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)
Duck breast pan-seared in ancho and garlic-infused rendered duck fat and served with crispy duck skin, classic mole rojo and crunchy tomatillo-avocado salsa..
For the Ancho-Infused Duck Fat
1/3 cup rendered duck fat
1 large ancho chile, stemmed, seeded and torn
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 teaspoon organic annatto seeds
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
Melt duck fat in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add ancho, garlic, annatto and oregano and cook just until it begins to sizzle a little. Turn the heat to the lowest setting and allow to steep 1 hour before straining into a clean container. Store refrigerated up to 2 weeks.
For the Crunchy Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa (recipe by Rick Bayless)
8 ounces (about 4 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1/2 cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped cilantro
Hot green chiles to taste (roughly 2 small serranos or 1 small jalapeño), stemmed and roughly chopped
1 ripe avocado, pitted, flesh scooped from the skin
1 small white onion, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
Roughly chop half of the tomatillos and scoop them into a food processor with the cilantro and green chiles. Measure in 1/4 cup water and process to a slushy, coarse puree. Roughly chop half the avocado, add it to the processor and pulse until it is incorporated into the salsa. Scrape into a serving dish. Scoop the onion into a small strainer and rinse under cold water. Add to the salsa. Finely chop the remaining tomatillos and add them, too. Finally, chop the remaining avocado into 1/4-inch pieces and stir them into the salsa. Taste and season with salt, usually about 3/4 teaspoon.
For the Mole Rojo
Made right, classic mole is a rather elaborate and time-consuming affair. If you haven’t made it before, I would suggest studying Rick Bayless’ recipe for Mole Rojo Classico. In a pinch, you can use store-bought El Conquistador Teloloapan Red Mole.
For the Cracklings
1/4 cup duck skin with fat, julienned
1 teaspoon Ancho-Infused Duck Fat
1/2 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
coarse sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
Heat duck fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the julienned duck skin and sauté, stirring continuously, until dark golden brown and crisp. Transfer to a napkin to drain and toss with cilantro, salt and pepper while still hot.
For the Duck
Use a sharp, thin knife to score a cross-hatch pattern into the fat side of the duck breast, taking care not to cut into the muscle. Season on all sides with salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg, then lay bay leaves against the flesh, loosely wrap in butcher’s paper and refrigerate overnight (Thomas Keller).
Allow to duck breast to sit on the counter for 20 minutes while you pre-heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the duck breast skin-side down to the hot pan, then reduce heat to medium low and cook, moving often, until the skin is golden brown and much of the fat has been rendered out.
Flip the breast over and sauté for 1 minute, then pour off the fat and place the pan in a 375 degree oven and cook until until rare, about 8 minutes. Transfer the duck to a cutting board and allow to rest at least 15 minutes.
Heat ancho-infused duck fat in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add inch-thick slices of rare duck breast and quickly sear on all sides until medium rare.
To serve, spoon mole into the center of a dinner plate. Position duck on top of the mole standing upright, dress with tomatillo-avocado salsa and garnish with cracklings.