Mole Poblano, The Hard Way
16 dried mulato chiles
20 dried pasilla negro chiles
10 dried ancho chiles
14 dried chipotle chiles
4 dried puya chiles, optional (see note)
1 1/2 cups corn oil, divided
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 large plum tomatoes
1/2 small onion
6 cloves garlic, peeled, divided
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
3/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1/2 cup sesame seeds, toasted, divided
1 stick cinnamon
1 corn tortilla
1/4 bolillo roll, sliced crosswise in 4 slices
1/4 ripe plantain, sliced
1/4 cup shelled raw peanuts
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon blanched almonds
1/3 cup raisins
Leaves from 1 sprig thyme
1 sprig Italian parsley
2 tablespoons salt, divided
2 tablets Mexican chocolate, or 6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup granulated sugar, according to taste
2 whole chickens, cut into serving pieces, or 6 pounds chicken parts
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters
4 bay leaves
3/4 cup Mexican crema for garnish
Note: To make a milder version, omit the puya chiles. The chiles, Mexican chocolate and crema (a type of sour cream) are available in Mexican and Latin markets.
The day before making the mole, remove the stems and seeds from the chiles; rinse the chiles and pat dry. Reserve 3/4 teaspoon of the seeds and set aside. Heat 1/2 cup oil in a large skillet, add the chiles (in batches if necessary) and fry until glossy, about 4 minutes. Drain and place in a Dutch oven. Cover with 10 cups hot water, add the vinegar and let stand overnight.
The next day (or several hours later), drain the chiles and reserve the soaking liquid. Working in batches, place the drained chiles in a blender. Add enough soaking liquid to blend them smoothly. Repeat with the remaining chiles and set the mixture aside. This makes about 8 cups.
Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise. Do not peel them before or after roasting. Slice 1/2 small onion crosswise into 1-inch-thick pieces. Roast the tomatoes, sliced onion and 2 cloves of garlic in an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat until spotted with brown. Set aside.
Add the coriander seeds, anise seeds, pepitas, reserved chile seeds, peppercorns, cloves, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds and cinnamon stick to the skillet and roast just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to another bowl.
Add 1/2 cup oil to the skillet. When the oil is hot, fry the tortilla, then the bolillo slices, until the tortilla is crisp and the bolillo slices are golden. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Fry the plantain slices until golden and softened. Remove with a slotted spoon. Set aside.
Fry the peanuts, almonds and raisins for about 1 minute until almonds and peanuts are well-browned. Drain on a paper towel. Fry the seeds and spices toasted in step 4 for 30 seconds. Strain them through a sieve, discarding the oil.
Heat the remaining 1/2 cup oil in a Dutch oven. Add the pureed chile mixture and enough of the reserved soaking liquid to keep the pureed mixture from erupting like a volcano when it simmers. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often.
Add the fried cinnamon stick to the pureed chile mixture. In a blender, combine the rest of the spices, seeds, nuts and raisins. Grind with enough chile soaking liquid to puree. Add to the chile mixture.
Grind the reserved roasted tomatoes, onions and garlic cloves, the thyme leaves and the parsley sprig in the blender with enough chile soaking liquid to puree, then add to the Dutch oven.
Crumble the fried tortilla into small pieces. Place the bolillo slices, tortilla pieces and plantain slices in the blender with 1 tablespoon of the salt. Add enough soaking liquid to blend. Add this to the Dutch oven. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until dissolved. Add sugar to taste.
Stir constantly over medium heat until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency and becomes very dark. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, in batches if necessary, and return to a clean pot. Failure to strain the sauce will result in an unpleasant texture filled with flecks of chile skin. Place the sauce over low heat. Discard remaining chile soaking liquid. Makes 10 cups of sauce.
Wash the chicken pieces and place them in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Add water to cover. Add the medium onion quarters, bay leaves, remaining 4 garlic cloves and remaining tablespoon salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot. Strain the stock and set aside.
Place the chicken pieces into the pot with the mole sauce or, if there is not room, put the chicken in a large pot and pour in the sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer and continue to cook until cooked through, an additional 15 to 20 minutes, adding stock as needed to thin the sauce. Reserve remaining stock for another use.
To serve, place a serving of chicken on each plate and cover generously with mole sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds. Drizzle crema on the chicken and around the plate. Serve with Mexican or white rice. Freeze leftover mole in an airtight container.
Mole Poblano, The (Relatively) Easy Way
3 ounces dried ancho chiles, about 6 medium to medium-large
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
3 tablespoons blanched, slivered almonds
2 tablespoons raisins
1 cup chopped white onion
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 to 3 cups chicken broth
2 1/2 tablespoons lard or olive oil, or a combination
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons Mexican chocolate, finely chopped
Cooked chicken, turkey or pork
Serves four to six.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and toast the chiles for 20 to 30 seconds on both sides until they soften and become fragrant, but do not allow them to scorch. Remove and discard the stems and seeds, tear the chiles into small pieces, place them in a bowl and cover them with very hot water for 30 minutes. Drain and place in a food processor.
While the chiles are soaking, toast the sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat until they just turn golden brown. Add to the food processor, along with the almonds, raisins, onion, cinnamon, oregano and 1/2 cup of the broth. Process the ingredients for 2 minutes, then transfer to a blender and blend for 2 minutes more, adding broth if necessary for the blender to operate. If the mixture is not totally smooth, put it through the fine blade of a food mill or a strainer to remove any bits of remaining chile skin.
