Mole Verde


Mole verde, or green mole, is a smoky, vegetal sauce known also as pipían in various regions across México. Its flavors are complex and layered but it's incredibly easy to make, at only 20-25 minutes active prep time and one hour inactive cook time.


An important part of any mole is blistering and blackening the chiles. Unlike mole poblano, negro and colorado, in green mole (you guessed it!) green chiles are used. Examples are hatch or anaheim, serrano, padrón, poblano, and others.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

  • 1/4 cup raw almonds, pieces or whole

  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

  • 1 to 2 serrano peppers, sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

  • 1 small white or yellow onion, sliced thinly

  • 4-5 green chilies (poblano, padron, hatch, or a blend)

  • 2 cups tomatillos, de-husked, well-rinsed and sliced

Spices

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth, or water

  • 8 -10 black peppercorns

  • 4-5 whole cloves

  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin

  • Sea salt

  • 2 tsp. hoja santa, optional


Instructions


1. In a cast iron skillet on med-high, place the fresh whole green peppers and roast until the skins begin to pop and blister. Ensure to rotate so all sides can blacken, approximately 10 minutes. No oil should be added to the pan. It should be dry so the peppers can roast and the skin has a chance to take on a smoky quality. Alternatively, you can grill the peppers whole, until the skins pop and blister. When done, remove from skillet and set aside.


2. In the same cast iron skillet on low, place all sesame seeds, almonds, and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and toast for about 3-4 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly toasted. Be cautious not to let the seeds and nuts darken too much or they can burn and become bitter. You just want them to start to release their natural oils, which is when they become fragrant. Once toasted, remove from pan and set aside.


3. In the same cast iron skillet, raise heat back to medium, add 2-3 tablespoons olive oil, onions, garlic and all the spices, including the bay leaf garlic. Stir and cook 3 minutes, until softened.


4. Then, add all the rest of the ingredients to the pan: blackened peppers, sliced tomatillos, sea salt, and stock. Simmer for approximately 45 minutes. Note: you can also add the water or stock at the end when blending to help moderate the consistency.


5. Add toasted seeds and nuts. Simmer for another 15 minutes.


6. Remove the bay leaf and cinnamon stick as well as any pepper stems you see, and carefully transfer to blender and purée until smooth.


7. [Optional] Pour into a fine mesh sieve and strain and press mole verde over a bowl. Some of the pulp from the nuts and small pieces of cloves and peppercorn will remain. This give the mole a really silky, fine texture. So if you're going for technique, this is the method to use.


Note: You can save the remaining nutty, spiced pulp and toast it in the oven on a baking sheet, to use later as a bit of crunch and texture in salads!


The resulting texture should be smooth like a fine sauce, and the smoky flavor of the peppers will shine through. The green mole makes a beautiful accompaniment to chicken, pork, breakfast eggs, or with vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes or trumpet mushrooms.

If you aren't using it right away, store in a Tupperware and freeze. When ready to use, defrost for a few hours in the refrigerator first.



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© 2020, Alexandria de Aranzeta