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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Three Chile Mole #CooktheBooks #FoodieReads

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

The June-July selection for our online Cook the Books group is Food Americana: The Remarkable People and Incredible Stories behind America’s Favorite Dishes by David Page. You can read the announcement by Simona of Briciole. So, if you care to join us, you have quite a bit of time; posts aren't due till the end of July.

I have already shared America On a Bun: Connecticut-Style Lobster Rolls. You can read my thoughts on the book there. And I have also posted Za'atar Bagels.

This post was inspired by this passage: "Many consider mole to be Mexico’s national dish. Broadly speaking, it is a sauce based on chile peppers, cooked with some combination of other ingredients, which can include nuts, seeds, fruit, and chocolate. Which ones, and in what combination, are open questions, which makes the possible permutations of mole virtually incalculable."

Recently, I have ordered mole at a couple of restaurants. Mole Amarillo, Mole Negro, and Mole Poblano.

Mole, which just means sauce - a sauce made with chiles. And Cesario Ruiz of My Mom's Mole who taught me likened it to curry. "It's a like a Mexican curry. You know, every cook has a different way of making it and each curry tastes different," Ruiz said. "And you can taste the time, love, and passion in each one."

"This is a big process," he says. "You have to fry each ingredient one by one. In the end, you blend." - Food Americana

This definitely takes time and I have tried to streamline the process by grouping them as they are prepared. Then they all come together in the end.


makes 6 to 8 cup of mole so you'll have lots and lots of leftovers for other dishes

Group 1

  • 7 to 8 pounds of pork, cut into large chunks

  • water

  • 1 carrot, chopped into large pieces

  • 1 onion, peeled and cut into large pieces

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 8 peppercorns

Group 2

  • 8 dried peppers (I used Guajillo Chile Pepper, Ancho Chile Pepper, and Chipotle Chile Pepper)

Group 3

  • 3 ounces raw almonds

  • 2 ounces raw pumpkin seeds

  • 8 Tablespoons raw sesame seeds

  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic

Group 4

  • 4 cloves

  • 1 Tablespoon cumin seeds

  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into small pieces

  • 1 star anise, broke into small pieces

  • 1 Tablespoon pepper seeds, reserved from Group 2 chiles

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 2 Tablespoons raisins

Group 5

  • 3 small corn tortillas

  • 1 piece bread

  • 3 fresh tomatillos

Group 6

  • salt, as needed

  • lard, as needed (don't be shy!)

  • 2 Tablespoons cacao powder


Group 1

Fill a large stockpot with water and bring it to a simmer. In a large, flat-bottom pan or skillet melt lard. Sear the pork pieces on all sides and carefully drop them into the water.

Heat the pan with another bit of lard. Cook the onions and carrots until they have a nice, golden color. Stir in the garlic and peppercorns. Sauté for a few more minutes and add them to the pork stock. Once the stock has boiled for at least 30 minutes, taste and add salt as needed.

Group 2

Using gloves, clean the peppers by removing the stems and seeds. Save the seeds as they will be used later.

Melt more lard in the skillet and sauté the peppers. They are delicate and you just need them warmed in the lard. Place the cooked peppers in a jar and pour in enough pork stock to cover the peppers. Every 15 minutes or so, turn the peppers in the stock, making sure they stay submerged.

Group 3

Melt 1 Tablespoon lard in a skillet and toast the nuts, toasting each type individually. When they are all golden brown, place them in the bowl. Toast the sesame seeds until they begin to pop. Place those in the bowl with the nuts, too.

Group 4

Melt 1 Tablespoon lard in the skillet and toast the spices. I started with the cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, chili pepper seeds, cumin seeds, and ended with the oregano and the raisins. Once toasted, place them in the bowl with the nuts and seeds.

Group 5

Toast the tortillas and bread in the skillet and set aside. Peel and rinse the tomatillos.

In a large blender or food processor, combine all of the ingredients from groups 2, 3, 4, and 5 into one large bowl - the peppers, the nuts, the spices, the tomatillos, the bread, and the tortillas.

Adding in stock, as needed, purée everything until the consistency you want. Make sure to grab some of the onions and carrots from the stock for added flavor.

In a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, pour in the purée. Bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cacao powder. Adjust seasoning as needed with more salt, if needed.

To serve, remove the pork pieces from the stock and place in a mixing bowl. Toss with as much mole as you want. Reserve the rest of the mole for future dishes. Serve over steamed rice.

Stay tuned for more Food Americana-inspired recipes. I will be sharing more soon. I am also linking this to our online #FoodieReads group. Here are the other readers' books for June.

36 views4 comments


Unknown member
Aug 05, 2023

I had so many quotes marked and I could have made a multitude of dishes. Glad you posted all your inspired-by recipes. Debra Eliot's Eats


Amy CookingAdventures
Amy CookingAdventures
Aug 05, 2023

Great choice for this book! It looks delicious


Simona Carini
Simona Carini
Aug 01, 2023

Definitely a labor of love, but worth the effort. Each cuisine has some dishes that take time and attention to detail, they are a kind of meditation in the kitchen. What I like about mole is the variety of ingredients that goes into making it. Love your photos and like how you structured the recipe by group. Thank you for yet another contribution to this edition of Cook the Books. Glad the book was so inspiring :)


Wendy Klik
Wendy Klik
Jun 24, 2023

Thats quite the project. I'll have to save it for the winter when i'm home for days on end,

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