The tall, dark and handsome mole. With rich coffee and chocolate overtones, describing this mole feels like describing a complex red wine. With its layered flavour profile, serve it with kangaroo, duck or venison to truly appreciate its complexity and depth of flavour.
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 star anise
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 whole clove
- 35 g (1¼ oz) (about 3) dried mulato chillies (see Note)
- 25 g (1 oz) (about 5) dried guajillo chillies (see Note)
- 20 g (¾ oz) (about 3) dried pasilla chillies (see Note)
- 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) olive oil
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 750 ml (25½ fl oz/3 cups) chicken stock
- ½ small white onion, quartered
- 50 g (1¾ oz) field mushrooms
- 4 garlic cloves
- ½ large plantain or ripe banana
- 25 g (1 oz) prunes, pitted
- 1 large handful of tarragon or oregano leaves, roughly chopped
- 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) red mole
- 100 g (3½ oz) freshly cooked black beans, cooking liquid reserved
- 75 g (2¾ oz) dark bitter chocolate, minimum 50% cocoa solids, roughly chopped
- ½ slice day-old white bread
- 50 g (1¾ oz) unsalted butter, cubed
- lime juice to taste
- sugar to taste
- sea salt to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 15 minutes
Soak the cinnamon stick, star anise, peppercorns and clove in water for 15 minutes. Drain.
Remove the stalks and roughly chop the chillies, retaining the seeds.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium frying pan over low heat. Gently fry the chillies, the whole spices and the allspice for 2–3 minutes, until fragrant and beginning to colour. Pour in 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of the stock and bring to the boil.
Remove from the heat and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium heavy-based saucepan over low heat. Cook the onion, mushroom and garlic, until softened. Add the plantain, prunes and herbs and cook for 2 minutes, until caramelised. Add the chilli and spiced stock mixture, red mole sauce and black beans and their cooking liquid and gently simmer for 25–30 minutes, until thick.
Add the chocolate and bread and cook, stirring occasionally, for a further 10–15 minutes, until reduced to a thick sauce.
Add the remaining oil and the butter and stir to combine.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and process, gradually adding the remaining stock, to make a smooth sauce. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing and rubbing with the back of a spoon to ensure all of the sauce passes through.
Season with lime juice, sugar and salt.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.
• The mulato is a type of dried poblano chilli. It is mild to medium-hot with a fruity, smoky flavour with chocolate and licorice notes. The mulato is part of the famous Mexican 'holy trinity' of chillies, along with ancho and pasilla, used in mole as well as other Mexican sauces and stews. It is available from Mexican grocery stores.
• The guajillo is a long dried mirasol chilli. It is a shiny dark red and has a green tea-like flavour with berry notes. It must be soaked for longer than other dried chillies. Look for it in Mexican grocery stores.
• The pasilla is a dried chilaca chilli, black-ish brown in colour and raisin-like in flavour. It is very popular in Oaxaca in Mexico. Look for it both whole and ground in Mexican grocery stores.
Recipe and image from Cantina by Paul Wilson (Hardie Grant Books, $49.95, hbk, available here)