Reddish Mole (Mole Coloradito)

 Many years ago, I brought back a cookbook from our trip to Mexico.  I read through it on the plane and when I returned, I got really excited about cooking up some traditional dishes.  I even brought back a large bag of Mexican oregano (that turned some heads at customs...).  Skip ahead a few years (has it really been 13 years since our trip??) and I had yet to fully explore everything this cookbook had to offer - including an opportunity to practice my Spanish because all of the recipes were bilingual.

A few weekends ago, as the sky had the shade of autumn grey that I love, I decided to dust off this cookbook and make something in the slow cooker.  After foraging through my cupboards, refrigerator and freezer, I decided on this mole.  I didn't want to have to spend too long preparing everything - just wanted to get it in the pot and get back to more important things (Call of Duty).

We had a very good haul of peppers and produce this year.  My husband, (the Pepper Whisperer I've started calling him), worked his magic and we had so many peppers I didn't know what to do with them!  Bajan Hot Sauce, Trini Hot Sauce, smoked paprika powder, piri piri sauce, Caribbean chopped seasoning, smoked Anchos, chili flakes and so much more.  Near the end I froze them whole and will decide what to do with them later on.

I pretty much used the ingredients as listed in this recipe, but changed the method to use the slow cooker.  We have so much meat in our freezer (thanks to my husband's diligent eye for a deal - which he inherited from his mother) that I needed to start working through it all.  I knew there was a pork shoulder (or three) down there - good place to start!  (I think a pork tenderloin would render a drier product).

The recipe calls for 2 lbs, I think the pork shoulder was a bit more, but in the end it doesn't matter if it's a bit more or less - as long as the sauce covers the meat entirely.  I also used low-sodium chicken stock versus the chicken stock powder (it's what I had).  I didn't bother to brown the meat, I just put everything into the Crock pot and turned it on high and walked away.  The smells coming from the kitchen were entirely intoxicating and was the source of much distraction whilst trying to win my xBox campaign.  I digress...

I cut the meat off the bone and kept the bone. I cut it into 2" chunks and put it in the Crock Pot.  Next, the mole.

Re-hydrate the peppers in boiling water until soft. then chop along with onions, tomato and garlic

Re-hydrated peppers
Quick blitz in the blender.  I added enough stock to make a sauce the consistency of ketchup
Poured sauce over meat and reserved bone - then set it and forget it for 6 hours on high
I decided the only thing that would make this dish better, would be some corn tortillas.  I sent my husband out to get some.  You need to know that I live in a small town, so you know where I'm going with this when I say that after many phone calls of  'They don't have any corn tortillas, can you use flour?  No!' -  from many different locations, I decided to make them myself.  Next challenge was finding Masa Harina (the flour used to make corn tortillas).  Eventually he located some.  This flour, unlike corn meal, is treated with lime (essentially calcium) and produces a nice and somewhat pliable dough.  Do not try this with corn meal, trust me on that.

I normally have a tortilla press but there was an incident a while one was hurt, except the press (ahem).   Hand rolling does not get the same uniform texture I was hoping for, but the taste was still there - slightly charred and warm.  I think I need more practice is all.  Nothing can compare to the taste of a fresh and warm corn tortilla.

Just follow the directions on the package - be sure to use warm water, it absorbs better.

Golf-ball sized dough, rolled between two layers of wax paper.
Grilled in a hot, dry non-stick pan (no oil) This one wasn't round, but it was an early one, still tasty though!
They were kept warm in my handy tortilla warmer until the rest of the meal was ready.  To me, they are not good right away (if I had some more practice maybe), they develop a nice soft texture after sitting and steaming together for a while and don't break apart when folded for inserting into mouth.

After six hours, the meat was almost falling apart.  I did check it at 4 hours, then at 5 hours, but it didn't quite 'give' when prodded with a fork, so I left it alone to do its job.

Not the most appetizing shot, upon reflection, however, you get the idea of how tender the meat was
I partially shredded the meat and added some of the cooking sauce to it. Next I thought I would make some pico to go with the mole.

1/2 c of grape tomatoes, 1/4 c chopped onion, 1 tb cilantro, 1 tb lime, salt and pepper to taste

Time for the assembly.  Warm tortilla, mole, extra sauce, pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, slivered red onion and a squeeze of lime to taste.

These were so yummy that I made them again the next week!  I couldn't throw out that precious sauce or see it relegated to the freezer, so I re-used it (thinned with a bit of water) and enjoyed them again with some fresh coleslaw and more pico.

Buen Provecho!

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