Black Mole Surf and Turf

This recipe is no joke… I had a rare Saturday off and decided to take on an epic challenge. Twenty nine ingredients, about three and a half hours cook time (for the sauce alone!)… Have you guessed it? For the first time today, I attempted an Black Mole. Not knowing anything about moles, I turned to the Monarch Mole: Rick Bayless.  In fact, as I was headed out to buy the ingredients, I tweeted… not expecting it to be much help… but about half way through the cooking, I checked my phone to see this!



How awesome is that?! A world renowned chef took time out of his Saturday to "speak" to me! It occured to me that I was spending all day making a sauce that I would use about two tablespoons of on the final plate… Would it be worth the time and effort? It was… this recipe is LIFE CHANGING! Here’s how I got there.



I took a look at his recipe made famous when he won Top Chef Masters Season 1. This gave me a list of ingredients and a basic outline of the technique. I took a few liberties with the recipe like using part black sesame seeds and honey instead of sugar… here is what I came up with.


Black Mole Sauce Ingredients:

  • 85g Mulato Chili.
  • 64g Pasilla Chili.
  • 14g Guajillo Chili.
  • 1 Corn Tortilla.
  • 25g Prepared Masa.
  • 15g Blue Corn Meal.
  • 2g Salt.
  • 35-40g Warm Water.
  • 1/4" Slice large white onion.
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, unpeeled.
  • 2 Cups Lard (For frying).
  • 35g Black Sesame Seeds (1/4 Cup).
  • 35g White Sesame Seeds (1/4 Cup).
  • 20g Pecans (1/8 Cup).
  • 20g Spanish Peanuts, with husks (1/8 Cup).
  • 20g Almonds (1/8 Cup).
  • 5 Cups Chicken Broth (See Recipe Here).
  • 2 Medium Sized Green Tomatoes, Diced.
  • 1 Medium Sized Tomatillo, peeled, rinsed, and diced .
  • 20g Bread, toasted until dark but not burnt.
  • 4 Whole cloves.
  • 1g Black Pepper Corns.
  • 1g Cinnamon.
  • 1/4 Tspn Dried Mexican Oregano.
  • 1/4 Tspn Dried Thyme.
  • 1/3 Ripe Bannana.
  • ~1/8 Cup Honey.
  • Salt (to taste).
  • 77g Mexican Chocolate, grated.

    When I that was quite a trip to the grocery store! I had a few of the chilis and staple items at home, but I still needed to go to two different stores to get everything… good thing one of my grocery stores has a great burger, beautiful patio, live music, and Rouge Beer! I needed to be fully relaxed for this epic shopping adventure. Everyone’s grocery store should have this:)


    Mole Method:

    This one’s a duzie… When taking on an epic recipe like this, it’s best to be organized (something that’s usually of little concern in my kitchen). I started by making an ingredient list and prep list.


    The recipe called for a single corn tortilla… I don’t like corn tortillas that you buy in stores. I wasn’t quite ready to give nixtamalization a try but I did have some prepared masa on hand, so I made two tortillas- one to snack, one for cooking. I started with some prepared masa. (I eyeballed the amounts, but measurments are provided in the ingredient list above)


    And added some blue cornmeal, because I LOVE Blue corn! I also added some salt.


    Next, I added some warm water to make a sticky paste.


    I don’t have a tortilla press… And I am not a Mexican Grandmother (According to Dave Arnold, being a "Mexican Grandmother" has nothing to do with generations of offspring, it had everything to do with being able to hand form corn tortillas [and speaking spanish]) Since I meet none of the Mexican Grandmother Prerequisites, AND I have no tortilla press, I improvised a press out of a folded sheet of wax paper and a pot. I used this to press out golf ball sized doses of the tortilla dough. Before improvised pressing:


    During improvised pressing:


    After Improvised pressing:


    The tortillas came out pretty good, Alton Brown would be proud of my multi-tasking! I transferred the tortilla to a hot dry pan by smacking it face down into the pan, then carefully peeling back the waxed paper, leaving the tortilla in the pan.


    After a few minutes, give it a flip. It will start to smell very nutty when it’s ready to be flipped.


    With the tortillas done, I compiled the rest of the Mise En Place for the Mole:


    The first step to actually cooking a black mole is very strange- completely counter intuitive in fact… but Rick Bayless is the Mole Master, and I’ve never made one before…so… you have to remove the seeds from all of the dried peppers.


    Then, you place the seeds (no stems) and a torn tortilla in a dry pan… seems normal enough, right?


    Then you cook the seed/tortilla mixture over med-high heat until the seeds are charcoal black… Bayless says to turn the vent fan on high and open the window. I opted to plug in my hot plate and cook everything outside.


    But my hotplate was/is broken, so I had to do it inside… By the time my mixture looked like this:


    I was coughing and tearing from the smoke/pepper fumes. I figured that the seeds were black enough and would take the tortillas light brown. The next step is to rinse the seeds under cold water.


    After rinsing the pepper seeds, place them in a blender with the toasted bread. Next step is to toast the sesame seeds… this is done more traditionally in a dry pan. When you hear seeds popping give them a toss and repeat until they look like this:


    And place all of the nuts in a 350F oven until they are brown…


    OOPS! Pecans toast faster than peanuts and almonds (I found this out the hard way) So I toasted a new batch of nuts (this time keeping the pecans seperate so I could pull them at different times). My second batch of nuts looked like this:


    While the nuts are toasting, heat up the lard in a pot so you can fry the dried peppers.


