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Black Mole / Mole Negro and Juanito’s Tour of Oaxaca

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Mole reminds me of our tour guide in Oaxaca.  His name was Juanito.

Juanito was in his late 70’s. White mustache, worn jeans and cowboy shirt. Demure, tired, smart, alive, happy and loved his job.

We visited 6 different churches in Oaxaca.  He knew anything and everything about them.  He
explained their gilded walls, details of ornate statues, how many diamonds adorned the Virgin of Solitude’s crown, and pointed out every asymmetrical tower and solid wall to withstand earthquakes.

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Santo Domingo Church

For lunch, Juanito took us to a modest restaurant.  We walked in and the restaurant’s owner sat us in a long communal wooden table in the back outdoor area.  Juanito was quiet and tiredly walked to what seemed to be his customary spot, a small table for one near a poinsettia bush.

No picture taking was allowed from this point on.  We faced three large (what seemed to be) fire pits in front of us, each with a woman at its side. One of the ladies was making tortillas and white rice, the second and third concentrated on preparing mole as they meticulously stirred and stirred.

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Part of Juanito’s tour:  Alebrije Sculpture

As Juanito was being served, he waved his hand to the woman pouring his mole sauce over his rice.  “Just sauce and rice, no silverware.  I’ll eat my mole scooping it with tortillas, like the real Oaxacans do it.”…

Juanito and this trip opened up my eyes in every way possible and I can’t wait to go back. I miss Mexico’s music, colors, people, art, simple walks down the street and serene beauty.   I want to live my life with just mole, rice and tortillas.  Just like Juanito.

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One of the Aguilar Sisters threading marigolds.
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Aguilar sisters famous clay sculptures

Black Mole

Ingredients
4 pieces of chicken (drumsticks and breasts)
4 cups water
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup raisins
½ cup sesame seeds + 1 tablespoon for garnish
½ cup peanuts
½ cup pecans
1 tablet Mexican chocolate
1 banana, mashed
1 tomato, chopped
½ yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
3.5 oz dried guajillo chili, deveined and seeded, roughly chopped
3.5 oz dried pasilla chili, deveined and seeded, roughly chopped
salt to taste

Boil chicken in water for 25 minutes or until fully cooked. Set aside and save liquid.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chili skins, raisins, sesame seeds, peanuts, and pecans. Fry for 5 minutes stirring rapidly.

Add tomato, onion, garlic and stir for another 5 minutes.

Add banana, 2 cups of liquid from boiled chicken breasts and chocolate tablet. Stir and incorporate all ingredients until chocolate tablet melts. Cook for 10 more minutes on medium to low heat.

Add the rest of chicken stock and place in blender. Blend until mixture is smooth. Run sauce through a strainer.

To plate: Place chicken on plate and pour mole sauce on top. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Enjoy with a side of white rice.

Serves 2-4

Otra vez…en español!

Mole me recuerda a nuestro guía turístico en Oaxaca. Su nombre era Juanito.

Juanito estaba en su década de los 70. Bigote blanco, jeans gastados y camisa de vaquero. Recatado, cansado, inteligente, vivo, feliz y amaba su trabajo.

Visitamos 6 de diferentes iglesias de Oaxaca. Él sabía todo acerca de ellas. Nos
explicaba sobre las paredes de la iglesia doradas, los detalles de estatuas ornamentales, cuántos diamantes adornaban la corona de la Virgen de la Soledad, y señaló todas las torres asimétricas y las paredes sólidas para resistir terremotos.

A la hora de comer, Juanito nos llevó a un modesto restaurante. En cuanto entramos, el dueño nos sentó a todos en una larga mesa de madera común al interior del restaurante y al aire libre. Juanito estaba en silencio y con paso cansado se dirigió a lo que parecía ser su lugar habitual, una pequeña mesa  hacia un rincón a un lado de un arbusto de flor noche buena.

No nos permitían tomar fotos desde ese momento. En frente de nuestra mesa había  tres grandes (lo que parecía ser) pozos de fuego en frente de nosotros, cada uno con una mujer a su lado. Una de las señoras estaba haciendo tortillas y arroz blanco, la segunda y tercera señora  se concentraban en la preparación de mole ya que meticulosamente se revolvían las ollas.

Cuando le servían a Juanito, movio la mano a la mujer vertiendo su mole sobre el arroz. “Sólo la salsa y el arroz, no cubiertos. Comeré con tortillas, como todo un buen oaxaqueño.”…

Juanito y ese viaje me abrió los ojos de todas las maneras posibles y no puedo esperar a volver a visitar. Echo de menos la música de México, los colores, la gente, el arte, simples paseos por la calle y  su serena belleza. Quiero vivir mi vida con tan sólo mole, arroz y tortillas. Al igual que Juanito.

