Mole del chile verde
After spending several weeks trying to get the boy I like to pay attention to me, I finally got hard-core rejected. Sucks, yeah, but not a surprise. I also conveniently know how to deal with it, being well-versed in self pity.
Oh, woe is me, yadda yadda, get on with it.
The first thing to do, obviously, is go to the movies. Unfortunately the only movie I wanted to see last weekend was Star Trek, which my friends were all going to see with their boyfriends on cute-nerdy-dates. A solo showing of the fantabulous film did indeed provide a welcome distraction, but it wasn’t quite enough.
Step two: listen to weepy music.
There’s an old Mexican song that I learned as a teenager, ridiculously sad like most ballads, and that’s probably why I like it. The narrator, singing to a mythical tragic figure “La Llorona” (the Weeping Woman) remarks:
Yo soy como el chile verde, Llorona,
Picante pero sabroso.
I’m like the green chile, Llorona,
Spicy, but delicious.
Spicy but tasty, that’s awesome. I’ve been feeling more amarga this week than picante, so it’s time to get back in touch with my inner chile verde.
Containing, among a dozen or so other ingredients, mole with chile verde is the perfect step three to “Amarga Reduction Strategy” currently in effect for Thea. I can’t eat mole in restaurants due to a rather strong peanut allergy; it’s damned hard to find a peanut-free mole unless you make it yourself. A perfectly acceptable solution to this problem is to make it en casa. Solita.
Mole is the sort of thing that you can’t just whip up. There are a ton of ingredients to be fried, ground, toasted, blended, simmered, seared and strained over the course of many hours. It fills the entire surrounding space with a warm spiciness that is inescapable. It swaths you in layers of spice and flavor as you negotiate the perfect balance of chiles, toasty nuts and tortillas and layered spices, tasting every once in a while as the flavors mellow and change.
The best thing to do is to turn the music up loud and just get started. Two Saturdays ago that’s exactly what I did after consulting the previous three or four recipes I continue to refine for traditional mole poblano, the dark reddish-brown wonderfulness common on menus everywhere. My standard version filled a nearly summery evening with activity and left me with several quarts of deliciousness to put in the freezer for later.
But apparently the standard version of Thea isn’t working. I’m trying to break out of the one-sided cyclical non-relationships that seem to be the only thing I know how to do.
Stardate: 2009.5.09. Leave movies and swing by WholeFoods for a kitchen resupply including lots of different spicy green things necessary for a different kind of mole. Work has been so crazy lately that the supplies sat in the fridge a whole week before I had an entire afternoon to myself for mole-making.
Today, after another disappointing weekend I woke up with a mission: I will make green mole, and it will be delicious. Rick Bayless provided the structure to the recipe, and the awesome dry goods guys from Sahadi’s the toasted and roasted nuts. A chilly wind blew through the grey clouds outside, but I cared not. I was busy blending golden raisins and sesame seeds, roasting tomatillos and concentrating on spice ratios. I didn’t check email or look at my phone all day. After the sun set it was finally time to finish the process and cook the final sauce. I haven’t made this particular mole before—I love the bittersweet red sauce so much that it’s hard to force myself to try something different, but I had high hopes.
Over the hottest burner on the stove went the heavy-duty dutch oven and a little oil. I impatiently held a bowl full of mint-colored puree above the heating oil, waiting for a drop to sizzle on contact so I could dump the whole thing into the fiery pot and turn into something delicious. Then, on my second try the green droplets popped and crackled with appropriate alacrity. Well, here it goes—all in!
The textured green mole sloshed into the bottom of the pot, sizzling as it covered the bottom completely. A few moments later, as gloppy bubbles appeared all around, a new smell filled the kitchen—a fresh tangy smell with an underlying toasty subtleness. It worked! As the mole cooked down and thickened into a glossy sauce, I tested the seasoning and was pleasantly surprised with the result. It doesn’t have the fiery heat or the bitter undertones of the classic mole, but still holds layers of intriguing flavors. The core flavor of roasted poblanos shines through, and the acidic tang of the tomatillo brings out the flavor of the green chile Instead of being hidden among other stronger flavors of red mole, the poblano is the star of the green mole.
Picante, pero sabroso, exactly like I wanted. If I could just duplicate that in my real life, then everything would be perfect. In the meantime, I will close out to Lila Down’s ode to mole and leave it at that.
A mi me gusta el mole, mi Soledad me va a moler.
Mi querida Soledad me va a guisar un molito.
Por el cielo de Montealban, de noche sueño contigo.