeds and grilled citrus..

Orange Ginger-Grilled Pork with Toasted Sesame Somen

click to enlarge

Asian Beef Noodle Soup

A little bit like ramen and a little bit like Phở, this healthy, nourishing soup is made from homemade beef stock, shiitake mushrooms, buckwheat soba, fresh scallions, grass-fed beef, herbs and whole spices..

Preparing Asian Beef Noodle Soup
Preparing Asian Beef Noodle Soup

Serves 2

(adapted from a recipe by Jennifer Iserloh)

4 shiitake mushroom caps
4 oz grass-fed beef  (I’m using a small muscle cut from a chuck roast)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled & minced
1 finely minced hot chile pepper
1/2 teaspoon star anise
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Szechuan pepper
1/2 package organic buckwheat soba
1 cup beef stock
2 cups seasonal herbs and greens (I have pea shoots, cress, cilantro and basil), coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon pastured butter
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon traditional fermented shoyu

Set the trimmed beef in the freezer to firm up so that it is easier to slice.

Grind the anise, fennel, cloves, cinnamon and Szechuan pepper together in a spice grinder (you’ve just made Chinese Five Spice).

Pre-heat a heavy skillet over medium heat for 15 minutes.  Add the butter, then quickly sauté the mushrooms, ginger, chiles and garlic until fragrant.  Sprinkle a little of the 5 spice over the top and stir to combine.  Unused 5 spice will keep in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Add the broth, noodles and shoyu. Cover and cook until the noodles are tender, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, slice the beef across the grain as thinly as you possibly can.  As soon as the noodles are tender, drop the meat into the boiling broth and give it a swirl.  Add the fresh herbs, greens and scallions and heat until wilted, about 1 minute.  Serve immediately.

This post is part of The Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday!

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Lacto-fermented Raisin Chutney

When I read the recipe for raisin chutney in Sally Fallon‘s Nourishing Traditions, I knew that it would be wholesome and nutritious, but I was a little doubtful about how good it would taste.  Boy, was I wrong!

Star anise, ginger, coriander, fresh cilantro, plump raisins..  this stuff is seriously delicious!

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1 1/2 cups organic raisins, soaked in warm filtered water for 1 hour
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves
10 black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon anise seeds
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons whey
1/2 cup filtered water

Place garlic and cilantro in food processor and pulse a few times.  Drain raisins and add to food processor along with peppercorns, red pepper flakes, seeds and ginger.  Pulse a few times until the mixture becomes a coarse paste.  Transfer to a pint-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down lightly with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer.  Mix salt and whey with water and pour into jar.  You may need to poke a few holes in the chutney to allow liquid to percolate through.  Add more water if necessary to cover the chutney.  The top of the chutney should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.  The chutney should be eaten with 2 months.

Champurrado (chocolate atole)

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Champurrado is one of a family of hot drinks called atole (Mexican Spanish, from Nahuatl atolli), a thin corn masa gruel sweetened with piloncillo and flavored with anise, vanilla and soft Ceylon cinnamon. It tastes kind of like a hot chocolate chai, but earthier and thicker.

Goat milk, masa harina, Mexican chocolate sweetened with piloncillo, anise, vanilla, cinnamon and Kahlúa (optional).

Whisk masa harina into warm milk until thoroughly combined.  Add chocolate and spices and simmer until tick and smooth, about 15 minutes, whiskin frequently with a molinillo.

Serve in a heavy mug (with a shot of Kahlúa, if using).