Heat the lard or oil in a medium-sized pot over just-above-medium heat, add the mole paste and cook, stirring constantly, until most of the liquid has evaporated and it becomes shiny. Then, little by little, stir in the rest of the broth and add the sugar. At this point, the mixture should be thinner than you want the finished product to be. If necessary, add more broth. Simmer the mole until it is the consistency of a milk shake, about 15 minutes. Add the salt and Mexican chocolate and serve over cooked chicken, turkey or pork.
CINCO DE MAYO RECIPES
4 ears corn, husked
1/2 cup Lime Mayo (recipe follows)
1/2 cup queso fresco
Chile pequin powder
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons water
Salt to taste
Make Lime Mayo: In a bowl, whisk together all ingredients. Chill when ready to use.
In a large stock pot boil 6 quarts of water. Add corn and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove corn from water and pat dry with a paper towel. When you are ready to serve, place on the grill and cook for 5 minutes flipping once halfway through cooking. Remove from grill and slather with Lime Mayo. Top with queso fresco, lime zest and chile pequin powder.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
2 chipotle chiles from 1 can of chipotles in adobo
2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Makes about 1 cup.
Place mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, and chipotles in jar of a blender. Puree until smooth and chipotles are completely chopped. Pour into an airtight container, cover, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Tequila Lime Chicken
1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on
Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.
Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Mexican Chicken Wrap
3/4 cup salsa
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/3 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 pound)
1 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 cups finely chopped iceberg lettuce
1 cup chopped tomatoes
In a bowl, stir together salsa and mayonnaise. Cover and refrigerate dip.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange tortillas on 2 baking sheets; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Bake for 5 minutes, until cheese has melted.
Meanwhile, warm oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, hot sauce and salt and cook, stirring, until just cooked through, 4 minutes.
Place tortillas on a counter. Top with lettuce, chicken and tomatoes. Roll up, cut in half and serve with dip.
Easy Fish Tacos
1 large lime
1/2 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups coleslaw mix
16 fish sticks, cooked according to package directions
8 corn tortillas, warmed or toasted
Cut lime in half. Squeeze juice from half then cut remaining half into wedges.
Combine lime juice, mayonnaise and sugar in medium bowl. Add coleslaw mix and toss to coat.
Evenly divide coleslaw among tortillas, top with fish sticks and serve with lime wedges.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at cool room temperature
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon each: almond extract, vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into small chunks
Makes about 48 biscotti.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet with oil. (Or line it with parchment paper.)
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix briefly on low speed. Add butter in pieces; mix on medium-low speed until mixture looks like damp sand. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the beaten eggs. Pour remaining eggs and extracts into the mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms. Add chocolate chunks; mix on low speed until just incorporated. (Alternately, the dough can be mixed with a wooden spoon.)
Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface; pat into a disk. Divide in quarters. Lightly moisten your hands with water; gently roll one portion of dough into a rough oval. Place crosswise on baking sheet; use your hands and fingers to stretch and pat dough into a log about 1 1/2-inches wide and 9-inches long. Shape remaining pieces of dough the same way, moistening your hands as needed. Logs should be set on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Press down tops of each to flatten slightly and make tops even. Lightly brush tops with reserved beaten egg.
Bake logs until lightly browned and just set, 20 minutes. They should be springy to the touch and have cracks on the surface. Place baking sheet on a cooling rack. Gently slide an offset spatula under each log to loosen from baking sheet. Let logs cool on the sheet, 5 minutes; then transfer carefully to racks. Cool, 20 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Transfer cooled logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated bread knife (or santoku knife), cut them on the diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Arrange slices cut side up on baking sheet, in batches if necessary. Bake, 10 minutes. Turn slices over; bake until they are crisp, 9-10 minutes. Transfer slices to rack; cool completely. Biscotti will keep for up to 10 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Serve these with the Italian dessert wine vin santo, espresso or a glass of cold milk.
Smoky Gouda Biscotti
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (aka pimenton)
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese
1/4 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at cool room temperature
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
Makes about 30 biscotti.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat an 11-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with the vegetable oil. (Or line the pan with parchment paper.)
Combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, salt, sweet paprika and smoked paprika in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly on low speed. Add the pecans; mix to combine and to break up the nuts into small pieces. Add the cheese; mix briefly on low to combine. Add the butter in pieces; mix on medium-low speed until the mixture looks like damp sand. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the beaten eggs. Combine the remaining eggs with the olive oil and milk; pour into the mixing bowl. Mix on medium speed until a soft, slightly sticky dough has formed. (Alternatively, you can mix the dough with a wooden spoon.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; pat it into a disk. Divide it in half. Lightly moisten your hands with water and gently roll one portion of dough into a rough oval. Place it lengthwise on one half of the baking sheet; use your hands and fingers to stretch and pat the dough into a log about 2 1/2 inches wide and 12 inches long. Shape the second piece of dough in the same way, moistening your hands as necessary. Press down on the logs to flatten them out a bit; make the tops even. Brush the reserved egg over the tops of the logs.
Bake the logs until lightly browned and just set, 25-30 minutes. They should be springy to the touch and there should be cracks on the surface. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack. Gently slide an offset spatula under each log to loosen it from the baking sheet. Let the logs cool, 5 minutes; then transfer them to the rack. Let cool, 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 325.
Transfer the cooled logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated bread knife (or santoku knife), cut them on the diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Arrange the slices, cut-side up, on the baking sheet (in batches if necessary); bake, 20 minutes. Turn the slices over; bake until crisp and golden, 15-20 minutes. Transfer the slices to the rack to cool completely
The biscotti will keep for up to 10 days in an airtight container stored at room temperature.