In my part one of my attempts at making mole at home I will cook from two different recipes. The first is a recipe for Mole Poblano and the second a Mole Negro. I found the Poblano in a cookbook called Mod Mex. The book contains recipes from Chef Scott Linquist of NYC’s Dos Caminos. The second is from author Susana Trilling a recipe that I found online with a quick search.
My first advice for the home cook making mole is be prepared for some hard work and lots of dishes. Although this is as satisfying as making your own stock, or the first baked bread you made from scratch, it is way more time consuming. I made the task of shopping a bit easier by making a spreadsheet listing all the ingredients I would need for both recipes and it summed up the total amounts. I also spent an hour going through my cupboards and checking what ingredients I had in house. I have a horrible habit of buying things only to come home and already have three of them. I found most of the things I needed in the Mexican grocery stores in the Italian Market. I was also able to get a good amount of things from Iovine Brothers produce in Reading Terminal Market. One observation though, while I was able to get a good amount in the Reading Terminal, it is difficult to find all the dried chiles you will need there.
The Mole Poblano turned out very good. It received high marks from some friends who are chefs in a Mexican restaurant. It also went over well at a dinner party. There are a few things that i would do differently however. First the recipe in the books serves eight. I was cooking for myself to test the recipe and made about a gallon of mole. Luckily it freezes well so I froze three quarts of it. Second I recommend straining your mole through a mesh strainer a few times before you do the final heating to serve. My blender did an admirable job of pureeing but was clearly over matched for the amount of work this one sauce gave it. I also used duck fat instead of lard because I still had a half gallon left from a sandwich battle I did recently.
The Mole Negro was less successful. The flavor was still great, but I had a hard time getting the color as black I have seen them. According to some recipes I have found most of this comes from the charring of the seeds. A chef recently told me that her black mole is darker because of the amount of stone fruit she uses. I also believe I used too much stock, because at one point my mole was darker than the final, but I may have thinned it too much. If you have vents in your kitchen please use them when frying or toasting your chiles. I basically tear gassed a friend while making a batch.
All in all succesful test with some hard learned lessons. Next up, mole off the shelf.
The Skinny Fat Kid