And you thought pumpkin pack was like so 3 months ago! But, if you had 70 pounds of sugar pie pumpkins still left in dry storage (like we do at Echo Valley Farm) you'd be gettin' pretty darn creative right about now too...
Some of the ingredients might illicit skeptical reactions although I've yet to find one single traditional mole recipe. There are numerous variations on the theme. A woman I chatted with in the supermarket told me I could not use tamarind paste in mole – but I think she might have a change of heart upon tasting this combo. She did give great chili advice and some neat tips for making tamarind paste from pods – even though this ingredient didn't meet mole approval.
(Love chatting with people about food while shopping – I always learn something new!)
Next time I think I'll add some tequila too. Well, why not?!?!
I created the mole for a luncheon we hosted for a workshop on fruit tree planting, pruning, and grooming taught by Northern California's leading fruit tree arborist. It was a fascinating lesson – even if you don't have an orchard in your backyard. Farmer's came from all around to learn how to whack and lop correctly and where and when to plant.
I wanted to use our sugar pie pumpkins in an unconventional way. I'm pretty sure everyone who works on the farm is sick of yet another version of my pumpkin pie no matter what "secret" ingredient I try to wow them with. The menu included a palate cleansing salad of kale, fennel, & blood oranges with a honey-apple cider vinaigrette, plantain wheat germ banana bread (not overly sweet), and farmer Kate's effervescient lemon-ginger elixer to wash everything down.
Look for our Echo Valley Farm Pumpkin Mole starting at the farmer's market in May! Or make it yourself...
6 ounces dried mulato chiles, dry toasted, & seeded
3 ounces dried ancho chiles, dry toasted, & seeded
6 ounces dried pasilla chiles, dry toasted, & seeded
4 garlic cloves, peeled and shaved or sliced thinly
1 cup peanuts (4 ounces)
1 cup sesame seeds (4 ounces)
1 1/2 cups pumpkin purée (8 ounces), from 1 roasted sugar pie pumpkin
1/2 cup (4 ounces) fresh tamarind paste, about 8 pods
3 teaspoon ground Mexican canela (cinnamon)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves,
2 tablespoons mexican oregano
2 ounces (about 2/3 of a 3.3-ounce tablet) Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
1 quart chicken stock (plus extra if sauce is too thick)
4 Tablespoons lard or vegetable oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and toast chilies until they are fragrant, about 1 minute per batch. Soak the chiles in enough cold water to cover until they're soft, about 5 minutes. Drain and discard the soaking water. Blend the chilies in a high powered blender (Vita-prep – just buy it – you won't regret it!) using just enough water to help the purée get going.
For the tamarind paste: shell the pods and put the flesh with seeds in a small saucepan. Add just enough water to cover with a splash of white vinegar. Simmer the pods until the flesh comes loose from the seeds. Press mixture through a chinois and reserve.
For pumpkin purée: heat oven to 375˚F. Cut one medium sugar pie pumpin in half and scoop out seeds (reserve for another recipe) place pumpkin on baking sheet cut side down. Add about 1/4 cup of water to the baking sheet. Bake uncovered for an hour until flesh is soft then scoop it out and blend it up!
For Mole: in a blender add tamarind paste, seasame seeds, peanuts, spices, and chocolate. Blend until smooth. Use a little water if necessary to blend.
In a large high-sided heavy skillet over medium-high heat melt lard. Add chili paste mixture and fry for a few minutes until the color deepens. Add nut-tamarind-spice mixture and cook for a few minutes more. Add the chicken stock, the pumpkin purée, and shaved garlic and cook stirring frequently over medium-low heat until mixture has cooked down by 1/4. Season with salt.
Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Add a little agave nectar to sweet it up or tamarind paste to pucker it up and chicken stock to thin it out. If you happen to have a dutch oven and can cook mole over the fire then by all means...