This past Christmas, Nathan’s employer hosted their annual Christmas party out in Dallas, Texas. After the day of the party we took a couple days to tour around the city and one of our goals was to get really good and authentic Mexican food. I exhaustively researched reviews on Yelp and came up with a restaurant touted as authentic and delicious. The first notable aspect of our experience at the restaurant is that we happened to sit next to the hosts from HGTV’s Love it or List it Too. The second notable part of the evening is that I had the worst ordering regret ever. I decided to try one of the restaurant’s signature dishes…Mole Enchiladas. I had never had mole before so I can’t say what I was expecting exactly but I was NOT expecting the mole to taste like, well, DIRT. I like most foods but I just could not do this mole…I ended up pushing it around my plate and stealing bites of Nathan’s tacos. So, now that the trauma of that experience is well behind us we decided that it was time to make our first mole at home and compare it to the stuff we remember from the restaurant. Our recipe still has the earthy trademark of mole sauce but it has a lot of other complex flavors as well and the earthiness is balanced by a sweetness that comes from the raisins and chocolate. Much better! One drawback of making mole at home is that it is not a quick sauce! This took about three hours from start to finish but made a ton…we now have a freezer full of mole sauce. If you, like us, had previously written of mole sauce as dirt you should give this recipe a chance!
This wine was an awesome pairing with the mole. It had notes of chocolate to complement the deep chocolate flavor in the mole and fruity flavors of cherry and plum that cut through the earthiness of the mole and provided a light and zesty contrast. I also liked that the bottle had a cool burlap sleeve. Yes, I am a sucker for packaging!
Victoria is a quintessential Mexican beer. A super light lager with a little malt, almost no hops to be tasted, nice and carbonated, and refreshing as hell. Perfect for a hot summer day or, in this case, to wash down an extremely rich sauce over enchiladas. The mole sauce’s earthy flavors and contrasted perfectly by the lite and carbonated beer and will get you ready for the next bite.
From this recipe
8 ounces (about 16) dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
1 pound ripe fresh tomatoes (4 medium round tomatoes or 6 medium plum tomatoes)
1 large onion, cut into 1/8” slices (divided use)
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
¼ cup vegetable oil (divided use)
½ cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon oregano, preferably Mexican
⅛ teaspoon cloves, preferably freshly ground
¼ teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons raisins
8 whole blanched almonds
3 tablespoons bread crumbs
2 tablets (6 ounces total) Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
4 cups chicken broth
1 store-bought rotisserie chicken, meat pulled and shredded lightly OR 2 generous cups shredded chicken meat
Monterey Jack cheese, grated
Sprigs from 1 small bunch parsley
1. Toast and soak the chiles. Set a large (10-inch) skillet over medium heat. When hot, lay a few chile pieces on the hot surface in single layer. Press down with a metal spatula until they change color and become aromatic—about 15 seconds. Flip the chiles and press down, toasting other side. Remove to a bowl. When all are toasted, cover chiles with hot tap water and weight with a plate. Let soak until soft, about 30 minutes.
2. Roast the vegetables. Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler until blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes. Cool.Return chile-toasting skillet to medium heat. Add three-quarters of the onion slices and all of the garlic. Roast the onion on both sides until soft and blackened in spots, about 8 minutes. Roast the garlic on all sides until soft and blackened in places, about 15 minutes. Cool.
3. Toast the sesame seeds. Return the onion-roasting skillet to medium heat. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil, then pour in the sesame seeds. Stir continually until the sesame seeds brown, about 2 minutes. Scrape into a large bowl.
4. Blend the chile puree. Use tongs to transfer chiles to the bowl with sesame seeds, saving the soaking water. Add the oregano, cloves, pepper, cinnamon, raisins and almonds to the chiles and sesame seeds. Mix well, then scoop half of the mixture into a blender. Pour in just enough chile-soaking water to cover. Cover and blend at high speed until very smooth. Set a medium-mesh strainer over another bowl. Pour in the chile puree and press through with a rubber spatula. Discard the chile skins and sesame seed hulls left in the strainer. Blend the remaining mixture with the soaking water. Strain into the same bowl.
5. Make the tomato puree. When the roasted tomatoes are cool, peel off and discard skins. Put the tomatoes in the blender with all the juices from the skillet. Peel and roughly chop the roasted garlic. Add to the blender along with the roughly chopped onion. Cover and blend at high speed until smooth. Wash and dry the skillet. Set over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil. When hot, add the tomato puree. Cook—stir almost continually—until the tomato mixture thickens, 10 to 15 minutes.
6. Cook the mole. Set a large heavy pot (preferably a 6- to 9-quart Dutch oven) over medium to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. When hot, add the chile puree and stir continuously until the mixture becomes very thick—about 20 minutes. Scrape in the cooked tomato mixture, bread crumbs and chocolate. Add the chicken broth and stir until the chocolate melts. Turn down the heat to medium-low and cook 30 minutes.Taste and season the mole with sugar (usually about 1 tablespoon) and salt (usually about 1 ½ teaspoons). Let the mole cool to room temperature, then blend again until silky smooth if desired.
7. Assemble the enchiladas. On a baking sheet, lay out the tortillas and spray or brush lightly on both sides with oil; stack them in twos. Slide the tortillas into the oven and bake just long enough to make them soft and pliable, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and stack them in a single pile; cover with a kitchen towel to keep warm.Holding a tortilla at one edge, dip most of it into the sauce, then lay it on an empty plate. Spoon a heaping 2 tablespoons shredded chicken down the center, along with a sprinkle of monterey jack cheese and roll up and lay on a dinner plate. Repeat with 1 or 2 more tortillas for the same plate. Douse the enchiladas with about ¼ cup of the hot sauce, and garnish with the remaining onion slices, queso fresco and parsley sprigs. Repeat for as many plates of enchiladas as you’d like to make. Carry to the table immediately.