    After about 30 seconds in the hot fat, transfer the peppers to a large bowl. I fried in three batches. Once all the peppers have been fried, cover them with warm water and allow them to steep for about 30 minutes.


    All of the nuts, sesame seeds, pepper seeds, tortilla, bread, and just enough chicken stock to get it moving in the blender.


    Blend until it is as smooth as you can get it right now… mine had the texture of loose mud and looked like this: (appetizing huh?)


    Use the same blender cup (don’t rinse/wash it) to blend the green tomato, tomatillo, and again just enough stock to get things moving.


    Next blend the banana, all the spices (but not the chocolate), and about 1/2 cup of chicken stock.

    (you’re probably tired of seeing my blender by now)


    Lastly, blend the re-hydrated chilis. Instead of chicken stock, use just enough of the chili soaking liquid to make a nice smooth puree.


    A note on purees- I like Chef Grant Achatz’s method: blend until smooth, using the back of a ladle to aggitate as necesary. When you think it is smooth enough, continue to blend for another three minutes. My blender is pretty good, but making this Mole was beyond it’s comfort zone… I guess it’s time to add a Vitaprep to my wishlist.


    You should now have reduced all of the Mise to four seperate liquids (but not the chocolate… yet)

    The next step is to cook out all of the liquid from each of these purees, starting with the nut puree. Heat up about 3 tablespoons of the oil used to fry the chilies in a large dutch oven. When the oil is smokin’ hot, add the nut puree.


    Cook this for 10-15 minutes over med high heat. It should be like tomato paste before you proceed. A good indicator I discovered is that there will be significantly less steam rising from the pot than when you added the original puree. When it looks like this, add the tomoato puree.


    Again, cook out all of the water (not much steam rising, puree sticking to bottom of the pan) and then add the bananna/spice puree. Cook out all the water, and finally add the pepper puree.


    Add the remaining chicken stock and simmer for at least 1/2 hour. Then, add the mexican chocolate.


    Keep stirring the mixture. After the 1/2 hour simmer, blend the mixture in batches to make a smoother sauce. While you are blending, wash the pot thuroughly. Put the re-pureed mixture back into the now clean pan and season with salt and honey.


     While the mole is simmering, I got to work on the rest of the meal. Somehow, the pictures from this section disapeared from my camera: I made some tamales by combining the following ingredients.


    Tamale Ingredients:

    82g Prepared Masa.

    38g Blue Corn Meal.

    5g Salt.

    73g Lard.

    80g Warm Water.

    28g Sugar.

    1 ear of corn, kernels removed.

    5 dried corn husks, soaked in warm water


    After combining everything, let the dough rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Then, wrap about three table spoons of the masa mixture in a corn husk that had been soaking in warm water. 


    Stack these in a steamer insert and steam over med-high heat (use the corn husk soaking liquid) for about 40 minutes.


    Pork Tenderloin Ingredients:

    1/2 Pork Tenderloin.

    3 Green Onions.

    1/2 Cup Soaking Liquid from Chilis for Mole.

    1 Cup Black Mole Sauce.

    1 tblspn Cotjia Cheese, crumbled.

    Salt, to taste.


    Season the pork. Blend the green onions and chili soaking liquid, transfer the liquid into a foodsaver vacuum container. Vacuum seal the container to marinade, and let sit in refridgerator about 15 minutes.


    After marinading, sear the tenderloin either in a screaming hot pan or, with a blow torch. I chose to use a blow torch:)


    Put one cup of the mole sauce into a ziplock bag. Add the seared tenderloin to the bag, and use the low tech sealing method to seal the pork and mole. Don’t try to food saver this in a normal vacuum bag, because you’ll have a foodsaver full of mole and a bag without sauce.


    Drop the mole-porky package in your immersion circualtor set to 59.1 Celsius for about 45 minutes.


    Remove the pork from the bag and transfer to a hot pan to sear again. After all sides are seared, touch the meat to test for doneness. When the pork is perfestly cooked, it should feel like the lump of meat under your thumb when you touch your thumb to your middle finger. My tenderloin needed about five minutes in a 425F oven.


    Let the meat rest for at least five minutes after coming out of the pan.


    Shrimp Ingredients:

    3 Large Shrimp.

    1 Green Onion- Spiced thin.

    Salt/Pepper to taste.


    Season the shrimp, cook in a hot pan about 3 minutes per side. Allow the shrimp to rest about 2 minutes before serving. To test for doneness, touch the shrimp. It should feel like your thumb meat when your thumb is touching your pinky finger.


    Plate it up! Enjoy the food porn:)





    When I started this meal, I wasn’t sure if the labor intensive mole would be worth the effort… It was! I have enough homemade mole for about 6 meals, and my creative juices are already flowing. Tasting this completed plate was like sex in your mouth. Exploding, lingering flavors… I think that this is one of the most amazing meals I have ever made. Ever. Oh, yeah… canned moles (you know, the ones in the Mexican isle in the store) are worthless. Spend some time and make your own Bayless Black Mole, you’ll never be the same!



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