For this Valentine’s Day I decided that I wanted to make something spicy and sweet (with chocolate in the dish of course), so mole it was. As we mentioned in another recent post, a few years ago we visited Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill and chowed down on some delicious Oaxacan Mole. It was perhaps one of the best things I have ever tasted and was definitely the best mole sauce I have ever had, which is a lot to say since growing up on the border I have had lots of homemade mole. While I didn’t want to tackle Rick’s amazing dish step by step, I decided to vegan-ize it and just go with my gut instinct and make my own loosely based on the chef’s recipe. I also added some chorizo mashers and an avocado citrus salad to make this one sexy meal.
Mole sauce ingredients:
- 4 ancho chile peppers
- 1 can of chipotle peppers
- 1 poblano pepper
- 1 corn tortilla
- 1/4 cup peanuts
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 white onion
- 8-10 cloves of garlic
- 8-10 tomatillos
- 1/2 of a large banana
- 1/4 golden raisins
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp butcher’s pepper
- 1/2 tsp mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp vegan buttery spread (Earth Balance)
- 3 oz Mexican chocolate
Making the Sauce
So it definitely seems like a daunting list of ingredients but not to worry here’s the how to. Begin by preheating an oven to 425 degrees. Place the onion (whole in the skin), garlic (whole in skin), and poblano on a baking sheet and into the oven. Cook/roast them until the onion is soft and oozy, the garlic is soft and slightly brown on the skin, and the pepper is brown and the skin puffed.
On a separate baking sheet place the tomatillos in the oven. You want to roast the tomatillos until they begin to brown. Once they are roasted, remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
While the onion, and its friends, are roasting away remove the stem and deseed the ancho chiles. Keep the seed and set them aside. Place the remaining chiles in a bowl of water to rehydrate them (it will take 15-25 minutes). Tear up the tortilla into small bits. In a dry skillet over medium heat toast the ancho seeds and tortillas until they are mostly burnt. Rinse the seeds and tortilla bits off in fine mesh strainer. Put them in a small food processor and grind them.
In the same skillet, or a different one, toast the sesame seeds, peanuts, and pecans. Get a nice brown on all sides. Add the seeds and nuts to the food processor along with 1/2 cup of veggie stock and puree. Set aside.
Once your onion, pepper, and garlic are done, remove from the oven and set aside. Put the poblano in a paper bag to steam and cool for few minutes (10 at most). Remove the poblano from the bag. Remove the skin, stem, and seeds and chop. In the same food processor add the canned chipotles (just take them out of the sauce, don’t add all the sauce), the rehydrated ancho chiles (remove them from the water), the poblano, and 1/2 cup veggie stock and puree. NOTE: if you want to cut the heat of this dish don’t use a whole can of chipotles, cut back a bit. I just like things spicy. Set the puree aside.
Remove the skin from the onion and garlic. Quarter the onion or give it a rough chop. Core the tomatillos. Add the garlic, onion, cloves, oregano, pepper, thyme, banana, raisins, tomatillos, and 1/2 cup of veggie stock to a blender and puree. NOTE: you can also cut down the cloves a bit if you’re not a fan of that sort of Jamaican all-spice taste.
Once all the purees have been made, heat up a pot or very very large sauce pan to medium heat. Melt the butter spread and add the seed/nut puree. Cook it for a while until it starts to brown a little bit more. Add the tomatillo mixture and cook for another additional 3-5 minutes. Add the chipotle mixture and a bring the pot to a slight boil (if you are scared about the heat, you can also just cut back the amount of pepper puree you put in this step). Add the chocolate. Reduce the heat to low and stir while the chocolate melts.
Preparing the seitan with the mole sauce
- 1 package of seitan (we used Mama Mo Foods Fajita strips)
- 1/2 purple onion cut into strips
- 1 tbsp buttery spread
Heat a large pan to medium heat. Add and melt the butter in the pan. Add the onion strips to the butter. Cook until they caramelize. Add the seitan and cook until it begins to brown. Add about 2-3 cups of the mole sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook for a bout 5-10 minutes in the sauce, reduce heat and serve.
This recipe makes enough mole sauce for several meals or one giant feast. There is also enough seitan for at least 4 folks. So be prepared to have leftovers if you’re cooking for two.