Mole Poblano con Cerdo

Recently I made about 7 quarts of chili for a charity event (along with 12 other cooks of various concocti). Fortunately, Janet and I snuck a couple of dinners worth out of the pot before attending the event. There was none left, especially after some folks came back for seconds.

The chili was good, but for competitive reasons, it was beef based, and we prefer lighter meats these days. So, I dragged out my much tweeked Mole* recipe, but I didn’t want chicken, so we stopped by the mobbed Fresh Market (Tuesdays are sale days.) where we bought a four pound Boston Butt.

At home I deconstructed it, removing about 10 oz of fat, and cubing the meat. It went into the following preparation:

Marinade
4 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil (Potent)
1/6 cup + 1 tbsp Chili powder (11 tsp)
2 4 oz cans Chopped Green Chilies

Mix into meat and let work 6 – 12 hours in a refrigerator in a zip bag. Massage the mix a few times through the period.

Maceration
1/4 cup White rum
1/4 cup Sultanas (Golden Raisins)
2 Cloves garlic, minced roasted
1 Sweet pepper, chopped
2 tsp Agave Nectar
2 – 4 tsp Soy Sauce
Micro-planed rind of 1 orange (Softball sized)

Mix and cover for 6 – 12 hours in reefer. Stir occasionally.

Dry spices
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
Bloom all together in hot saute pan

Sauce Base
3 Yellow Onions, (tennis ball size) chopped
1/2 tsp Salt (adjust later)
1.5 boxes Pomi brand finely chopped tomatoes or equivalent
2+ oz bitter chocolate, chopped (86% cacao, wax free, or 3 oz 60% cacao)
1/6 cup + 1 tbsp Chili powder (yes, again)
1 cup Chicken stock
1 cup Hot Coffee, black
1/4 cup finely ground unsalted toasted almonds (also provides some thickening) [From a cookie sheet full of raw almonds toasted at 325° F for 23 minutes. Must be room temp for grinding.]

[Additional Thickener
1 can drained rinsed pinto beans pureed — only if feeding a crowd. (Pureeing with a ladle of tomato sauce speeds the process and evens out the texture.)]

Putting it together.

  • Brown marinaded meat in large kettle with olive oil. It will be too damp for a deep browning. Stir from time to time.
  • While meat is browning, saute the onions to translucent.
  • When meat is browned and onions are ready, pour the sauce base ingredients into the kettle.
  • Wipe the saute pan dry, and bloom the dry spices per above.
  • Add these to the kettle along with the macerated ingredients.
  • Simmer for an hour or two, lid-on, stirring from time to time. Drain water from inside lid each time before recovering the kettle.
  • Transfer solid ingredients to crock pot.
  • Continue to simmer sauce in the kettle until reduced by half then add to crock pot.
    Crock Cook for 6 – 8 hours before serving, stir from time to time, skim fat.
  • It’s done when the meat falls apart as it sees a spoon coming.

*When I was a tween (do we still use that portmanteau word?) my widowed Grandmother, who was quite the traveler, took me and my brother to Mexico — Mexico City, Taxco, Cuernavaca, Guadalajara et. al. We binge-toured museums, climbed pyramids, hitchhiked, and hung out with a plain clothes Federale who found her interesting. The real revelation was Mexican cuisine. I was used to, and liked Tex-Mex, or Mex-Tex depending on whether the Rio Grande was west or east, but I had never had the pleasure of the symphony folklorico of flavors we encountered deep in the country.  One such symphony was my first taste of Mole Poblano. I liked it so much I asked what was in it. The adults looked embarrassed on my behalf; one simply did not ask that question. To their chagrin (I guess) I was invited into the kitchen where I was shown what went into the Mole. I snacked on fried grasshoppers while I watched a woman older than my Grandmother, with a face off a pyramid, pound and grind the ingredients while she spoke a language I could not fathom. When I asked her in Spanish, she said, “La lengua de los aztecas,” and tapped her chin.  I was hooked — on Mole and Aztec history… I had met one!

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