Thursday, January 2, 2014

Mole! Mole! Mole!

Good evening everyone, welcome to 2014 (boy, that’s going to take a bit to get used to). We’re kicking off the new year by entering a new realm of cooking; creating the famous Mexican sauce, mole. (Pronounced mol-eh or mol-ay, not like the subterranean mammal).

For those not familiar, mole is a traditional sauce found in many Mexican dishes. While it’s commonly found in Mexican cuisine, its definition is not common at all. In fact, there’s very little agreement in what actually constitutes mole. As such, there are variants ranging from the more common brown mole (chile based, featuring ancho chile peppers) to green and even yellow. While the makeup is different among each variety, the concept is relatively the same. A spicy (typically pepper) base is mixed with a sweetener (usually chocolate) to create a rich, savory sauce that accompanies beef, chicken or pork.

Surprisingly enough, despite our fondness for Mexican cuisine, we’ve never cooked up a traditional mole. That changes in 2014! Let’s get cooking:

The Recipe: Slow Cooker Turkey Mole
Original Recipe Found In: Food Network Magazine, December 2013 Issue

What You’ll Need:
Serves 8

15 Ounces Diced Tomatoes (Drained, if canned)
2 Large Carrots (Finely diced)
1 Green Bell Pepper (Diced)
¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro (Chopped)
4 Scallions (Chopped)
2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
1 ½ Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tablespoon Ancho Chile Powder
2 Teaspoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
½ Teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
1 Skinless, Boneless Turkey Breast
Corn Tortillas

In a large (4 to 6 quart) slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, carrots, bell pepper, cilantro, scallions, peanut butter, soy sauce, chile powder, cocoa powder and five spice powder. Stir well until everything is evenly blended before adding the turkey breast to the pot. Turn the breast in the mixture and layer it between the ingredients (if possible). Set the slow cooker to low and leave it alone for at least 8 hours.

After 8 hours, shred your turkey using a fork. (If you could only find bone-in turkey breast at your local grocer, remove the breast prior to shredding, to avoid leaving any bones behind). After the long cook, the turkey should easily fall apart. Once shredded, stir the pot well to combine all of the ingredients (time in the slow cooker can cause the liquid and solids to separate – a good stir encourages them to join forces once more).

Use a slotted spoon to serve the turkey mole into corn tortillas. Top with a bit of cilantro and scallions if you so choose. Enjoy!

The Results:

Our first foray into mole (ha, that rhymed) turned out quite well. The sauce is almost hard to define. It’s not at all spicy, despite featuring ancho chile powder, five spice powder and bell peppers – a fact that’s only possible due to the presence of peanut butter and cocoa powder. Speaking of which, you’d think these not so traditional ingredients would stand out in stark contrast to the veggies and turkey, but you’d be wrong. They blend so well you cannot even taste a hint of either in the dish.

This low calorie (362 calories per serving) mole does a nice job of creating authentic mole flavoring without fully diving into the traditional sauce and works well as a starter point for those unfamiliar with the popular base (like us). But it does leave you craving a bit more – you can tell eating this dish that the sauce could have a bit more potential if one were to embrace the traditional ingredients. However, for the low calorie trade off, you certainly can’t go wrong giving this lighter mole recipe a try.

That’s all we have for you this week. We’re back next week with a pair of brand new recipes. Until then,


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