Four people will do it justice.
Red mole is not necessarily as complex as the black stuff—no chocolate and no blend of chiles—but it's also made with oregano and thyme for a more herbaceous finish.
1. Tear the chiles into large pieces, then cook them in a dry skillet set over medium heat until lightly browned and very aromatic. Transfer them to a large bowl, cover with boiling water, and set aside for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat in a large Dutch or French oven over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring often, until wilted, about 3 minutes.
3. Push the onion and garlic to the sides of the pot, then add the meat chunks in batches, browning them well in the residual fat. As they brown, transfer them to a plate and add more until all are nicely done.
4. Take the pot off the heat. Scoop out the onion and garlic and place them in a blender or in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade. Drain the chiles in a colander set in the sink, then add them to the blender or food processor. Also add the Worcestershire sauce, thyme, oregano, cloves, pepper, and bay leaf. Blend or puree until smooth.
5. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons bacon fat in the pot set back over medium heat. Scrape the chile paste into it and fry for 3 minutes, stirring almost constantly.
6. Return the meat and any juices on the plate to the pot. Also add the broth and vinegar. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally; then cover, reduce the heat to very low, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
7. Add the plantains to the pot and continue cooking, stirring once in a while, until the meat is falling-apart tender, 1 to 1-1/2 additional hours.
More to Know
Ripe plantains are not yellow. They are quite brown, best with lots of black splotches across the skin. If the peel sticks to the flesh inside, the thing's not ripe enough and will have an unpleasant, alumlike taste that won't balance the chiles' kick.
Less to Do
As to the fat in the recipe, Bruce and I went round and round on this one. Bacon fat? Really? I asked him how many people had rendered bacon fat in their refrigerators. He said, "They should just fry up a couple of slices and make their own." Sigh. We're just lucky he didn't insist on rendered smoked pork jowl fat. If you want to cheat, use 3 tablespoons almond oil and 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (see page 28). You'll get a smoky flavor without having to fry up bacon in advance.
This page created June 2011
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