Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hilo Turkey Mole

I am still not sick of turkey! I have another one in the smoker right now. Meanwhile, one of the reasons I am not tired of turkey is that there are so many things to do with it that are far beyond the norm. One of my favorite treatments is Turkey Mole. I made a deep dark rich chocolate & spice laden version with a variety of red chiles. I have been using it with turkey breast meat and served on home made tortillas with sides of black beans and tostones (double fried green plantains.)

When I studied cooking in Mexico, one of the many classes was on a variety of Moles. Many regions in Mexico have their own Mole styles, probably the most famous being Oaxaca, where more than 15 mole styles prevail. Basically a mole is a deep and complex sauce used to surround foods like tamales, turkey, chicken, enchiladas and pork. In the huge Central Market of Cuernavaca (the capitol of the region of Morelos) where I studied, there were always mole vendors who sold huge mounds of mole paste concentrates which when mixed with broth created the lovely complex dishes with ease.

We are not so lucky in Hawaii, or most places on the mainland for that matter.  Actually most hispanic ingredients are among the difficult things to find here. Fortunately my friends at Emma's, a small taqueria in an industrial park here supply me with good quality  dried chiles, freshly made tortillas, masa and other ingredients which are otherwise difficult to find here. Many of the other ingredients, such as the pumpkin seeds can be found at our local health food stores such as Island Naturals and Abundant Life Natural Foods. I used both Hawaiian Chocolate and Mexican Chocolate as well as cinnamon from my own cinnamon trees and many spices grown here on the island.

So, here is the recipe. This formula can be used as a sauce for many things and once made keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a month. I do things like render my own lard ahead of time. If you live in an area with a Mexican Butcher or grocery, they probably sell fresh lard there. Do not buy the hydrogenated versions. I urge you to make your own if that is all you can find. Freshly rendered lard is surprisingly healthy for you.. read up on it!

Mole Negro/Pablano

This recipe makes about 2 quarts

12 whole peppercorns ( I use a mix of red, green and black)
6 whole cloves
four 4" pieces of cinnamon (aka canela)
3 tablespoons dried Mexican Oregano
Equal amounts of dried  Poblano, Negro and Guajillo chiles to equal one pound (California and New Mexican Chiles can also be used in the mix)
1 cup of freshly rendered lard
1 cup of pumpkin seeds toasted
1/2 cup of toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/2 cup pecan or walnut pieces (roasted)
1/2 cup peanuts (roasted)
1 large roll of bread, made into crumbs in a food processor
2 cups dry sherry
1/2 cup dried pineapple chopped
1 cup dried apricots chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped dried citron (or use any other dried candied fruit)
4-5 cups turkey or chicken stock (home made is best, boxed organic is next best)
2 ripe plantains

4-6 Roma tomatoes
6 serrano chiles
2-3 onions (I use red onions)
1 head of garlic divided into cloves
Take the above ingredients and roast on a grill and reserve

1 cup of chocolate (I use a combination of Mexican and dark chocolate)

In a heavy skillet toast the spices, stir constantly.

Grind all toasted spices in a spice grinder or coffee grinder.

Remove the tops from the chilies and toss seeds.

On high heat, toast chiles. Once all are toasted, place in a bowl and add boiling water. Allow to stand and soften for 1 hour, weight down if needed with a plate and heavy object.

Put some lard in a pan and toast the nuts, then drain and reserve for the plantain. Add bread crumbs and sherry.

In a food processor, grind the toasted spices and nuts.

Heat the sherry and add raisins, apricots and dried fruit. Simmer for 10 minutes and then turn off heat and let stand for 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining lard and cook the plantain. Add to the sauce.

Drain the dried chiles and working in batches, puree with the seeds, grilled veggies and stock. Use a food mill, sieve or chinois to strain any large pieces out. Place all of this in a large dutch oven and add the chocolate stirring and making sure that the flavors have time to blend. Save the sauce for various applications. It freezes well.


Tara D. Coomans said...

Oh, that looks just beautiful!

Jeff said...

I love a good mole and now you have me inspired to make mole chili this weekend.

Guajillo is also one of my favorite peppers too. Up there with ancho but they lose slightly. I am lucky and have an awesome local Mexican market that carries all different varieties of dried peppers.