So last night I found myself a little extra ambitious (or perhaps just extra insane) and decided to work on two different mole recipes at once. It turned into such a long project that Emily had to call me from next door around 11 pm and ask me to quit making such a racket in the kitchen.
The results: one really kick ass mole, and one that was just kinda.... weird.
I've come to the conclusion that to make a really killer mole, you have to include roasted onions, garlic and tomatoes - you can either roast them in the oven or toast it all in a cast iron skillet. But you cannot make a really tasty mole without these ingredients.
You also have to use dried peppers. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but I've now made two different batches with freshly roasted peppers and it just doesn't float my boat!
So mole #3 was again from Emeril Laggase. The first recipe of his that I tried was really quite exquisite, so I had high hopes for this one, but it was just... thick and weird. I followed the recipe exactly, and what I got was this thick green substance with a very mild flavor. It's not really a bad flavor, just not very complex. I'm tellin' ya, it's lack of garlic! The recipe called for, among other things, tamarind paste, cane syrup, and cocoa powder. I'm going to bring it to the party with the other sauces just to see if anyone likes it.
But mole #4, now there's a winner! It was a LOT of work but really worth the effort. I followed the recipe pretty closely, but I wasn't able to find all the varieties of peppers at my local Mexican grocery store, so I used mostly anchos, guajillos and pasillas, all dried. The recipe also called for a very small bit of fried plantain, which turned out to be just the right amount. In addition to tomatoes, there were tomatillos, which I haven't really used much before so that was a treat. Lastly, I didn't use lard to fry the mole; I used olive oil. The end result: delicious! The perfect balance of heat and sweetness! Blows mole #3 away!
But how does it compare to mole #1? As you may recall, that one was pretty darn tasty. I guess we'll find out tomorrow night when I bring all but mole #2 to the party.
Last night's soundtrack was a really cool compilation made by none other than the aforementioned Tara Linda. It featured some really beautiful sounds from Lhasa, Calexico, and Lydia Mendoza, just to name a few. Thanks, Linda!