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Recipe of the Week

Detail of Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

Caramel Apple-Almond Crepes

A great dish for dessert or breakfast, these filled crepes are quick and easy to make, full of wonderful flavor, and make any occasion special.

Mole Poblano

A Mole in Mexican cooking is not a furry little rodent. The word "Mole" is derived from the Aztec word "Molli" which means "sauce", "mixture", "concoction," or "stew." Many people consider Mole to be a Mexican chocolate sauce served over dishes, but that actually is only the first and most well known of the Mole sauces. Every area of Mexico has its own variety of Mole sauce that it is renowned for, and every cook seems to have a "special" Mole sauce.

The most famous Mole, Mole Poblano or Mole Poblano de Guajolote is a ceremonial complex dish with almost one hundred ingredients. The dish has been traced back to the 1600's and is believe to be the special creation of a Dominican nun. The mixture of nuts, vegetables, seeds, peppers, and traditionally toasted and ground cacao beans has been recreated thousands of times and is the sauce you will most likely receive when you order Mole Poblano in a restaurant. The secret to a good Mole is not only the unique mixture of ingredients, but also the length of time the sauce sits. The longer the flavors are allowed to blend and mellow, the better the sauce tastes.

I have streamlined a Mole that still has a traditional flavor and taste, but without using extremely hard to find ingredients. However, this recipe may require a stop at a specialty store for the peppers and chocolates. You can use any mixture of the hot peppers listed below, but it is better balanced with a large variety. You can also add a habanero or serrano pepper for more heat if desired. If you cannot find Mexican chocolate you can use a high quality unsweetened baking chocolate with excellent results.

4 Mulato chiles, deveined and seeded
4 Ancho chiles, deveined and seeded
4 Guajillo chiles, deveined and seeded
4 Pasilla chiles, deveined and seeded
1 large onion, quartered
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup peanuts
1 ripe plantain, peeled and sliced
1 slice bread, cubed
3 large corn tortillas, torn into pieces
1/4 cup sesame or pumpkin seeds
16 ounces canned whole tomatoes
1 chunk Abuelita chocolate (about 3 1/2 ounces)
1/4-1 cup chicken broth

In a large heavy skillet or wok heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Fry each ingredient individually (except for the broth) until soft, toasted, or fragrant. Be sure not to burn any of the ingredients. Add more oil as needed. As each item is cooked, remove from the pan and place in a large bowl. Cook the tomatoes and chocolate together to make sure the chocolate does not burn. Mix together the sautéed ingredients well. Puree the mixture in small batches in a blender or food processor, adding enough chicken broth to form a smooth but thick sauce. Place the pureed mixture in a crockpot. Cook the mixture on the lowest setting for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has taken on a very dark rich red brown color it is finished. The sauce should be quite thick. Serve over chicken, turkey, pork, rice, or other Mexican dishes.

Makes 6 servings.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes

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