Sauced: Mole Verde
I was never much a fan of mole poblano, but spending two days making this incredibly complex earthy sauce changed my perspective. Still, it's not my preferred mole—I'm much more into the brighter, fresher flavor of mole verde (plus there's the added bonus that it takes only an hour or so, and not days, to put together).
I started my mole verde off by roasting and grinding pepitas—green pumpkin seeds. These were then pureed with tomatillos, chicken stock, onion, jalapeños, cilantro, epazote, romaine, and garlic to form the bright green sauce.
While I tend to default to Rick Bayless as my guide to Mexican sauces, I took a shot at developing a recipe for mole verde myself—but I did borrow his procedure of cooking down the sauce into a thick paste. This is always a messy prospect, as the bubbling sauce splatters across the kitchen the second you stop stirring, but the added intensity of flavor this step creates is well worth it. Once reduced into a semi-thick paste, more chicken stock was added to bring the sauce to its final silky state.
This mole verde breathed new life into rather flavorless poached chicken. The cilantro defined the fresh flavor, while the pepitas added a little nuttiness, the tomatillos a bit of tartness, and the jalapeños a slight heat. It retained the complexity you might think of when you hear the word "mole," but in an almost completely opposite flavor profile—one that I find more attractive.
About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.