Sunday, June 19, 2011


The ingredients list for this was taken from a few different recipes, and the modifications weren't done with any particular intention. The resulting sauce is richly flavored with barely any heat, with a texture that's both smooth and grainy. It worked well in a veggie-taco context and leaves plenty left over for trying with other things (maybe tofu mole burritos?).

3 large dried pasilla peppers
1 medium white onion, sliced
6 cloves garlic
2 t cumin seeds
2 t coriander seeds
1 t oregano
1 t chili powder
1 T canola oil
3/4 c sliced almonds
1 nice thick slice challah
1.5 oz Ibarra chocolate, chopped
1/2 c raisins (or 1/4 c raisins + 1/4 c currants if that's what you have)
1 14-oz can tomatoes
2 c broth
salt and chili powder to taste

thinly-sliced veggies (crimini or portabella mushrooms, colorful round summer squashes, red pepper)
pinto beans
sour cream
cabbage salad

Slice each pasilla pepper in half, remove the seeds and stem, and tear into a few pieces. Heat a small dry frying pan over medium heat and toast the peppers until they turn from a very dark purple-red to a lighter orange. Transfer to the food processor, add the rest of the chili paste ingredients (onion through chili powder), and process until smooth; this requires scraping down the sides a few times and the spices still may not get ground up terribly well. (Makes about 1 c chili paste.)

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium. Transfer the chili paste to the pot, turn down the heat to medium low and stir to incorporate the oil, and let cook while you assemble the next step. (Don't start washing the frying pan or the food processor yet, you'll be using these again right now.)

Toast the almonds in the dry frying pan over medium-low heat, and transfer to the food processor. Toast the challah in the pan (or just in the toaster like normal). Tear the challah into a few pieces and add to the food processor. Add the chocolate and grind until fine. (Makes about 1 c crumbs.) Stir into the chili paste and keep cooking.

Put the raisins in the food processor, and process until mushed up. Add the tomatoes and process until relatively smooth. (Makes about 2 c tomato sauce.) Stir the tomato sauce into the paste, then stir in the broth and a bit of salt. Simmer over low heat for at least half an hour, until much of the liquid has evaporated to leave about 4 c of nice thick sauce. (I actually left it for more like an hour and a half and didn't taste it until the end, but visually not much changed after the first half hour.)

While the mole is thickening, spend some time as the light leaves the backyard calling Dad and helping Lester tie up some new rigging for the tomatoes. At some point you should also prepare the rest of your dinner: cook the veggies and beans, warm up the tortillas, get the sour cream and cabbage salad out of the fridge. Assemble however strikes your fancy.

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