Note: On Wednesdays, Andrea Lynn, senior editor of Chile Pepper magazine, drops by with Serious Heat.
What is it about the smoky pep of a chile combined with the rich goodness of dark chocolate? The duo doesn't necessarily have to be saved for dessert either. Welcome to the wonders of mole! There are many types of mole sauce--combos include a variety of chiles, garlic, onion and spices, sometimes with a little chocolate snuck in. Pumpkin seeds, raisins, and plantains can also make their way into the smooth, flavorful sauce.
This recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, The New Steak by Cree LeFavour, is so good that the first time I made it, I had to use restraint not to lick the plate clean. It proves yet again that chiles and chocolate are a dreamy combination.
- 1 dried pasilla chile, seeded and chopped (reserve the seeds)
- 2 chipotles in adobo, seeded and chopped
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 ounce dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup almonds, toasted
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- 2 shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
Rehydrate the pasilla chile by pouring boiling water over it, and allowing it to soak for half an hour.
When you're ready to make the sauce, pull the chile open and seed it. Chop coarsely and put in a blender or food processor with the chipotles, black beans, chocolate, almonds and salt. Blend, adding the stock slowly, allowing the blades to do their work as the sauce things out.
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan, and gently sauté the garlic and shallots over low heat. Once they're soft, add them to the blended chocolate-chile mix, and blend again.
Transfer the sauce to a saucepan, and simmer for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it to avoid scalding because the chocolate and nuts are delicate.
The sauce should have a subtle but definite heat and enough salt to bring out the diverse flavors. If the sauce needs to be spicier, add some of the reserved chile seeds or add a low-acid hot sauce such as Marie Sharp's.