There are few things more iconic of Mexico than mole, a word that most people associate with chocolate but which actually is a generic reference to a number of different sauces that are integral to authentic Mexican cuisine. And there are few chefs whose culinary skills capture the magic of mole quite as effectively as Chef Martin San Roman.
The award-winning (more than 250 awards, actually) Chef Martin has traveled the world representing Mexican cuisine. He is currently a consulting chef for Season Catering and Events and for Whole Foods Market 7th Ave Pub in Hillcrest, both in San Diego. He defines his San Diego menus as Urban Baja Cuisine. He is also the executive chef/consultant for the boutique hotel La Casa Fernanda’s La Veladora restaurant in the pueblo magico of Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico. Here, he has perfected a style of cooking that he calls Baja Tepoz, using ingredients from the Morelos area with a Baja flair – things like wild cilantro, wild mushrooms from deep in the forest, masa triangles called itacates, as well as rabbits, quail, lamb, goat and more.
His deep knowledge of ingredients and how to employ them has helped him attain stature among Mexico’s top chefs…and it has given him the ability to diversify and adapt his food creations to any occasion. Hence, his ability to produce a luscious organic mole for a recent tasting at Whole Foods Market.
Holy organic mole, Batman! This rich concoction, which will undoubtedly make guests ooh-and-aah, is a perfect enhancement to holiday meals, no matter whether they are eaten in Mexico or the United States. Chef Martin has agreed to share his mole recipe and ideas for menu preparation with Baja.com.
First, let’s get to know a bit more about mole. The history of mole is, like the final sauce product, a bit murky but in a delicious way. The favorite version takes place at the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla, in the 17th century. The Archbishop was planning a last-minute visit and the nuns didn’t have anything to serve him. They prayed for a tasty answer and, so the legend goes, the angels responded by giving them an idea: the nuns slaughtered an old turkey and, realizing the bird needed some doctoring up, they created a sauce out of things they had on hand—more than 20 components including chili peppers, spices, stale bread, nuts and, to add a European touch, chocolate. Clearly, the dish was a hit.
The word mole comes from mulli, an ancient Aztec word for sauce or stew. There are those who believe that mole was actually created by the Aztec’s king Moctezuma to honor the conquistador Cortez. This version of the story also has a ring of truth in that chocolate was a common ingredient in pre-Columbian Mexico. And there are other versions, too…
What we know for sure is that, history aside, mole is representative of Mexico’s rich culinary and cultural heritage and of the earth, climate and peoples who have invented this savory salsa.
Chef Martin San Roman’s Recipe Created for Whole Foods Market 7th Ave Pub
Organic Mole & Turkey
Step 1: A 12-14 pound turkey
3 oz chile morita
3 oz chile pasilla
3 oz chile mulato
3 oz chile cascabel
2 0z chile de arbol
Let the chiles soak in warm water (or organic chicken stock) overnight in a cooler or refrigerator. Save the water.
The next day, fry all the chiles in corn oil, separated, for 1 minute. Then let them cool.
1 oz sesame seeds
1 oz peanuts
1 oz pumpkin seeds
1 oz walnuts
1 oz almonds
Toast the sesame seeds in a pan and reserve. Fry the remaining ingredients in corn oil. Drain.
1/2 cinnamon stick
6 oz organic semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomato
1 tortilla (shredded)
½ cup broken crackers
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
1 chopped plantain
1 tablespoon cinnamon
In a blender, add the chiles and all the nuts.
Then add chopped onion, chopped tomato, tortilla, crackers, minced garlic, a chopped plantain, cinnamon and mix well.
Incorporate the water you have saved (from soaking the chiles) with the blended ingredients (if you need more liquid, it is fine to add a bit more water or organic broth). Blend again, and then pass the mixture through a strainer. Then blend what is left on the strainer mesh with a bit more liquid, and pass it again through the strainer. The goal is to create the smoothest sauce.
In a deep pan, add some corn oil and fry the ingredients, constantly mixing with a wooden spoon. Bring all to a low hot simmer, add the chocolate and and blend well. Season to taste. Your mole must have a chocolate/reddish color, and a smooth mole texture.
Roast your turkey. Let it cool and then carve it into small pieces. Mix the pieces with the mole.
For the very best flavors, eat this delicious dish the day after you make it, allowing all the flavors of the spices, nuts, chocolate and chiles to merge.
To create your organic mole, all products must be organic and you can find them at Whole Foods Market or authentic Mexican market.
Buen Provecho and Happy Holidays!
Chef Martin San Roman
Academie Culinaire de France
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