‘The Eighth Mole of The World’
What do I want to cook today? That is a constant question we ask ourselves at Culturefix. As Owner/Operators, we find ourselves wearing every hat, and with that comes time restraints but also a level of freedom to kind of do what we want. Flash back 24 hours to Cole and I sitting at the bar discussing the summer menu change. The decision was made to focus on Mexico as our food concept; shop, prep, cook, and wait for people to order food, that’s a day in the life of a cook. As the first post on the progress of our Mexican endeavor, I will focus on the least classical thing we do. Mole, a group of sauces from all over Mexico that are an amalgamation of up to 20 ingredients to create a singular flavor. There are 7 classic Moles, but I make ‘The Eighth Mole of The World’ based on three of the classic Moles. At Culturefix, we use this Mole for Enchiladas con Rajas y Queso Oaxaca (enchiladas with peppers and Oaxacan cheese) The recipe and technique are relatively simple…don’t be afraid:
8 Dried Ancho Chilies
4 Dried Pasilla Chilies
2 Dried Chili Costena
2 Dried Arbol Chilies
4 Dried Guajillo Chilies
4 Dried Chipotle Chilies
1 cup raw peanuts
1/2 cup Sunflower seeds
1 cup raisins
8 garlic cloves
6 Dried Avocado Leaves
3 Tbls Whole Cumin Seed
1 c Sesame Seed
1/4c Coriander Seed
1 pc Star Anise
1 large pc Mexican Cinnamon
1 can Whole Plum Tomatoes (28oz)
5 Allspice Berries
6 Old Tortillas
1 bottle Dark Beer (I Use an Elderberry Black Beer from Williams Brothers in Scotland)
2 qt Vegetable Stock (homemade if possible)
For the Filling:
5 Red Peppers, Sliced
5 Dark Green Anaheim Peppers, Sliced
1 Large Leek, Sliced
6 Cloves of Garlic
1.5 Lbs Oaxacan Cheese, Sliced into sticks
1 cup Queso Cotijo, grated
2 Cups Sofrito, we make our own, but you can buy it with the same results
25-40 Fresh Corn Tortillas, Depending on the size of your pan.
Preheat Oven to 400F
Start with a large sauté pan with about 5 glugs of oil heated until hot, gently fry all of the chilies to soften and remove from the oil into a clean container and cover with boiling water to soften for 20mins. Remove seeds, stems and ribs from all the chilies, place in blender, and discard soaking water. In the same hot pan with oil, fry raisins until pale and plump, add to blender. Fry peanuts and sunflower seeds until toasted, not burnt, add to blender. Chop onion and Garlic and sauté in oil and season well with salt. Once the onion and garlic are lightly browned, add the avocado leaves, cumin, sesame, coriander, anise, cloves, cinnamon and allspice, continue cooking until spices are lightly toasted and fragrant, add all to blender. Add more oil to the pan, and fry 4 tortillas until they are crisp and dark brown, not burnt, tear into pieces and add to blender. Clean your pan now, and add the tomatoes, the rest of the tortillas and the beer to the pan, cook until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce is thick, make sure to stir constantly during the last 10 minutes of this process or it will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn, add this to the blender. Puree all to a smooth paste with half of the stock, add more if its too thick. You will probably end up using most of the stock, not all. Once you have a smooth puree, pour it all into a pot large enough to hold the Mole and over low heat, cook the mole, stirring constantly for about 30 minutes. During this second cooking time, the color will change and the sauce will continue to thicken, really avoid screwing up all this hard work by burning your finished product, Mole needs attention like an insecure high school girl. Taste the Mole, one ingredient shouldn’t stand out above the others, but it will continue to change when you make your enchiladas, so don’t think you broke something…
For the Filling, cook the Leek, peppers and garlic in 1/2 oil and 1/2 butter in a large pot until sweaty looking, add sofrito and cook until it starts to stick, but not burn. Add two cups of the Mole, and scrape the bottom of the pot, remove from the heat and cool.
To Assemble, wet a very clean Kitchen towel and squeeze dry, lay all tortillas on a sheet pan and cover with the wet towel, and put in the oven at 400F for about 3 minutes.
Once tortillas are out of the oven, they will be soft and pliable and easy to roll. On your work surface, lay out the tortillas, fill each with some of the pepper mixture and a few slices of the Oaxacan Cheese, Roll like a cigar. In a Large rectangular pan, pour about 3 cups mole and spread across the bottom, add each rolled, filled tortilla to the sauce, until the entire bottom is covered in one layer. Top with more Mole until it looks like a kinda wet casserole. Top with the Queso Cotijo and Bake for about 15 Minutes until melty, and brown on top.
If pressed for a Beer or Wine pairing, I would have a few Suggestions:
Beer…if you like sour beers as we do, the Cuvee de Ranke would temper the spice and match nicely with the saltiness of the cheese.
If you want something less sour, the Apple Witbeir from Corsendonk has a great velvety mouth feel and vanilla notes that would compliment the savoriness of the enchiladas. Two great new and rare Belgian beers from our current menu, most available from either goodbeer or wholefoods.
Wine…if you like drinking wine with your Mexican food (i find this odd) then you could try and simple Vino Verde (we offer the Fuzelo) its effervescence and crisp tartness compliment most spicy dishes and will be cooling if your eating and drinking outside. Alternatively, if your tastes tend toward the more robust wines we would recommend the 2011 domaine d’ eole Rose, its bracing crispness and smooth minerality make for a nice contrasting compliment (I am aware of the oxymoronic implications) to the earthy spiciness of the enchiladas…
Taste, and eat, then taste some more…