As we celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday, let us remember the many immigrant mothers who come here from all over the world in the quest to give their children and families a better life. Their contribution to the U.S. makes our country, our culture, and our economy better.
In celebration of them and mothers everywhere, we offer a recipe for a special dish that, like many immigrants, blends the flavors of many worlds together.
Mole (pronounced mo-lay) pueblano is a traditional Mexican dish that combines ingredients both indigenous to the region with others that were brought over from Europe during colonization. Mole pueblano is just one of many mole recipes. All moles involve thick sauces poured over grilled or boiled meat. The vast number of ingredients can be intimidating for first-timers, but the cooking process is actually quite simple (and besides, your mother is worth it).
4 dried pasilla peppers (remove stems and separate seeds)
4 dried New Mexico chilies (remove stems and separate seeds)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and seeds removed, chopped
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 corn tortilla, torn into pieces
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons shortening or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate square, to taste
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
paprika, to taste
Combine the chilies, onion, garlic, tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds, almonds, tortilla, raisins, cloves, cinnamon, and coriander. Traditionalists cook the chili seeds as well. Puree small amounts of this mixture in a blender until smooth. Many recipes call for adding water or rum while blending.
Melt the shortening in a skillet and sauté the puree for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken broth and chocolate and cook over a very low heat for 45 minutes. The sauce should be very thick. The remaining sesame seeds are used as a garnish.
Boil or grill the chicken to taste. Then cover with the mole sauce and sprinkle the tops with warm corn kernels. Garnish with cilantro leaves and thin slices of tomatillo.