Mexico was the first holiday that the Other Half and I went on together. He remembers it mainly as two weeks of ensuring ready access to a lavatory but my stomach is made of famously strong stuff and so I have happy memories of fresh guacamole and salsa, bursting with chillies and lime, fish grilled on the beach, scrambled eggs with chilli and the famous mole poblano sauce. Often abbreviated to ‘the one with chilli and chocolate’, there’s so much more to this smoky, rich sauce (which is hardly surprising when you look at the long list of ingredients). Traditionally served over meat, especially turkey, in this recipe it pairs well with the salty, nutty Cheshire cheese.
Instead of the Cheshire cheese, you could use Cheddar, mozzarella or asiago. The authentic chillies can be hard to find but I ordered mine from Seasoned Pioneers. You could substitute them for more workaday ones, perhaps with some smoked paprika added in but to be honest it’s worth getting your hands on some to sniff the packet alone, let alone for the lovely smoky taste they impart. This recipe is adapted from Cookshelf Mexican by Marlena Spieler.
2tsp ground ancho chillies
2tsp crushed mulato chillies
2 dried chipotle chillies
1 onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tortilla, ripped into small pieces
Pinch of cloves
Pinch of fennel seeds
Pinch each of ground coriander, cumin and cinnamon
3 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp flaked almonds
2 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp peanut butter
450ml chicken or vegetable stock
4 tbsp grated dark chocolate
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper
250g grated Cheshire cheese
225ml chicken or vegetable stock
Sesame seeds and extra cheese to garnish
Preheat the oven to 190˚C / 170˚C fan-assisted / Gas Mark 5.
First make the mole sauce. Fry the onions, garlic and chillies in a little olive oil until the chillies have softened and the onions coloured.
Place the onion mixture in a blender with the tomatoes, tortilla, spices, tahini, almonds, raisins and peanut butter and process to combine. Add enough stock from the 450ml to make a smooth paste.
Empty the mixture into a pan and stir in the remaining stock and the chocolate (I confess that at this point I threw in a few squares of Green and Black’s Hazelnut and Currant for good measure). Heat for about 20 minutes until you have a thick, dark sauce. Season with salt, pepper and the lime juice.
Coat both sides of the tortillas in the sauce, stacking them up on a plate as you go. Sprinkle cheese into the middle of the top tortilla, roll into a sausage shape and place in a baking dish. Repeat with the other tortillas. Pour any remaining mole sauce over the top, followed by the 225ml of stock. Sprinkle with cheese and sesame seeds and bake for about 20 minutes.
Serve with a green salad or tomatoes and avocado.
Because this recipe contains Cheshire Cheese, I am posting it to the Cheese, Please! Recipe Challenge, hosted here.