Thursday, October 10, 2013

Pork Mole

Remember that disclaimer on my bio that refers to "less than authentic".  I considered calling this Gringo Mole.  After the Pasta Primavera, my system couldn't take another pepper-based recipe, and especially not a spicy-pepper one.

For those not coming back after Googling "mole" and fortunately getting the sauce as the first Wikipedia hit, it's a Mexican sauce based on chilis and chocolate.  I'm basing mine on tomatoes and chocolate, with a small bell pepper and chili powder representing the chilis.  Also there to kill the heat are plantains, stewed in with the sauce.  You can kind of see them in the photo, bottom left.

Yes, there is chocolate in mole, but it does not taste like chocolate.  It is just another spice and flavor note, like putting a touch of chocolate in pumpernickel.  If you taste a lot of chocolate in it, you put in too much.  I used the scant 1/4 C remaining from my mom's Costco 5 pound bag of semi-sweet morsels, even though unsweetened is a better choice.  It took me nearly three years to go through that bag!  And chocolate chips do go stale after five years, becoming much more difficult to melt evenly.  I wouldn't buy more than a year's worth at a time, no matter what kind of coupon or Costco deal you think you're getting.  Quality is more important when you're talking chocolate.

Vegetable oil for sautéing
*half an onion, chopped
*2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb pork for stew
salt and pepper to taste
1 small bell pepper, seeded and chopped
*1/2 lb tomatoes, chopped
*1 tsp each oregano, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon
1 C unsalted chicken stock (comes in a Tetra-Pak, probably on the highest shelf)
2 medium-ripe plantains (yellow, few black spots)
*1/4 C unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1.  In a medium saucepan, sauté onion in a tablespoon of oil until soft.  Add garlic and pork and cook until pork is browned.  Add water to cover, about 1 cup.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover.  Cook until pork is tender, about 1 hour.  Continue to simmer while you make the sauce.  It's stew, you can't overcook it.

Action shot
2.  In a 10" skillet, cook bell pepper on medium in another tablespoon of oil until soft.  Add chopped tomatoes and dry spices and cook until tomatoes soften.  Add chicken stock and simmer 10 minutes, for flavors to combine.  Place sauce in a blender and let it run until very smooth, about a minute.  Let it sit in the blender while you cook the plantains.

3.  Peel and slice plantains on an angle into 1/2" slices.  Fry in the skillet with just a touch more oil until they turn golden yellow on both sides.  Pour sauce over them and stir in chocolate.  Heat until chocolate is melted.  Drain pork and add, including the onions, to the sauce.  Stir to coat and heat through.  Serve over rice.

Difficulty rating :-0

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