Next week will feature a return to the hard and fast work of naturopathic medicine, but this week will feature another tasty sauce to follow up on last week's sofrito recipe.
Of course, there are many types of mole verde, but this one in particular is especially delicious and not too difficult to make. It makes a great sauce for chicken and goes well with beans. I guarantee that you'll be astounded at how flavorful and complex this sauce is, given its apparently straightforward ingredient list. Even so, the ingredient list may surprise you, and it may surprise you even further to find yourself putting lettuce leaves into a sauce, but I assure you that you'll love it.
15 poblano chiles (yes, 15)
5 jalapeño chiles
1 white onion
1/4 cup olive oil (not extra virgin!)
1 head garlic
1 quart chicken stock
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 head romaine lettuce
1/4 cup fresh tarragon (epazote is more traditional)
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh parsley (I usually use Italian/flat-leaf parsley)
Start by coring and seeding the peppers, then cutting them into strips - these strips of pepper are called rajas. Next, peel and dice the onion. Fry the rajas and onion over medium heat in a large skillet, stirring frequently, until they are nice and soft, and beginning to brown. This may take 10-15 minutes.
Peel the garlic and either slice, dice or press the cloves. When the peppers and onion are nicely browned, add the garlic, stock, salt and coriander. Cook for 20 minutes.
Start preparing the other ingredients. Wash the leafy greens (lettuce, tarragon, cilantro, parsley) and chop them. When the 20 minutes of cooking are up, add the leafy greens and cook another 5 minutes.
Finally, puree the ingredients. This can be done with a food processor, but I always recommend an immersion blender - it's easier to use and you won't have piping hot mole verde sloshing around your kitchen. When you've got it at a nice smooth consistency, you are good to go!
To use the sauce with chicken, first roast and shred the chicken. Then combine the chicken with a liberal amount of mole in a sauce pan and heat through - this can be served in tacos, over rice, with beans, or with fried plantains.
The mole flavors become richer if you leave them overnight, so don't worry that you have leftovers! They'll be great the next day.
(Note: Tomatillos are a traditional ingredient in mole verde. I haven't included them here, not because I don't like them, but because they can be hard to come by in the US. If you have a bunch that are begging to be eaten, feel free to use between 1 and 2 pounds of them. First remove the husk and boil them, then add them when you add the stock.)