This is a lighter, brighter Mexican mole that works very well with duck, chicken, turkey or quail. Once made, it keeps very well in the fridge and freezes well, too. Most of the unusual ingredients here can be found in any Latin market in America.
Course: Main Course, Sauce
Keyword: duck, mole
Author: Hank Shaw
2 to 3poundsduck legs and wings(or chicken or turkey)
1quartchicken or duck broth
2hot, dried chiles, broken up(optional)
10dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and deseeded(or New Mexican or California chiles)
12whole black peppercorns
1teaspoondried oregano, Mexican if possible
1small white or yellow onion, chopped
1/4cupraisins(golden, if possible)
Broth or stock(see below)
2hoja santa leaves(optional)
1/4cuplard or duck fat
2pintspureed tomatoes,fire-roasted if possible
13-ouncetablet of Mexican chocolate, grated
1/4 cuproughly chopped cilantro
1small white onion, sliced into rings
Put the duck and the broth, plus another quart or even two of water into a large, lidded pot and bring to a simmer. Add the remaining duck ingredients and salt to taste, then simmer, partially covered, until the meat is tender, but not falling off the bone. This usually takes 2 to 3 hours.
Soak the onion slices in the lime juice to make a quick pickle. Set this aside for now.
Meanwhile, make the mole. Start by setting the stemmed and seeded guajillo chiles into a bowl. Pour boiling water over them to cover, and then cover the bowl to let them steep for 30 minutes.
While that is happening, put the sesame seeds in a small frying pan and toast on high, tossing often, until they brown just a little. Keep an eye on them because sesame seeds can burn easily. Move to the bowl of a blender.
Using the same small frying pan, toast the peppercorns and cloves until aromatic. Move to a spice grinder and grind with the bay leaves, dried thyme and oregano, until mostly powdered. Add this to the bowl of the blender along with the cinnamon.
Add the chopped onion and garlic to the blender, along with the soaked chiles, and the blanched almonds and raisins. Add the hoja santa leaves if you have them. Blend until smooth. You will need broth for this or the blender won't spin right. You can take some from the duck pot, or use chicken broth. Most times I find I need at least a pint, sometimes more. Add salt to taste before you take the sauce from the blender.
Heat the duck fat or lard in a large, lidded pot over medium heat. Add the contents of the blender, plus the pureed tomatoes, and stir well. It will sputter at first, then emulsify. Simmer this 10 minutes, then stir in the grated Mexican chocolate. Simmer this very gently for 30 minutes to 1 hour. It should finish with the consistency of melted ice cream.
To finish, remove the duck from its pot and put in a bowl. Toss with a ladle of the mole. Give everyone some duck, add some more mole, and garnish with chopped cilantro and the lime-soaked onions.
NOTE: Hoja santa leaves are very tough to find, so skip them if your local Latin market does not have them. They'll be where the other dried herbs are.