Every month, as many of you might already know, there is an event on The Left-Over Queen forum called the Royal Foodie Joust. Last month was the biggest joust yet with 17 participants and my lovely and beautiful friend Heather from Gild the Voodolily won with her entry Lentil Fritters with Venison Chorizo, Eggplant Sofrito and Cinnamon. The ingredients that Heather chose for this month’s joust were: pork (any variety), pink or white peppercorn and citrus (any kind) She suggested I made carnitas and I was really tempted to make that dish, but since it has been really cold in this part of the world and I just recovered from a week of being sick with the flu I wanted something more suitable for the weather.
That’s why I decided to go with a classic Mexican dish that I hadn’t eaten in many, many years: mole de olla. When I told Jon I was making mole de olla he just looked at me. He doesn’t like the combination of chocolate and chiles of mole poblano so I had to explain to him that there are many different kinds of mole. The word mole comes from the Nahuatl (Nahuatl being the language the Aztecs spoke) word molli meaning sauce, stew or concoction. I did some research trying to pinpoint the origins of mole de olla, but I didn’t find any definitive answer. Some people say it is originally from the state of Tlaxcala while others say that it is from the Bajío region of the country (states of Michoacan, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro and parts of Zacatecas)
Anyway, I had to adjust the recipe I remember my mom use to make to use the ingredients Heather chose and because I also forgot to get epazote on my last trip to Whole Foods. This is my mole de olla version for the Royal Foodie Joust:
Mole de olla (joust version)
Makes 4-6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Method: fry, boil
For this recipe you will need:
- 2 lbs (1 kg) pork back (I used pork stew)
- 2 TBSP vegetable oil
- 1 orange
- 4 Pasilla chiles, seeded and veined
- 2 TBSP pink peppercorn
- 1 medium-sized onion
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 chayote
- 1 corn ear
- 1 cup green beans, sliced
- water as needed
- 1 lime
- chopped onion and cilantro
- Warm ¼ cup of water in a small pot.
- Add pasilla chile and pink peppercorn and cook until the chiles are tender. Pasilla chile is dry so you will need to get a sharp knife to get inside and take the seeds and veins out before cooking it.
- Blend together chile, peppercorn, onion and garlic cloves.
- Fry pork in vegetable oil in a large pot (olla means pot in Spanish) until it starts turning brown.
- Squeeze orange and add the juice to the pork and cook together for about 5 minutes.
- In the meantime, cube chayote and cut the ear corn sideways in small cylinders.
- Add salsa and vegetables to the pot and pour water to cover all ingredients.
- Add salt to taste.
- Cook for about 35-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
- Serve hot with some chopped onion, fresh cilantro and the juice of half a lime. Note: for some strange reason Mexicans love to add lime to almost anything, fruit, stews, tacos, etc. In this case the addition of lime to the stew gives it a delicious touch that you can’t afford to miss)
About this recipe:
- I bought my vegetables and pink peppercorn at Whole Foods and the pasilla chile at a Mexican market near my house. You might be able to order some of these ingredients online if you can’t find them in your city.
- Some people add zucchini, epazote and small balls of corn dough to the stew.
- Pasilla chile is a little bit spicier than other kinds of dried chiles, but it gives this mole a very special taste. You might use fewer chiles or substitute them with guajillo chiles if you don’t like your food to be too spicy. This recipe, however, wasn’t hot at all, but I guess it depends on the chiles you get.
- I really liked this recipe because the orange gave the pork a very citric(ish) taste and the pink peppercorns gave the salsa a sweet taste. It is kind of difficult to explain the taste, you will have to try it yourself.
I am very glad that Heather introduced me to pink peppercorn. I read that it is perfect for fruit salads so I had to try. It is a perfect combination. It has become part of my breakfast already!
There are many great recipes on the forum already and I can’t wait to see what everybody else comes up with. These ingredients were a lot of fun and the dish brought me a lot of memories back. Thank you Jen and Heather for another great event!