Search

Cindy shares…

Ideas and the best of Baja!

Tag

tradition

Black Mole from Oaxaca (Mole Negro de Oaxaca)

By Juliann Esquivel

 Ingredients

8 large dried chile mulatos, you will have to go to a Mexican market where these are sold.

8 large dried pasilla or ancho chiles. if you live in California, Texas, Miami, New York, or Chicago it should not be too hard to find these dried chile peppers

4 large dried guajillo chiles

6/8 Tbsp. lard or corn oil, for those who have health reasons

1/2 c slivered almonds, toasted lightly

1/2 c dark raisins

1/4 c pumpkin seeds, toasted lightly

1/4 c pecans, in pieces, toasted lightly

1/4 c peanuts with skins if possible, not the shells toasted lightly, can be salted

4 slice challah bread or any egg bread, toasted and torn in pieces

1/4 c sesame seeds, toasted lightly, save a tablespoon to a side.

1/4 tsp dried thyme

1/4 tsp dried marjoram

1/4 tsp dried Mexican oregano if possible if not possible then the other oregano

4 medium avocado leaves. optional since it is hard to get fresh avocado leaves.

1 1/2 small sticks cinnamon or ground cinnamon about 2 level tsps.

1/4 tsp ground star anise or ground seed anise

2 small cloves, just two whole cloves

1 tsp cumin seeds or ground cumin

3 small black peppercorns, whole

2 large plantains ripe sliced, can buy Goya frozen fried plantains

1 large tomato roasted, no need to seed or peel

3 large tomatillos, quartered & roasted

5 clove garlic roasted

1 medium onion roasted

10/12 c rich homemade chicken broth. use homemade, best if you make the day before

8/10 large pieces of cooked chicken or turkey

1 1/2 Tbsp. perhaps a tad bit more sugar

2 large tablets Mexican chocolate there is one called abuelitas chocolate, this is a special chocolate that is mixed with cinnamon, almonds, & vanilla

2 Tbsp. salt or to your taste

1 c flour

2 medium corn tortillas fried crispy golden careful not to scorch

 Directions

1
First the day before making your mole you will need to make a rich chicken stock. Cook two chickens cut into pieces, in a deep heavy pot cover pieces with cold water add a medium onion, some garlic cloves a little salt and some garlic powder cover on medium flame and cook for about 1 1/2 hours. Ensure you have at least 12 cups of good rich broth. When chicken is done take out pieces and put into a separate pan let cool & cover and refrigerate for the next day. Do not overcook the chicken you want tender nice pieces, not chicken falling off the bone. When broth cools strain and refrigerate. All of the ingredients for this broth are in addition to what is on the sauce ingredient list above. Next day skim of the fat from the top and put on back burner until ready to use.

2
Clean the dried chilies with a damp cloth. Open the chiles by making a slit and removing the stem, seeds and membranes. Be sure to get all of the seeds out. They will cause you sauce to be bitter. After cleaning all of the dried chilies put into a sauce pan cover with cold water and put on medium flame let the chilies begin to boil for 5 minutes. Then shut off heat and let steep in this water for 10 more minutes. Make sure you have the extractor or ventilator on over the stove when doing this. Chile fumes can be strong. After the chilies have soaked for 10 minutes remove to a blender and with a little of the soaking water blend down to a puree. (Do not throw the remaining soaking water away Save it you will need it later). Take out chile puree and set aside in a separate bowl.

3
On a cookie sheet place your onion cut in half cut side down, tomatillos cut side down, the tomato leave whole but turn once or twice while roasting. Four peeled garlic cloves all to roast under the broiler. Do not let veggies char only to roast until somewhat brown, keep checking to make sure your veggies do not burn. Turn tomato just to get some nice browning spots. This should take about 4/5 minutes under the broiler. Some people do on a griddle but it’s faster under the broiler. Remove veggies and puree everything in the blender. everything must be completely pureed. Set aside in a separate dish.

