Serious Eats: Recipes

Seriously Meatless: Mole Aproximado

Note: Today has turned into de facto Mole Day at Serious Eats. Earlier this morning we brought you another mole sauce recipe as part of our Serious Heat series, and as it turns out, our vegetarian columnist Michael was in a mole mindset too. Ain't no shame in that, right?

An absolutely authentic Oaxacan mole is quite an undertaking. They often include 30 or more ingredients, each of which needs advance preparation before going into the final sauce. It's best done over the course of several days.

Bottled moles from the grocery store are generally unpalatable, with little of the subtlety of the real thing. I set out to find a compromise: a delicious mole made in about an hour, part of which is simmering time while you prepare the rest of the meal.

The concept of mole is that the sauce is the main event--what it's served with is in a supporting role. The sauce therefore must be interesting enough to maintain your interest through the whole course of an entree. This one is bursting with a balanced mixture of chiles and spices, a hint of chocolate for a mildly bitter background, and orange juice for acidity. I kept the traditional final frying of the sauce in oil and slow simmer, a feature of many Mexican sauce recipes.

I served mine with simple cheese enchiladas, though it would be equally delicious with tamales or for a simpler dish, serve it with roasted sweet potatoes or fried plantains.

About the author: Michael Natkin is the author of the vegetarian blog Herbivoracious. He drops by every Wednesday to share a delicious vegetarian recipe as part of Seriously Meatless.

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