Mole mole!


Ok, for once I decided not to tackle making a condiment from scratch. I’ve long heard about mole (for those not down with the Spanish, it’s pronounced “MO-lay”), a Mexican sauce famous for having many, many ingredients. And by the way, those ingredients usually include chocolate! So naturally, it sounded like something I would eventually attempt.

However, after making homemade seitan and barbecue sauce this weekend for a “Cowboys and Ninjas” potluck, I was worn out.

So I bought mole sauce. One brand had chicken fat and other schmaltzy ingredients, but the one I settled on (Rogelio Bueno, available at fine markets like Bestway on Mt. Pleasant Street) was all veg. It did have artificial color, but I decided not to let that bother me.

Aside from not having animals among the ingredients, the inclusion of some form of chocolate was a crucial factor for me. Rogelio Bueno came through on both.

Here’s what I made:

Saucy Hoppin’ John

(The amounts here are not exact. If you try this, please let me know how it goes and any adjustments you made)

1 cup dried black-eyed peas, soaked overnight in cold water or brought to a boil and allowed to sit for an hour or two

3 tbs canola or olive oil or butter

1 medium onion, diced

Other diced veggies, as desired. In this case I included cactus leaf, fresh tomato, and mustard greens

1 tsp salt, or to taste

¼ cup salsa (optional)

½ cup diced or crushed canned tomato (optional)

3 cups water

Handful of cilantro, chopped (optional)

2 Tbs mole sauce, or to your taste

6 Tbs water or stock

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat oil or butter. When hot enough for a piece of onion to sizzle, add all of the onion and other veggies, except greens. Sauté for about 5 minutes, or until onions approach translucency (if that’s a word).

Now mix the 2 Tbs. mole with 6 Tbs. water and stir into your peas. If you’re using another amount, keep in mind the ratio of 1 part mole to 3 parts water.

Add salt, salsa and canned tomato if you’re using them, along with the 3 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a lively simmer. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, then throw in greens if you’re using them and stir. Cover again and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, keeping an eye on the pot and adding water if necessary. There should always be generous amounts of simmering broth.

When black-eyed peas are tender, it’s done! Well, except if you’re using cilantro. That you can stir in at the end. It will wilt but not over cook and keep a nice, bright green color along with the bright green cilantro flavor.

Eat this stuff by scooping it up with tortillas. It’s up to you if you want to be amused by the way this combines American soul food with Mexican tradition. Peace on Earth, and good will toward everybody.



2 thoughts on “Mole mole!

  1. Huzzah! Mole is one of my favorites, but extremely hard to find as a vegetarian choice. Many recipes have shredded pork or other meat-bits in ’em. Thanks for the groundwork on this; I’ll give it a go and let you know how it turns out.

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