4
In a cast iron pan if available or a heavy large fry pan heat 1 tablespoon lard or oil and fry raisins until they puff up and brown a bit again I can’t begin to remind do not scorch or burn the raisins. Remove the raisins and set aside. Add a little more lard or oil and fry gently the almonds, pecans, and the peanuts frying for five minutes on a medium to low flame careful not to burn. All this takes times you cannot hurry because burning or scorching any of these nuts will cause your sauce to be bitter. Nuts should be a golden brown. Remove nuts and set aside. Next in the same frying pan add a little more lard or oil and fry your torn bread pieces lightly then put bread in the oven for about ten minutes to toast a bit. After 10 minutes remove bread from oven. Next in that same frying pan cut your ripe plantains in small pieces and fry in oil or lard until golden. Remove the plantains to a separate pan. Last fry the tortilla in a little bit more oil or lard until crispy again being careful not to burn. Remove fried tortilla to bread pan. Heat another heavy fry pan no oil or lard please. Keep heat down on medium low Add your spices to toast sesame seeds, cinnamon sticks anise, cloves, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and pumpkin seeds slowly. Toast until they are a fragrant do not burn or scorch. Put into a spice grinder or coffee grinder and pulse until totally ground to a powder. Note if you do not have whole cumin seeds then add ground cumin powder to your mixture at the end after you have pulsed your spices. Next add your powdered spices to the just ground spices referring to the oregano, thyme and marjoram.

5
At this time start to heat your chicken broth. When hot reduce to a simmer you don’t want it to boil. Place the ground spices, the pureed veggies, the fried plantains, and a cup of chicken broth and blend into a smooth paste. Place in a bowl and set aside. Next place the bread, tortilla, and a little more broth and blend into a puree. Add some of the pureed chiles and continue to blend everything in little batches until all the bread, tortilla mixture is pureed and mixed with the chile puree Everything should be very well incorporated. Next put the nuts, remaining 2 cloves garlic, raisins and chocolate in the blender add a little of the water (about 1/2 cup) from the soaked chiles and blend to a smooth paste. By this time all of your ingredients should be well blended in a smooth paste or pureed except for the flour and sugar. Mix all of your pureed ingredients together. The bread and chiles, the veggies, the spices the nuts and chocolate mixture. Everything mix really good. Taste for salt seasoning. (I have left out the avocado leaves because this is very hard for some to find. If you are close to a location that has fresh avocado leaves wash four and put aside for one of the final steps.

6
In a deep heavy pot heat some more lard or oil, add the flour and begin to make a roux. Roux should be sautéed to a golden brown then add about 2 cups of all your pureed mixture. With a large whisk begin to mix roux with the puree mixture. Your mixture will begin to get thick and be hard to stir. Start adding 2 or three cupful of hot chicken broth and whisking constantly until you have a nice consistency then add all of the remaining pureed mixture and about 8/10 cupful of the chicken broth. Keep stirring with the whisk until you have a smooth sauce. Taste to see if it has enough salt. If it is a little bitter add the sugar a little at a time. Each time tasting to see if the bitterness is gone. Your sauce should be savory, and spicy not sweet. If you have the avocado leaves now you add them to the sauce whole not cut with your cooked chicken pieces from which you made your broth. Simmer mole sauce and chicken on low flame for about 45 minutes. If sauce is too thick add more chicken broth. Remove avocado leaves and discard. Serve Mole and chicken with Mexican rice and warm tortillas. Sprinkle a few toasted sesame seeds over the mole when serving. I have the recipe posted for Mexican rice. I will be making this mole this weekend and will post the picture of the finished dish. This is not an easy dish. Mole Negro is a labor intensive and the most arduous of all the mole recipes. It is done in steps and takes patience. The reward is a melt in your mouth sauce and chicken that few have a chance to experience here in the U.S. Note: Do not use any other chocolate except the Mexican chocolate your mole will lose its character & notoriety it is famous for. Mexican chocolate can be found in the Latin food section of your supermarket. Enjoy.

Capirotada

In Mexico, Capirotada is a traditional dessert similar to a bread pudding that is usually eaten during the Lenten period.

Capirotada has a very long history. Recipes were recorded by the Holy Office of the Spanish Inquisition in the mid-17th century and can still be found in the archives there to this day. It is typically made from ingredients in common use in Spain at the time of the Conquest. Some New World touches were added along the way, and it’s popular to this day throughout the Hispanic world.

The list of variations in the traditional Capirotada recipe is enormous. Every Mexican cook will have an own version.

