Mole negro Sunday

Mole negro (say: moh-lay nay-grow) is a famous sauce native to Oaxaca, Mexico. We made it (more or less) the way it is made today, so it includes Old World ingredients not available in the prehispanic kitchen, like almonds and chicken. We processed a long list of ingredients this way and that, often with toasting, ending up as three different purees, plus chicken stock (upper left). The immersion blender got a huge workout, as it was the processing workhorse.

The final assembly began with the toasted then reconstituted dried chiles (right foreground), pureed, pureed, then more pureeing, and finally sieved to achieve succulent smoothness, then adding stock and simmering down. To that, we then added the upper right mixture, colored principally by roasted tomatoes, but also including tomatillos and toasted bread crumbs. Plus other lovelies. And more stock and simmering. Next, we added the lower left mixture, three kinds of nuts plus roasted plantain, and toasted spices like anise seed and raisins and sesame seeds and cinnamon bark (not a lot, but still). And stock, followed by simmering, of course. The final add was “Mexican chocolate,” which includes more cinnamon, and is not super sweet—still, it does include sugar. And more stock and further simmering.

At the end, the harsh sharpness that the chiles initially had was gone, and their biting heat was tempered. The twenty-four (or so) ingredients had become one amazing, complex sauce.

So very yummy. Probably won’t make it again from scratch, yet a lovely experience. And the eating—well, incomparable.

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