The mole is simple to prepare. Peanuts and sweet, black-ripe plantains make Pueblas famous sauce distinctive from other regional moles. Old, brittle chiles will require the longer soaking time suggested. Rinse and dry chiles before use. Toasting ingredients maximizes their flavors. Serve with plenty of warm corn tortillas.
- 8 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, cut open with scissors and seeded
- 8 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed, cut open with scissors and seeded
- ½ cup raisins
- 3 red-ripe plum tomatoes
- 1 white onion, unpeeled and quartered
- 1 head garlic, cloves separated and unpeeled
- 4 Tbs. vegetable oil
- 3 soft, black-ripe plantains, peeled and sliced in half lengthwise
- ½ cup shelled peanuts
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- 1 Tbs. anise or fennel seeds
- 1 Mexican chocolate tablet, such as Ibarra or Abuelita brands, chopped
- 1 Tbs. ground canela (Mexican cinnamon)
- 2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
- Heat large, ungreased skillet, and, over medium-high heat, toast chiles in batches. Flatten chiles with spatula, and cook until chiles change color and release aromas. Remove from heat, and place in bowl of hot water. Add raisins to water, and reconstitute for 30 minutes or up to several hours. Drain, and place in large bowl.
- Roast tomatoes, unpeeled onion and unpeeled garlic cloves until covered with black spots. Remove from heat, and, when cool enough to handle, peel and cut off stem ends. Place tomatoes, onion and garlic into bowl of drained chiles.
- Place 2 tablespoons oil in skillet, and heat to medium-high heat. Fry plantains to golden brown, remove from heat and add to chiles. In hot ungreased skillet, toast peanuts and seeds separately as each takes different amounts of time to brown and release aromas. Combine peanuts and seeds with chiles.
- Spoon chile-nut mixture into blender until blender is half full. Add enough water to facilitate blending, and purée. Pour mixture into bowl, and continue puréeing and adding extra water until chile-nut mixture is used up. Sauce will be textured. With wooden spoon, push through strainer into separate bowl, discarding bits of chile skin.
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over high heat in deep saucepan. Pour in purée, taking care to avoid splatters, and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add chopped chocolate tablet, canela and salt, and cook for 1 hour. When sauce has reduced slightly and thickened to consistency of heavy cream, remove from heat and use immediately, or cool and refrigerate for up to two days. Freeze any leftover servings.
Mole is always served with another part of the meal, such as the rice or squash, but it is delicious when served with only warmed corn tortillas. Pairing wine with savory-spicy dishes such as this can lead you in all sorts of directions. To help narrow the field, remember to consider the richness of the dish, its earthiness and spiciness, and whether it is at all acidic. A good wine match will accentuate the features you want accentuated and will tame the extremes. Try an earthy red Rhône.