Well, it’s been a long, enjoyable journey but the summer of Mexican has come to a close, at least officially. My final dish was always intended to be mole. My rationale was that moles are generally pretty complicated and involved meals. Most folks have heard of mole poblano and have mixed feelings about it, mostly because they can’t picture or don’t like a chocolate sauce on their chicken. Chocolate isn’t really a dominant flavor, and it’s the national dish of Mexico so please try it if you have a chance.
So preparing for my winter project I experimented with making a pumpkin pudding from scratch. The details of that little dessert will be covered later, but afterward I ended up with a bunch of pumpkin seeds. We’ve toasted those in the past, but I decided to save them for mole. A green pumpkin seed mole recipe from Authentic Mexican jumped out at me as a great way to celebrate Autumn.
Rick recommends hulled seeds, but having tried removing seeds from the shells I decided there’s no way I had the patience for that. The sidebar mentioned that a very classic version of the dish uses a powder made from shells and all, so that’s what I decided to make. Step one, then, is chopping them up. I used a small processor attachment that fits on my stick blender.
So the reason this post is so horribly late is due to an accident. Not a terrible one, but a stupid one. While chopping into an onion the knife slipped and cut nicely into my pointer finger. Hurt like hell and bled like crazy. I decided to bail on the mole for the weekend and my wife nursed me and made a pizza. I’m a complete baby when I get hurt.
It’s a verde sauce, so the beloved tomatillo is a main ingredient. I sure do love these little guys.
Onions (minus blood this time), a jalapeno, and cilantro go in the blender after the tomatillos are roasted.
I’ve skipped showing most of this, but one of the main steps is making chicken broth. We’re serving this mole over cooked bone-in chicken breasts that are basically boiled until almost done to make the broth. Some onion and salt go in, other than that you just boil, remove the chicken, and strain of most of the fat. The first sauce step is to mix some of the broth with the ground up pumpkin seeds.
A weird ingredient in this recipe is romaine lettuce. You add a few leaves into the blender with the tomatillos, onion, chile, and cilantro.
The sauce ends up a beautiful vibrant green thanks to the lettuce.
Things get kind of ugly from here. The pumpkin seeds go into a hot pan with oil for frying and thickening. Then the blended green sauce goes in. From there, you simmer for half an hour or so and the flavors meld together.
The chicken cooked earlier goes into the pan with the sauce and heats back up. You might need to add a little more of the leftover broth to get the sauce to the right consistency. Remove and serve, spooning the sauce on top of the chicken. Then, dig in. “Dig” is a good word for it.
The sauce was definitely different and probably not to everyone’s taste. It wasn’t particularly hot, even with a whole jalapeno in it. The chicken was pretty moist and good, but difficult to eat with the bone in. I have mole sauce left over, so next time I think I’ll pan sear some skinless breasts, heat up the sauce, and pour it on. Beans and red rice might jazz things up a little bit. One thing’s for sure, it’ll look a lot nicer than the green pile above!
I’d say the tamales were more difficult and more worth the effort than the mole verde, but it’s still a fitting end I think. While I’ll probably continue to update the blog every once in a while as I try new Mexican recipes from my Rick Bayless books, I’m moving on to a new project I plan to start after New Year’s. This has been incredibly fun, but what can I say? I am easily bored.