Back in February (which now seems a lifetime away) our eldest son, Trae and his sweet wife, Corie joined us in San Miguel de Allende. We’ve been telling them about it for years, thinking that, with all of the music and art and culture…it’s right up their alley. We had such fun, living in a middle-of-the-parroquia, seventeenth century apartment. The sounds from the square (mariachis, party-goers, crying babies, barking dogs) serenaded us through the night. Come to find out, there was a bar underneath the master bedroom. I figure that I can sleep any time. But, being right there in the middle of the fun was worth any missed minutes of lost sleep.
I have lots of stories about our time in San Miguel, but this one is about a fabulous afternoon that we spent learning to make mole at a fabulous cooking school in the heart of San Miguel (recipe to follow). Trae and Corie are the ultimate foodies. They love to cook. Trae was among the first people we ever knew who fell in love with food trucks (before they were cool). Corie was born and raised in California, so Mexican food is one of the staples of her life. She LOVES mole. So, I knew this afternoon plan was a slam-dunk.
We started with a jaunt out into the cooking school teacher/owner’s fabulous raised-bed garden. We picked our herbs and greens and even pulled a few onions. It was glorious. First of all, the weather in San Miguel de Allende in February is delicious! Cool and crisp mountain air and the sounds of the 17 churches chiming their bells on the hour combined to make it a magical afternoon.
Kris, the owner and our teacher for the afternoon at La Cocina Cooking School, is a treasure. Having lived in San Miguel for almost three decades, she is a fountain of knowledge about the city and the region’s gastronomical history.
We spent four hours chopping, roasting, stewing, braising…and ultimately, eating! The great meal we created was overshadowed only by the great company. Any time we get to spend with Trae and Corie is wonderful time. This was no different.
BTW…this recipe is time-intensive, but not difficult. Here’s my suggestion: grab a few people that you love to spent time with and have a go at it. You won’t be disappointed.
1+1 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 whole ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded & deveined
3 pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded & deveined
1 small whole onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic – peeled
1 piece white bread or bolillo (Mexican roll)
1 corn tortila
2 T toasted sesame seeds
2 T toasted almonds
2 T toasted peanuts
2 T raisins
1 roasted tomato
1/4 t. cloves (ground)
4 C. Chicken broth
3 sticks cinnamon
1 ounce Mexican chocolate (such as Abuelita)
1 T. sugar
salt to taste
Place 1 T oil in medium frying pan over medium heat. Add chiles and toast for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cover with warm water. Let sit for about 20 minutes or until soft. Discard water.
2. Add onion and garlic to same pan. Salute, stirring regularly, until well browned (about 10 minutes). Transfer to large bowl.
3. Still using same pan, toast bread and tortilla for a few minutes. Add to bowl, along with all other ingredients (until chicken broth), including rehydrated chiles.
4. Transfer ingredients to blender jar and puree with chicken broth until smooth (this will have to be done in two batches).
5. Heat remaining oil in large stockpot over medium-high heat. When oil starts to sizzle, add mole, along with cinnamon, chocolate, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower to medium heat and simmer for about 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until desired consistency is reached.