Mexican Mole
(Adapted from Los Abeles restaurant and Alicia McLerry)

This mole recipe makes an intense, rich sauce which can be used as an accompanyment to chicken, pork, enchiladas etc...
Makes 10 to 12 cups Ingredients 1 pound ancho chiles, seeds removed 1/2 pound guajillo chiles 1/2 pound dried cascabel chiles 6 cups hot water 1/2 cup sesame seeds 1/2 cup peanuts 1/2 cup whole blanched almonds 1/2 cup pecans 1/2 cup raisins 1 onion, 1/2-inch-thick slices 6 garlic cloves (or more!) 1 tablespoon peanut oil 1 1/2 green plantains, 1" pieces 1 large corn tortilla 2 pounds tomatoes 1 pound tomatillos 1 cinnamon stick 4 whole black peppercorns 4 whole cloves 3 slices (1") French bread, toasted 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1 disk Ibarra Mexican chocolate (Dutch chocolate is also very good and adds more sweetness)

1) In a large dry skillet toast ancho, guajillo, and cascabel chiles in batches(over medium heat) until fragrant but not burned (2 to 3 minutes). Transfer to a large bowl, add 6 cups hot water, and let soak for 1 hour.

2) In the same dry skillet, toast sesame seeds, shaking pan, until golden brown and fragrant (~3 minutes). Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat process with peanuts, almonds, and pecans. Add raisins to skillet, and cook for about 30 seconds (kind of dry. gummy texture). Add to bowl with nut mixture.

3) Raise heat to medium-high, and add onions and garlic. Cook until slightly charred; add to bowl with the nuts.

4) In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add plantains, and cook until golden; add to bowl with nut mixture.

5) Place tortilla directly over a medium flame, turning it until blackened. Add to bowl with nut mixture.

6) Parboil: bring large pot of water to a boil. Add tomatoes; cook for 3 minutes - use a slotted spoon to transfer to bowl with the nut mixture. Add tomatillos; cook for 3 minutes - use a slotted spoon to transfer to bowl with nut mixture.

7) In a large stockpot, cook cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and cloves over medium heat until fragrant, 10 to 20 seconds. Add the soaked chiles with their liquid, the nut mixture, the bread, thyme, and oregano. Remove from heat.

8) Puree batches in a blender. Strain through a medium sieve into a stockpot. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 2 hours (or longer). Add chocolate, stirring, until completely melted.

NOTE: This makes a very intensely spicy mole. The heat is broad and very rich. The aggregate two pounds of dried chiles in step number one can be reduced to suit taste.

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