Saturday, November 27, 2010

Turkey Mole

To my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving. In Canada our Thanksgiving is in October, but most of the traditions are the same. Whenever you celebrate, in the aftermath of Turkey Day, there is often the dilemma of what to do with all the leftover turkey. Sandwiches are all well and good but, especially if you have a lot of leftovers, it’s nice to have another meal that tastes nothing like the original. In my family, we would cook 2 large turkeys on Thanksgiving (for 3 of us!), leaving a very large amount of uneaten turkey. We would debone all the leftover turkey and portion it into packages and freeze them. One of the dishes we would make with the turkey was Mole, a Mexican specialty.

Turkey Mole

3 lbs cooked boneless turkey

Mole Paste
1/4 cup peanut oil
½ cup raisins/dried fruit
1/4 cup peanuts
1 cup almonds
3 pasilla chiles
2 ancho chiles
2 guajillo chiles
1 cup chili powder
1/4 cup sesame seed
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
2 ounce melted unsweetened chocolate
1 tblsp molasses
½ tsp cinnamon
salt & pepper

1 tin canned tomatoes or 2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups chicken or turkey stock

2 large onions, diced
1 head garlic, minced
1 cup fresh bread crumbs

flour tortillas
sour cream (optional)

There are many ways to cook this, but I am presenting an adaptation of the recipe my mother made(and still makes), since it the easiest to prepare and is appropriate for the season, as many people have leftover turkey they need to find a use for. There are many ways to make this differently. Sometimes I use fresh raw turkey breast for this, but to do that I need to use a substantially different technique and remove most of the liquid. In the summer, I like to add a variety of fresh produce, including fruit, such as plums or cherries, having these sweet elements take the place of tomato.

There are many ingredients, which may be intimidating, but the technique to make this dish is quite simple and straightforward. Leftover turkey is the best choice for this dish. If you do not have any, simply roast some turkey breast, let it cool, then shred the meat. The specific dried chiles called for may be difficult to find, but many compromises are possible. The most flavourful of the chiles is the pasilla, though the easiest of these to find would probably be anchos, so you may use either one of those alone. Before these chiles were as available, we used to use store-bought chili powder. It seems chili powder is not as good as it used to be, but if you have a brand that you like, it will work well, just use a large quantity and you may want to slightly reduce the amount of cumin and coriander, as chili powder usually contains these spices. One more note. When grinding chiles, I remove the seeds and veins and then taste the powder. This should be quite hot, but if not grind some of the seeds to boost the heat.

Combine all the mole paste ingredients in a food processor and blend until it forms a thick, semi-smooth paste, almost like a soft dough. Set aside.

Saute diced onions until soft, then add garlic and saute 30 seconds more. Add spice paste and cook for a minute or two. This will allow all the flavours to intensify and release. Then add tomatoes and stock. When the paste is incorporated into the liquid, add bread crumbs and allow sauce to thicken. If the sauce is still runny add more bread crumbs. When combined add the turkey. Transfer everything to a casserole or baking dish and bake at 350 degrees until everything is bubbling, about 20-30 minutes. Serve with tortillas and whatever garnishes you like. Salsas, guacamole, sour cream - that sort of thing.
One additional note. The mole in the picture was one I made this summer using a slightly different recipe and a home made salsa that combined corn, heirloom tomatoes, tomatillos, poblano peppers and vinegar. The mole from the recipe above will likely be thicker than the one pictured.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Evan, Thanks for the new recipe!!! Even though there isn't much turkey left from Thanksgiving, there is a still a frozen breast in the freezer begging to be used in this recipe. I cannot wait to make this, or better yet eat it! Hugs, JR