Recipes | Thomasina Miers' Mole Amarillo

Recipes

Thomasina Miers' Mole Amarillo

To celebrate Day of the Dead - or maybe even Bonfire Night - here's a fabulous warming spicy Mexican stew for 10 from Thomasina Miers' Wahaca: Mexican food at Home.

Tommi writes: "We first tried this yellow mole outside Oaxaca’s 20 de Noviembre market, where it was mixed with shredded chicken plus a little corn dough and stuffed inside tortillas, baked into empanadas and served with the outrageously hot chile de agua and onion relish.

We tried it again a few days later at the house of one of our mezcal suppliers; his wife cooked it outside over an open fire and fed fourteen of us; it was so good that some actually wept!

It is not a complicated sauce to make, although I have substituted the chillies they use in Oaxaca for ones more readily available in Britain. I dream about putting this on the Wahaca menu. It is such a wonderfully rich, homely tasting stew.

Feeds at least 10, but freezes beautifully

Time: about 90 minutes

1 onion

2–3 garlic cloves

2–3 bay leaves

sea salt

450g neck of pork, cut into 2–3cm dice

1 large chicken, jointed into 8 pieces

450g new potatoes, cut into chunks

1 large acorn or butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks

450g green beans, cut in half

1 cauliflower, broken into florets

hot tortillas or steamed rice, to serve

For the mole:

6 guajillo chillies

2 ancho chillies

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

8 cloves

10 allspice berries

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 large onion, quartered

2 large tomatoes

5 garlic cloves, unpeeled

1 x 790g tin tomatillos, drained

small bunch of fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican

40g lard

2 tablespoons masa harina

small handful of tarragon, chopped

Fill a large pan with water and add the onion, garlic and bay leaves, season with salt and bring to simmering point. Simmer gently for 10 minutes before adding the pork pieces. Simmer very gently for a further 15 minutes before adding the chicken pieces. Cook for 15 minutes before turning off the heat and leaving to cool.

To make the mole, toast and rehydrate the chillies (there's a useful step-by-step guide here), soaking them for 20 minutes. Now toast all the spices in the dry frying pan until they smell fragrant, about 5–10 minutes. Grind to a powder, then transfer to a blender.

Add the onion, tomatoes and garlic to the pan and dry roast, as described below*. Transfer to the blender as they cook, remembering to slip off the garlic skins. Drain the chillies and add them to the blender with the drained tomatillos and oregano and whiz for 5 minutes to a smooth purée.

Heat the lard in a pan and, when very hot, add the purée, stirring all the time to prevent it spitting. Turn the heat down and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Thin the masa harina with just enough of the chicken stock to make a smooth paste, then add to the mole. Stir in 2 cups of the stock, add the tarragon and cook for 15 minutes over a low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Meanwhile cook the vegetables. Fill a pan with water, add a teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender. Remove with a slotted spoon then add the squash and cook until just tender. Remove with the slotted spoon then cook the beans and cauliflower in the same way, removing each when they still have a slight bite. Do not overcook or they will turn to mush in the stew.

Drain the meat and add to the mole. Heat through, adding more stock if necessary. About 5 minutes before serving add all the vegetables to heat through. Serve the stew in shallow bowls making sure everyone gets a piece of chicken and pork and some of the vegetables. Serve with hot tortillas or, if you prefer, with rice.

Note: Traditionally a plant called hoja santa is used in this recipe. If you can get hold of it finely shred 3 large leaves and add them in place of the tarragon. Mexican chillies and tomatillos are widely available now - you can also buy them online from the Cool Chile Co or from Otomi in Bristol which also has a shop in the Clifton Arcade.

* Place a heavy-bottomed frying pan over a high heat and add the onions, tomatoes and garlic, leaving the skins on. Turn the ingredients while they are roasting so they are charred all over. Tomatoes take about 15 mins, onions about 10 and garlic 5-10 minutes.

What to drink: Personally I'd go for a beer like a golden or amber ale or lager with this dish or even a dark Mexican beer like Negro Modelo. Otherwise a rich chardonnay should match well or a syrah, grenache or tempranillo if you prefer a red.

Recipe taken from Wahaca – Mexican Food at Home by Thomasina Miers, published by Hodder & Stoughton, £20. © Thomasina Miers, 2012


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