The sun is shining, the mountain is out and everyone in the Northwest is happy - well, everyone but the mister. He is on one this morning...a mole (not to be confused with mole/mo-lay!) had the nerve to invade a corner of the front lawn causing the mister to explode, as in steam coming out his ears and expletives flying out his mouth - so basically just another Saturday morn. Right now he is scouring the garage for "Mole-B-Gone" and there will be no peace until he finds it. I on the other hand, am loving having the spring air wafting through the open windows - after I hit post I'm going to dig in the dirt, bring out the patio cushions and then rest on my laurels. And then for dinner we will enjoy this Tamale and Chicken Pie with Black Mole...it's so good we might even have it for lunch, too! (This would be an excellent side dish to serve for your next Mexican Fiesta!)
This recipe comes from Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta: Recipes from the World-Famous Spa by Deborah Szekely and Deborah Schneider with Chef Jesus Gonzalez via Delish.com. I love tamales but didn't have the time to wrap them in little corn-husks packages - this pie skips that step making it very easy to enjoy tamales any night of the week! I wanted something substantial in the middle of my tamale so I added cooked chicken, green and red peppers for color and flavor and some cilantro...so there's a layer of tamale, then a layer of chicken and veggies, then another layer of tamale...think of it as a Mariachi Sandwich!
The Mole has so many levels of flavor, from nuts, seeds and peppers to chocolate, cinnamon and oregano - it's so good you'll want to eat it with a spoon or even a straw and it's not spicy...I used de-seeded Anaheim and Pasilla peppers so it's very, very mild. Next time I'll use a little more heat! The Mole recipe makes about 8 cups - so you can freeze the extra or use it as a soup base or cook a pork roast in it or put a few tablespoons in a piece of foil, add a cob of corn, roll up and toss on the grill for 10 minutes - the possibilities are endless!
Almonds, peanuts and sesame seeds are toasted and added to the pepper, onion and garlic mixture...then the chocolate and cinnamon are added in...need I say more? You will be doing a Mexican Hat Dance, possibly the Sombrero Cha-Cha when you taste this - it's definitely worthy of a few Arrrrrriba's!
The Tamale Pie isn't much to look at when it comes out of the oven - but as we all know, looks can be deceiving! Oh, those white things floating in the mole are pieces of tortilla...it all gets blended together into one fabulous sauce. Make this for your los ninos de la familia and your cavernicola (for your children and your caveman!) because they will all love it! Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients - most of them you probably already have on hand and this really is a simple dish to make, not just for Quatro or Cinco De Mayo but for any night of the week!
Tamale and Chicken Pie with Black Mole - Adapted from Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta via Delish.com
For the Tamale Pie:
2 cups masa (available in the ethnic section of most grocery stores)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups water (plus more as needed)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup finely diced red bell pepper or green bell pepper or a combination of both
1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 cup diced cooked chicken
Black Mole Recipe follows
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put a kettle of water on to heat for the water bath. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with butter, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk masa, oregano, baking powder, thyme, salt and pepper together. Add 2 cups water and beat with on low speed until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add more water until the mixture is the consistency of thick pancake batter. (I added about another cup and a half.) Add oil and butter. Increase mixer speed to medium-high and continue beating, scraping down the sides, for 4 more minutes.
Spread half the batter in the prepared pan. Evenly scatter the chicken, red and green peppers, cilantro and onions on top, then cover with the remaining batter, smoothing it evenly to the sides. Place the baking dish in a larger pan, transfer to the oven and pour boiling water into the larger pan to about halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Cover both pans with a piece of foil. Bake until set, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let stand, covered, for 10 minutes (don't skip this step!) To serve, cut into slices and spoon several tablespoons of Black Mole over the top. Serves 8.
For the Black Mole:
1/2 cup peanuts
1/4 cup almonds (whole or slivered)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 corn tortilla, cut in 8 wedges
2 large Anaheim peppers
2 large Pasilla peppers
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large while onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 cups vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place peanuts, almonds, sesame seeds, cinnamon stick and tortilla wedges on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until golden brown, being careful to not burn the sesame seeds, about 10 minutes, but check frequently. Wearing gloves, remove the stems, seeds and inner ribs from the chiles and tear the chiles into large pieces. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chile pieces, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the chiles are fragrant and the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the toasted ingredients and cook, stirring constantly, until the onion begins to brown, being careful not to burn the chiles or nuts, 3 to 5 minutes. Add chocolate, tomato sauce, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
Remove the cinnamon stick and
discard. Puree the sauce in a blender (in 3 batches) until smooth, 3 to 4
minutes per batch. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Makes 8 cups. This freezes well, to reheat let sit in refrigerator over-night or slowly reheat on stove-top.