Mole Negro

Ingredientes
4 piezas de pollo (muslos o pechuga)
4 tazas de agua
¼ taza de aceite vegetal
½ taza de pasas
½ taza de semillas de ajonjolí  + 1 cucharada para aderezo
½ taza de cacahuates
½ taza de nueces
1 tableta de chocolate mexicano
1 plátano, machucado
1 tomate picado
½ cebolla amarilla, cortada en pedazos
2 dientes de ajo, cortados en cubitos
3.5 oz chile guajillo seco, desvenado y sin semillas, picado en trozos grandes
3.5 oz chile pasilla seco, desvenado y sin semillas, picado en trozos grandes
sal a gusto

Hierva el pollo en agua por 25 minutos o hasta que esté completamente cocido. Ponga a un lado y guarde el  líquido.

Caliente el aceite en una sartén antiadherente grande a fuego medio-alto. Añada  los chiles, pasas, semillas de ajonjolí, cacahuates y las nueces. Friar durante 5 minutos, revolviendo rápidamente.

Agregue el tomate, la cebolla, el ajo y revuelva durante 5 minutos.

Añada el plátano, 2 tazas de caldo de pollo y una tableta de chocolate. Revuelva e incorpore  todos los ingredientes hasta que la tableta de chocolate se derrita. Cocine por 10 minutos más a fuego medio lento.

Añada el resto del caldo de pollo y coloque en la licuadora. Mezcle hasta que la esté suave. Pase la  salsa por un colador.

Para servir:   Coloque el pollo en un plato y vierta la salsa de mole en la parte superior. Decore con semillas de sésamo.

Disfrute con arroz blanco.

Rinde 2-4porciones

  • Mercedes @BeChicMagAugust 30, 2011 - 11:29 am

    Such a rich culture! And I think I want some of the mole now.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Quinones FontanezAugust 30, 2011 - 11:40 am

    Amazing photos! Mole – it's on my 'foods to try' list :)ReplyCancel

  • New York ChicaAugust 30, 2011 - 12:01 pm

    You know I never had mole. I always cringe of the thought of having chocolate with savory dishes. But I've heard it's delicious so I have to brave it out and try it one day. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Sujeiry, 1st Lady of LoveAugust 30, 2011 - 12:53 pm

    Haha. The photo is Juanito cracked me up.

    Like New York Chica, I have also never had mole. Not a very Dominican dish. But great recipe!ReplyCancel

  • rachelAugust 30, 2011 - 4:34 pm

    i LOVE these pictures. You know, I tried mole for the first time only about a year ago. On a chip. It's delicious. I had no idea!ReplyCancel

  • Yvonne CondesAugust 30, 2011 - 7:29 pm

    Beautiful pictures!! I love mole and can't wait to try this recipe. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Presley's PantryAugust 30, 2011 - 8:47 pm

    What a GORGEOUS post! I can't wait to try this MOLE! So happy we are friends…. :)ReplyCancel

  • ValentinaAugust 30, 2011 - 10:08 pm

    Yum! And what beautiful, vibrant images!ReplyCancel

  • ErickaAugust 31, 2011 - 6:54 am

    Thank you Ladies! @Presley's Pantry: I'm SO glad we are friends too ;)ReplyCancel

  • The Wise Latina ClubSeptember 3, 2011 - 11:40 am

    My LOVES combined: your posts which are visually gorgeous and MOLE! I discovered this dish before moving to Mexico City and gorged on as many types of this sultry sauce while I lived there in 1999-2000. Black mole is my favorite and you've broken down an intimidating dish. ¡Move over, Doña María!ReplyCancel

  • Maura at The Other Side of The TortillaSeptember 5, 2011 - 7:44 pm

    Ericka, we are kindred spirits for sure. I often think about running away to Mexico and never coming back. One question because I definitely intend to make your mole negro: is it an actual banana you use or a platano macho? I've never made a mole with banana in it before, so I want to be sure to get your recipe right!ReplyCancel

  • Carla @ All of Me NowSeptember 5, 2011 - 7:47 pm

    So talented, amiga. Your photos are gorgeous and your food always looks incredible. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • ErickaSeptember 5, 2011 - 8:59 pm

    @Maura: A regular banana will do ;)ReplyCancel

  • [...] Ericka from Nibbles and Feasts ~  For me to be a Mexican-Born American means that I have a tremendous history behind me.  It enables me to offer my blog readers recipes associated with colorful stories, full of vivid memories of my childhood while growing up in Mexico one day and a story and recipe that reflects my current life in the United States another day.  As a bi-cultural, bilingual American, it gives me great pride to be part of the wonderful mixture of the many nationalities, backgrounds and cultures that make up this country.  The richness of my heritage has made me the person that I am today.  Ericka celebrates with Mole Negro [...]ReplyCancel

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