On the L.A. board petradish asked me to put up my Enchilada recipe. I was kinda flattered and also a bit embarrassed. It reminded me of the time when I served up a round of cocktails in a variety of little tall glasses with scalloped bottoms. Someone commented on pretty the little glasses were, absolutely perfect for cocktails
I could not help but admit that those pretty little glasses were actually symbols of my Mole secret
As they were all originally Dona Maria Mole jars
Aspiring Mexican cooks often come and ask me, Whats your familys Mole recipe? I smile and delicately explain to them that being from the Yucatan, we dont have a mole as most people know it. Further, most home cooks in Mexico BUY their moles from local markets, already made. As you walk through the Mercados in Mexico, be it outdoor or a Kroger Clone, and make your way to the spices/deli area you see and SMELL those big clay dishes absolutely brimming with fresh made Mole. You go around and take a little pinch to taste each one. Depending on your craving, you make your selection and buy just enough to make one big dish. Im lucky enough to now live near East L.A so I can relive this experience (although the clay plates are replaced by white industrial food buckets and the tastes are done via popsicle stick). But as a kid, in those months I wasnt shipped of to Mexico, I was living in suburbia. Hence the Dona Maria from Albertsons had to do
Perhaps its the visits to Mexico city, perhaps its all the Dona Maria, but my favorite Mole is the Mole Poblano, what most people know as Mole. This is velvety brown sauce, has just enough heat, but also an underlying sweetness. Following very closely however is Mole Negro from Oaxaca. I love it for its complex spiciness, nothing overly sweet about it!! I also love other Molessuch as Yucatans own Chirmole, Pipian, Mole Rojo, etc but the Mole Negro and Poblano are the ones I most use when making a Mole dish for my friends. I recently cooked up both for my BF, a Mole virgin, and he was surprised at how different they were and how he actually loved both equally.
My favorite way to have Mole is to serve it with chicken over rice. Making little bocados tortilla scoops and enjoying its flavor pretty much straight up. My favorite way to introduce Mole to those who new to the dish or who are afraid of it (The chocolate thing seems to freak people out ), is Mole Enchiladas! Which was the inspiration for this post as Im going to make a big batch this Friday for a Potluck!
Mexican Home Cooked Style Mole Enchiladas!
You will need:
Mole Paste (Any type, from Dona Maria or Mexican Grocer),
Carton of Chicken Broth
Tortillas (Store brand I like is Dona Rosa),
Shredded Chicken Breasts (I use TJs Frozen Rib On) poached with Garlic and Mexican Oregano.
Garnish: Minced Onion, Queso Anejo, Mexican Crema.
First I poach my Chicken. Just dump Chicken Breasts on Bone into a pot of boiling water with a bit of salt and a few cloves of garlic. When almost done, I add in the Mexican Oregano (Boiling the oregano too long can cause it to turn bitter). Then I remove, let cool just enough so I can shredded, place in a covered bowl and set aside
Then, I get a sauce pot (I found I love to do this in a small Saucier) and under a medium heat smear about a spoonful of Mole paste at the bottom of the pot and let it kinda bubble (Mole should have quite a bit of oil so it shouldnt burn or stick to the pot), then slowly add a but of broth and mix in to create a thick sauce. This is the starter of your thick mole sauce. You can then add in more paste and more broth. Always keeping the sauce kinda thick. Stir as it simmers and let the mole sauce get thicker, then add a bit more broth to loosen it up, but keep on stirring and always keep it on the thick side.
As you are doing the dance of stir and adding broth, taste the mole. What should be happening is that some of the spiciness or sweetness of the mole should be mellowing out and blending with the flavor of the Chicken Broth. Mole paste on its own is STORNG stuff, so you need it to be infused with flavor from the broth to become more balanced, but do NOT let it get watered down or too chickeny
Once you get the quantity and the flavor you desire from your mole, put it on a VERY low-barely on heat so that the mole continues to stay warm.
Then, heat up a small frying pan with about a ¼ inch of oil and fry the tortillas. I fry the tortillas until semi crisp. So that the edges are crisp, but it still remains slightly bendy. I fry the first side longer than the second side, the crisper side will be the outside of the Enchilada.
Then, I take the freshly fried tortilla, and place it in the warm mole pot and add another tortilla into the pan. After completely covering the tortilla in the mole, place the coated tortilla on the plate, sprinkle in some shredded chicken and roll up. Repeat this fry, dip, stuff and roll until I have all my plates done. Now, you can put all the Enchiladas in a baking dish to serve later, as Im going to do with the potluck. Frying the tortilla allows the enchiladas to retain their shape through reheating. But like most everything home made, this dish is best served right away!.
Then, I take the remaining Mole in the pot and turn up the heat so the sauce get nice and hot. The Mole may have gotten thicker by this time, so feel free to add a little more broth to loosen it up just a bit. Pour the hot mole sauce over your rolled Enchiladas. (For the potluck, Im brining a separate container of the Mole sauce to heat up and pour over the re-heated Enchiladas right before placing the dish out)
Have bowls of Chopped Onion, Crumbled Queso Anejo (If you cannot find Queso Anejo, you can substitute Feta. Other Mexican crumbly cheese I find are too mild in flavor to really add anything to the dish), and Mexican Cream (You can also sub sour cream thinned with a bit of milk, I just love the combo of fresh smooth cream and spicy mole) and let your guests garnish to their hearts content!
I prefer not to place lettuce on top of this dish, again, because it really doesnt add anything. If you and your guests are wanting a little green on your plate, boil up some Chayote
Serve up with butter and as sprinkling of chile powder. This Mexican squash is VERY refreshing in flavor (BF remarked they tasted a bit like summer squash) and is the perfect palette cleanser for the rich spicy mole!
And there you go a fairly simple typical everyday Mexican home cooked dinner. Enjoy! :)
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