Tree nuts, while high in calories, pack a powerful punch in terms of health benefits. They are high in protein and fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals and various antioxidants like carotenoids and phytosterols. This month we will explore current research into the health benefits offered by various tree nuts while tasting some delicious recipes along the way.
Almonds have been shown to help lower LDL cholesterol and may help prevent breast cancer, and this week’s recipe is chock-full of them.
The recipe below was sent to CCSA as part of a series of emails from our resident chef, Dr. Linda Doody. She has been sharing her extensive collection of favorite recipes with friends, family, and the CCSA team as a means of maintaining connections during the COVID-19 pandemic.
So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being – Franz Kafka
Mole Poblano de Guajolote
- 8- to 9-pound turkey, disjointed and cut into 8 serving pieces (you can also use chicken or pork)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 dried pasilla chiles, 4 dried mulato chiles, and 6 dried ancho chiles (14 dried ancho chiles can be substituted for the mixture of chiles)
- 2 cups boiling chicken stock, fresh or canned
- ¾ cup blanched almonds
- 1 cup coarsely chopped onion
- 3 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped, or 1 cup drained, canned Italian plum tomatoes
- ½ cup lightly packed seedless raisins
- 4 Tbsp sesame seeds, divided (toasted are best)
- 1 tortilla, broken into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- ½ teaspoon anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 Tbsp lard (shortening or cooking oil can be substituted)
- 2 cups cold chicken stock, fresh or canned
- 1½ squares unsweetened chocolate
- Place the turkey pieces in a 4- to 5-quart heavy flameproof casserole. Add the salt and enough cold water to cover completely. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour; the turkey will be almost cooked through. Set the casserole off the heat.
- Meanwhile prepare the mole (sauce). Under cold running water, pull the stems off the chiles, break or cut them in half, and brush out the seeds. Cut away and discard any thick ribs and tear the chiles into small pieces. In a large bowl, pour 2 cups of boiling chicken stock over the chiles and soak for about 30 minutes.
- Blend the almonds in the jar of an electric blender or food processor until they are completely pulverized. Add the chiles, their soaking liquid, onions, tomatoes, raisins, 2 Tbsp of the sesame seeds, tortilla, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, anise seeds, salt, and pepper, and blend at high speed until the mixture is reduced to a smooth paste.
- In a heavy 10-inch skillet melt 2 Tbsp lard over moderate heat. Pour in the mole and simmer, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. Add the cold stock and chocolate. Cook, uncovered, over low heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate has melted. Cover the skillet and set aside off the heat.
- Remove the turkey from the casserole and lay pieces on a double thickness of paper towels to drain. Pat thoroughly dry with extra towels. In a heavy 12-inch skillet, melt the remaining 4 Tbsp lard over moderate heat until a light haze forms above. Add the turkey and brown the pieces well on all sides, turning frequently in the hot fat. Drain off the fat, then pour the mole over the turkey, turning the pieces in the sauce to cover them evenly. Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, basting the turkey now and then with the mole.
- To serve, arrange the turkey pieces on a heated platter and pour the mole over. Sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds.
Notes: Mole comes from a Nahuatl (Aztec) word molli, meaning “sauce” or “mixture.” Mole is actually a family of sauces originating in the Oaxaca and Puebla regions of Mexico and characterized by a complex layered flavor derived from intricate blends of dried chiles, spices, fruits, and seasonings. The classic variety is mole poblano, similar to the recipe above.
The ancho chile is a dried poblano chile. It has mild to medium heat with a smoky quality and a sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. The word ancho means wide; the chiles are fairly large, about 3–4 inches long and about 2.5 inches wide. The skin is wrinkled and dark mahogany in color. Ancho chiles are used often in making mole.
The mulato chile is another variety of dried poblano chile. Mulato chiles are dried, fully mature poblano chiles, whereas poblano chiles harvested early for drying are called ancho chiles. The mulato chile is flat and wrinkled, and brownish-black in color.
The pasilla chile or chile negro is the dried form of the chilaca chili pepper. It is a long and narrow pepper with dark, wrinkled skin, mild to hot heat, and rich flavor.