Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mole Negro Pork with Calabacitas

So far it has been a cold winter and that obviously is making me think about the warm weather months (not many here in Wisconsin). And good, authentic Mexican cuisine is perfect for summer so I'm planning that this meal with mentally transport me to the summer hot air.

I've made moles on this blog before but have never attempted Negro Mole. Moles are basically a sauce that is popular in central Mexico and Oaxaca. Main ingredients consists of chipotles and ancho/pasilla peppers mixed in with spices, tomatoes, and garlic. The state of Oaxaca is known as the "state of seven moles" and one of those is Negro Mole. It is a dark, thick, and rich mole that includes Mexican chocolate. I just like the sound of the it and I'm sure it will taste even better.

Screw the snow and the cold, lets make negro mole.

Pork Loin:

  • 3 canned chipotles in adobo
  • 3 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1⁄2 cup corn oil
  • 1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • salt/pepper, to taste
  • 3 lbs. pork loin, trimmed
Marinate the pork:

In a blender, purée the chipotles with their sauce, oil, vinegar, chile powder, oregano, honey, and garlic until smooth and season with salt/pepper. Put pork into a plastic bag and pour sauce over pork. Refrigerate overnight.

Negro Mole:
  • 1 large tomatillo, stemmed, rinsed, and quartered
  • 1 small tomato, cored and halved
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup corn oil
  • 6 pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 plantain, cut into cubes
  • 1⁄4 cup peanuts, plus more crushed for garnish
  • 1⁄4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1⁄4 cup raisins
  • 2 1⁄2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 oz. Mexican chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 slice white bread, toasted and crumbled
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  •  brown sugar, to taste
  • 6 sprigs cilantro, for garnish
Set oven to broil. Toss tomatillos, tomatoes, and onions with 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl and transfer to a baking sheet. Broil for about 15 minutes, turning over about half way through. Transfer charred vegetables to a large bowl and set aside.

Toast chiles until dark and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer chiles to a bowl and cover with 3 cups boiling water; set aside to let soften for 15 minutes. Drain chiles, reserving 1⁄2 cup soaking liquid; set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add plantain and cook until browned, 2 minutes. Add peanuts and sesame seeds and cook, stirring frequently, until browned, 3 minutes. If your pan is too hot, the sesame seeds will explode and pop out of the pan.
Add remaining ingredients: raisins, the tomatillo mixture, and the chiles with reserved soaking liquid, chicken broth, chocolate, oregano, cinnamon, and bread. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from heat. Allow yourself to take in the mesmerizing aromas from the mole. Bits of chocolate, the sting of the peppers, and the tickle of the cinnamon will fill your nose. Working in batches, purée the chile mixture in a blender to make a smooth mole.

Add mole to a pan set on medium heat and cook, whisking frequently, until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and brown sugar. Dip a tasting spoon in there and get a taste.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 400˚. Remove pork from marinade and season lightly with salt. Transfer pork to a rack set in a roasting pan. Cook the pork, flipping once, until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of pork reads 150˚, about 45 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Slice the pork loin and arrange over mole and garnish with peanuts and cilantro.

My chosen side for the pork was calabacitas. It is basically a squash and/or zucchini dish that includes onions, peppers, corn, potatoes, etc. It is a good vegetarian option for tacos/burritos. I used potatoes, corn, zucchini, and onions that were sauted in a pan and seasoned with salt/pepper.

Great, great meal. The mole has a lot of flavor and you can taste almost each ingredient that makes it. Not too spicy or hot, it pairs well with the pork and the calabacitas. Moles are fun to make, sure it takes time and different types of cooking techniques but the final product is worth it.

The marinade for the pork really enchanced the loin. Pork loin is bland on its own so it is essential to marinade it.

The peanut garnish added a nice crunch to the dish. I always need a crunch element in a meal and these little unsalted buddies did the job.

And yes, negro mole pork put me in a mindset of summer time but it only lasted a little while. I'll take it though.

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