Hola mole!

Poblano apple moleWe had an excess of Brussels sprouts in the fridge from a recent farmers’ market trip, and I saw this Lucky Peach recipe that suggested mole-ing them up and serving them over quinoa. Then I realized that the recipe called for a special mole negro paste from a restaurant in L.A. Stymied – but wait! Why not make my own mole negro? I knew that would be a little labor intensive, but, well, I’ll work for mole. I checked a couple of books for recipes, and did a little googling, but I ran up against a wall of Trumpian proportions: I needed multiple kinds of fresh chiles that I knew would be almost impossible to find here. On top of that, the recipe that looked the best, from Roberto Santibanez’s Truly Mexican, involves steps like taking the seeds from the chiles, toasting them, and then setting them on fire. Like Beavis, I’m in favor of fire, and someday I will makes this mole, but I needed something a little easier. Fortunately, Santibanez had another recipe for a pasilla and apple mole, and I thought the apple-Brussels combo would be lovely and seasonal to boot. My pasilla procurement failed however, so I had to substitute poblanos. The picture above is of the pan before the stock was added and it was all blended together. You can imagine how those roasty-toasty nuts, onions, tomatoes and peppers danced with the sweet, lightly caramelized apples in the chicken-broth ballroom. Perfection. Some of it was made into a vinaigrette, which the sprouts were tossed with before roasting, some was blanketed around pieces of pulled chicken — The Lucky Peach recipe is for two servings, and we had eight for dinner, so when I quadrupled it, I subbed chicken for about a third of the Brussels — then all was mixed together and served over the quinoa. A broccoli salad with lime-cilantro dressing from my wife was a perfect side, and tortillas rounded things out. In a word: wowza. The best thing? We have a solid quart or more of leftover mole.

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