Ingredients

  • 6 day-old bolillos or French bread, torn in ½-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 8-ounce piloncillo cones
  • 4-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut, shredded
  • 1/3 cup raw peanuts, peeled
  • 10 dried figs, sliced in rounds
  • 10 dried apricots, quartered
  • 1/3 cup guava paste, sliced in ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese (or any melting cheese such as Munster or Oaxaca), shredded
  • 4 tablespoons colorful sprinkles or grajeas (nonpareils)

Instructions

  1. On a large baking sheet, evenly distribute bread pieces. Toast under broiler for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned.
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  3. Butter a 12×12-inch or 9×13-inch baking dish.
  4. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine water, piloncillo cones, cinnamon stick and cloves. Bring to a boil then decrease heat and simmer until piloncillo cones melt liquid turns into a slightly thickened syrup. Remove cinnamon sticks and cloves.
  5. Arrange a third of bread pieces on bottom of buttered baking dish. Sprinkle with one-third of shredded coconut, one-third of peanuts, one-third dried figs, one-third dried apricots, one-third guava paste, one-third cheese and drizzle one-third of the syrup. Repeat until all ingredients have been used. If any syrup is left over, pour evenly over layers.
  6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes or until golden and cheese has melted. Garnish with sprinkles and serve.

Winter celebrations in Mexico

In Mexico, Christmas is celebrated from the December 12th to January 6th.

From December 16th to Christmas Eve, children often perform the ‘Posada’ processions or Posadas. Posada is Spanish for Inn or Lodging. There are nine Posadas. These celebrate the part of the Christmas story where Joseph and Mary looked for somewhere to stay. For the Posadas, the outside of houses are decorated with evergreens, moss and paper lanterns.

In each Posada, children are given candles and a board, with painted clay figures of Mary riding on a donkey and Joseph, to process round the streets with. They call at the houses of friends and neighbors and sing a song at each home. The song they sing is about Joseph and Mary asking for a room in the house. But the children are told that there is no room in the house and that they must go away. Eventually they are told there is room and are welcomed in! When the children go into the house they say prayers of thanks and then they have a party with food, games and fireworks.

Each night a different house holds the Posada party. At the final Posada, on Christmas Eve, a manger and figures of shepherds are put on to the board. When the Posada house has been found, a baby Jesus is put into the manger and then families go to a midnight Church service. After the Church service there are more fireworks to celebrate the start of Christmas.

One game that is often played at Posada parties is piñata. A piñata is a decorated clay or papier-mâché jar filled with sweets and hung from the ceiling or tree branch. The piñata is often decorated something like a ball with seven peaks around it. The peaks or spikes represent the ‘seven deadly sins’. Piñata’s can also be in other forms. Children are blind-folded and take it in turns to hit the piñata with a stick until it splits open and the sweets pour out. Then the children rush to pick up as many sweets as they can!

As well as the posada’s, another type of Christmas play known as Pastorelas (The Shepherds). These tell the story of the shepherds going to find the baby Jesus and are often very funny. The devil tries to stop them by tempting them along the way. But the shepherds always get there in the end, often with the help of the Archangel Michael, who comes and beats the devil!

Nativity scenes, known as the ‘nacimiento’, are very popular in Mexico. The baby Jesus is normally added to the scene during the evening of Christmas Eve. The Three Kings are added at Epiphany.

Christmas Trees are becoming more popular in Mexico, but the main/most important decoration is still the nacimiento.

Christmas Eve is known as ‘Noche Buena’ and is a family day. People often take part in the final Posada and then in the evening have the main Christmas meal. At midnight, many people go to a Midnight Mass service, known as the ‘Misa de Gallo’ (Mass of the Rooster).

Poinsettia flowers are known as ‘nochebuena’ (Christmas Eve) flowers in Mexico.

People in Mexico also celebrate ‘los santos inocentes’ or ‘Day of the Innocent Saints’ on December 28th ad it’s very like April Fools Day in the UK and USA. 28th December is when people remember the babies that were killed on the orders of King Herod when he was trying to kill the baby Jesus.
In some states in Mexico children expect Santa Claus to come on December 24th. In the south of Mexico children expect presents on January 6th at Epiphany, which is known as ‘el Dia de los Reyes’.

It’s traditional to eat a special cake called ‘Rosca de Reyes’ (Three Kings Cake) on Epiphany. A figure of Baby Jesus is hidden inside the cake. Whoever has the baby Jesus in their piece of cake is the ‘Godparent’ of Jesus for that year.

Another important day, is Candelaria (also known as Candlemas) on the 2nd February and it marks the end of the Mexican Christmas celebrations. (http://www.whychristmas.com).

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