Monday, July 5, 2010
I am obsessed with moles sauces, and determined that one day, before I die, I will find the perfect recipe for mole...and I will make it!
Moles are the great sauces of Mexico, richly spiced and complex. The misinformed refer to mole (pronounced MOH-lay) as "that Mexican chocolate sauce." Although chocolate is indeed an ingredient in some moles - if cooked properly, only a mysterious hint remains when the sauce is served over turkey, chicken, seafood, pork or roasted vegetables such as potatoes.
Mole can be best defined as a thick, homogeneous sauce with complex flavors. This distinguishes it from most Mexican salsas which have a thinner consistency, are often raw, and contain fewer ingredients (usually nothing more than tomato, onion, garlic and chili pepper) in still-identifiable chunks.
The most common way to consume mole is over chicken, but at least one legend indicates that the sauce was traditionally served with turkey. Turkey predates the introduction of chicken to Mexico by the Spanish and so turkey is the meat of choice in restaurants that specialize in pre-Hispanic cooking. Other kinds of meat may also be served with mole sauce. Another preparation, more common in restaurants, is enmoladas (corn tortillas wrapped around chicken, cheese or some other simple filling) baked in mole sauce.
Because of the labor-intensive nature of mole, when prepared at home it is most often made in large batches on special occasions, such as religious holidays, birthdays or weddings.
The most popular kinds come from the Mexican states of Puebla and Oaxaca, and there is an annual national competition in the town of San Pedro Atocpan in the Milpa Alta borough of Mexico's Federal District, on the southern outskirts of Mexico City. Oaxaca has been nicknamed the "Land of the Seven Moles."
In Guatemala, "mole" refers to a dessert composed of fried or boiled chunks of plantain in a chocolate/spice sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Posted by Carol Stafford McNeill at 12:45 PM