Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mole Coloradito!

I love moles. They transcend dishes, takes you back to traditional times and places. But preparing and cooking mole, a different story.

Yes, it is a lot of work, sweating in the kitchen, back and forth, lots of pots and bowls, up and down. I'm still honing the craft, but damn, is it worth it because moles really add a flavor punch and they are quite versatile in dishes. The start to finish is a real cooking challenge, very involved using several styles of cooking. It will condition you and fine tune your cooking skills.

Here is a little history. Mole is a Nahuatl Indian word “molli” which means sauce or mixture. They vary from region to region in Mexico. The Oaxacans and Pueblans are well known for moles; brown to red to yellow to black. Moles consist of these basic ingredient groups: chiles, nuts, seeds, spices, and vegetables. It also contains Mexican chocolate. Eventhough it is spiced with cinnamon, it is not sweet and not meant to be used for dessert-type foods.

Mole coloradito is a red mole and most common here in the States. It is flavored with guajillo and ancho peppers and tomatoes.

Before you start cooking, it is best to get your prep together. The sauce is very complex and contains a lot of ingredients.

  • 9 dried guajillo chiles
  • 4 ancho chiles
  • 3 unpeeled garlic cloves
  • half a medium white onion
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 lb Roma tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoon oil
  • 1/3 cup raw pecans
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds - pepitas
  • 1/2 ripe yellow plantain
  • 4, 1/2" slices of Bolillo bread
  • 3/4 oz. Mexican drinking chocolate, I used Abuelita
  • kosher salt
  • reserved pork liquid
The prepartion of the pork is much simpler. Combine in a large pot covering with cold water by one inch:
  • 5-6 lb pork shoulder, cut in 2-3" chunks
  • 1 medium white onion, quartered
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt

 Slowly simmer the pork for two hours.

While the pork simmers, it is time to prepare the sauce. Here is where the recipes becomes a freak out in the kitchen. My hands were too tied to take pictures of the steps while cooking so I am sorry for not providing them. The process involves dehydrating dried peppers, roasting onions and garlic, toasting seeds, blitzing ingredients to make a sauce, toasting nuts, slowly simmering the puree, pots-pots-pots, straining, frying plaintains and bread slices, more blitzing, cleaning the blender........

To highlight the craziness: My cast iron skillet I used for toasting the sesame seeds was a little too hot so when I added them to the skillet, they started popping everywhere all over the oven and kitchen, I immediately took the skillet out my side door to the backyard to cool it down. After it cooled I brought it back in. I have three steps just inside my door leading to the kitchen and I tripped on step causing me to fumble the pan and the seeds to liter the kitchen floor. I cursed and cursed very loudly. Anyway, a few spills and mishaps didn't effect the dish.

After combining the pureed peppers with the nut-tomato mixure, the mole was almost complete. At the end, the chocolate and more reserved pork broth was added to round out the mole. The color was coming together very nicely.

I shredded the pork and added it to the mole and cooked it for added thickness. The final product was a satisfying mole hopefully coming close to a traditional one.

Served on warm tortillas with cilantro and fresh cut onions, the pork mole coloradito was excellent. This mole is much better the second day as everything can chill and mold together but even after cooking, it amazes.

It is a ton of work, perhaps reserved for a special occasion or to just practice your skills. Mole coloradito is becoming a challenger to my favorite 'green' mole; Pipian Verde/Salsa Verde. It is compacted with a ton of ingredients but does not request a fine palatte to enjoy.


  1. That's a pretty nice looking mole my friend. I like to use either pork ribs or neck for braises with mole but you look like you did a fine job indeed with the shoulder.

  2. Once again, nice post and great pics. But mole does not have to have chocolate to be a mole. You might like this book (and post).