Zach and I are suckers for a good mole sauce. Just a couple of weeks ago we visited Salt Lake City and ate at Red Iguana one night for dinner. We were in mole heaven! If you are ever in the Salt Lake area check out one of their restaurants. Their food is extremely affordable and absolutely delicious. Moles don’t have to be sweet, but that’s just the way Zach and I like them. Because we are on Day 6 of our 10 Days of Pumpkin series, I thought I’d give a pumpkin-ancho mole sauce a whirl. Toasted pumpkin, ancho chilies and chocolate make this sauce shine. Great on chicken OR turkey, this recipe is perfect for repurposing that turkey after Thanksgiving! I’m all about finding new and creative ways to use leftovers, and this is a great one. We paired this dish with a great, wholesome beer and we learned a few things along the way. Read ahead for more!
Some things to know about making mole sauces:
1. Traditionally mole sauces are made with day old bread. I skipped this part and added masa harina into the nut mixture instead. You can most certainly throw day old bread into the mix as a thickening agent. You will be super awesome for doing this and super authentic. I wasn’t going to go buy some just to let it “age.” I wanted mole now. =)
2. Chilies are 100% necessary for a mole sauce. Without them, the sauce is not a mole. There are ways to make it less spicy. Eliminate the fresh jalapeño and dried habanero and just use the dried ancho chilies. The dried ancho chilies have a little bit of a kick, but you should be able to handle it.
3. I would be lying to you if I said that mole sauces were easy to make. They are absolutely not easy. There are a lot of steps required. There’s a lot of concentration involved and you must learn to be patient! Mole sauces are going to differ. I find it best to taste the sauce as you make it until you get the perfect flavor. Please follow each step exactly. I like to make it earlier on in the day, let it simmer for an hour or two and then keep it warm on the stove until I’m ready to serve. It saves time later on in the day when you are preparing the rest of dinner. Since there is some grilling of chicken and rice cooking involved, I suggest doing the same. I would not suggest making this during the work week. It will make you sad and angry. This has happened to me and I’m sure it will happen again. Give yourself some time and make it on Sunday!
4. The chicken broth can be substituted for vegetable broth to make it a vegetarian dish. Of course, eliminate the chicken as well and just serve the sauce over rice. I personally love it this way. It’s THE perfect warm, Autumn dish.
5. You should be able to find Mexican chocolate in the regular grocery store. It will be in the mexican aisle and will usually come in a super cute chocolate box.
I’m kind of on a pumpkin porter kick here lately. I’m super excited that breweries are starting to brew them. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pumpkin ale, but pumpkin porters are my favorite. Alaskan’s Pumpkin Porter was just released earlier this month. It is part of their Pilot Series, and it is just divine. It’s probably one of the smoothest brews I’ve ever had. It has the warmest notes and is the perfect pairing for this mole dish. If you are feeling EXTRA bold, throw a dash or two into your sauce. Pick up a bottle the next time you hit the liquor store. It should be on the shelves!
Happy Hump Day everyone!