February 22, 2010

Fresh Black Mole Enchiladas

My Husband Troy says that he is an Irishman by heritage, but a Latin lover in his heart. He LOVES Mexican food. Typically taco trucks are his weakness, not "chi chi" California style fresh Mexican food. I am constantly working to develop recipes that embrace both. Mexican depth of flavor and California healthy style.

Recently, I went to a "pop up" store in Oakland, organized by my friend Samin Nosrat, http://ciaosamin.blogspot.com who by the way was the catalyst and organizer for the wildly successful Bakesale for Haiti, and Chris Lee of the recently closed Eccolo and purchased some black mole sauce.

After watching Mexican food aficionado and Top Chef Masters winner, Rick Bayless go into eye-rolling ecstasy describing his first taste of black mole and his life-long quest to re-create it, I jumped at the chance to bring some home and source a great way to use it.

Inspired recently by a recipe that I saw in the San Francisco Chronicle, I tweaked this M'Lisa style and came up with a real winner that I tried out tonight for dinner. It was as beautiful to look at as it tasted, and even my taco truck loving, Portuguese Irishman Husband declared it a run away winner. Below is the M'Lisa-ized recipe. For those who are interested about what I changed, I have included at link to the original article as well.

The recipe includes a version of the afor-mentioned black mole, but for this recipe, I used the mole that I purchased from Samin and that was made by personal chef Melissa Fernandez www.figandmiel.com.

Enchiladas Under a Salad

Serves 6 with leftover sauce and picadillo.

You will have sauce and filling leftover for more enchiladas or to freeze. You can make the sauce a day before making the enchiladas.

  • Sweet Mole Sauce:

  • 5 dried ancho chiles
  • 6 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 dried California chiles
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt + more later to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves - 2 peeled, 1 with husk
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1 small tomato
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 4 whole cloves, crushed
  • 1 2-inch piece canela (cinnamon bark), broken up
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 small Knorr chicken bouillon cubes or 1 tablespoon Superior Touch "Better than Bouillon" (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar or one 3-inch piece piloncillo
  • 1 1/2 ounces Mexican chocolate (Abuelita brand or Oaxacan), chopped

  • Family Picadillo:

  • 6 peeled carrots, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 pound Prather Ranch ground beef
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon olive oil, as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • -- Black pepper to taste
  • 12 corn tortillas

  • The Salad:

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • -- Pinch of kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • -- About 3 cups crisp romaine lettuce cut into 1/2-inch thick ribbons
  • 4 watermelon radishes, washed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

For the Sweet Mole Sauce: Put on a teakettle of water to boil and then use scissors to cut stems off dried chiles and cut chiles in half. Shake out seeds. If I see large white veins (the hottest part of chiles), I cut them out with the scissors. Do this operation over a spread out newspaper or your kitchen will be covered with seeds. Place chiles in a large heat-proof bowl and pour boiling water over them. If the chiles are cut up they tend to float less, but keep pushing the chiles into the water. Add the 2 teaspoons salt and the peeled garlic and soak for 1 hour.

While the chiles are soaking, heat a 10-inch skillet and toast the sesame seeds on medium heat until deeply golden, stirring constantly; remove from pan and set aside. While the pan is still hot, quickly toast the cumin seeds until dark brown and aromatic (be careful - they can burn quickly), then add to the the sesame seeds.

Increase heat to medium high; add the small tomato and remaining garlic clove (with husk). Cook the tomato until charred around the edges along with the garlic, turning the tomatoes over to char the other side. Add the oregano; stir to toast, about 30 seconds. Put aside to cool.

After 45 minutes to 1 hour, the chiles should be rehydrated. Pour off the soaking liquid, which can be bitter. Use a blender to puree the chiles (in batches as needed), adding just enough water to help puree. Pour puree through a wire strainer placed over a large bowl. Discard the skins (they are great in compost). After straining the last batch of chiles, pour the liquid back into the blender jar. Add the charred tomato, toasted garlic, sesame seeds, cumin, oregano, cloves and canela; puree.

Heat the olive oil in a deep, heavy pot and blend in flour until well mixed and smooth. Cook until slightly toasted or golden. Slowly whisk in the chile-spice puree and 3 cups water. Lupe always adds the bouillon because it is traditional. Add the sugar or piloncillo and the Mexican chocolate. Simmer the sweet sauce for 20 minutes over the lowest heat because it can splatter. Stir often to make sure the chocolate and sugar are well-dissolved. Add salt to taste, if needed. This sauce can be made a day in advance and refrigerated. Makes about 1 quart, enough for the enchiladas plus leftovers.

For the Family Picadillo: Sautee the onions and carrots in a spot of olive oil, until caramelized. Add the ground beef, use a potato masher to break up the meat and distribute the vegetables throughout. Pour off the excess fat. Season with oregano, salt and pepper. Add the cooked black beans and diced tomato. Warm though. Set aside, cover and keep warm. Makes about 5 cups, enough for the enchiladas plus leftovers.

To assemble: Preheat the oven to 375°. Oil a 9- by 13-inch baking pan or 3-quart baking dish. Pour enough sauce into the prepared pan (just large enough to hold a tortilla) to fill the pan about 3/4-inch deep - about 2 cups. Heat until warm, if necessary. If the sauce has been refrigerated and has thickened, blend in a bit of water or chicken broth to thin it out.

Meanwhile, heat a griddle to warm tortillas on. Warm two at a time then lay them out on a flat plate. Place 1/4 cup of picadillo along one edge and roll up tightly. Place each rolled enchilada into the baking dish, seam side down. Place baking dish in the oven, and heat through, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the salad. Whisk together lime juice, salt and oil. Add lettuce and radishes, toss together.

To serve: Remove enchiladas from the oven, and place 2 on each plate. Pile a heaping 1/2 cup salad over each serving, top with 2-3 avocado slices and sprinkle with goat cheese. Or, serve family-style on a platter.

Per serving: 484 calories, 18 g protein, 49 g carbohydrate, 25 g fat (7 g saturated), 46 mg cholesterol, 896 mg sodium, 7 g fiber.

Wine pairing: The mole is not overly hot, and it finishes with a sweet edge. A beer, a soft white or lighter-bodied red like Beaujolais will all work.



Wow! That looks simply amazing! Let me know when you are making that again. I feel another tech night coming on.....
Lisa & Alfie

Karen said...

Holy Mole! This recipe sounds amazing, and Troy is such a lucky man. Mole is my favorite--I try it anywhere and everywhere I can, but have never tried cooking it. How long did it take you? Maybe I can convince Rich to attempt it...

Heidi said...

oh that looks so good i can barely stand it. i learned to make good enchiladas from my mexican mother-in-law, but i also like to add a california healthy kick to it - like mixing some kale or chard in with the filling. my hubby doesn't mind unless i mess with the sauce :)

ChefGirl said...

This recipe was total success...and like you Heidi, by Husband doesn't like it when I mess with HIS Mexican food...but....we both agreed that this was great! I will have to have a MOLE party next time.

Thanks Ladies!