Monthly Archives: May 2012

Molé Raviolé, Part 2

Now that the molé is prepared, we can start on the filling for our raviolis.  Chicken Molé is classic.  Making the molé (ahead of time for the chocolate dinner) took most of the day, and I was so ready to be done cooking!  It seemed silly that after spending so much time in the kitchen, we would still need to make dinner.  Luckily, the molé made far more than I was going to need for Au Chocolate.  So, I poured some of the sauce back into the pot, added some chicken thighs, and simmered until cooked through.  Garnished it with a little lime, sesame seeds, and fresh cilantro.  It was fantastic.

For the dinner, I wanted to encapsulate that taste combo inside of a chocolate pasta shell.  And for the most part, it worked!

Molé Raviolé

For the filling:

2 T Olive Oil

1 Small-Medium Onion, Minced

2 Cloves Garlic, Minced

1/2 Pound of Ground Chicken

1 Cup Molé

Zest of 1 Lime, Chopped

2 T Cilantro, Chopped

Salt and Pepper

Heat a large saute pan over medium-low, then add the olive oil.  When the oil is hot add the onion and garlic and cook until soft, stirring frequently to keep from burning.

Turn heat up to medium and add the chicken.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Stir, breaking up the ground meat chunks as needed.  Remember we’re going to be making raviolis.

When most of the pink has browned out of the chicken, about 5 minutes, stir in the molé.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a maintain a slow simmer.  Now stir in the lime zest.

Let the sauce reduce until most of the liquid has cooked out, about 20-30 minutes.  Turn off the heat and stir in the cilantro.  Allow the filling to cool before filling the pasta.

For the Pasta:

1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour

3 T Cacao Powder, Unsweetened

1 Extra Large Egg

1 T Water

Combine the flour and the cacao powder until well mixed.  Mound with the flour on your work surface.  Make a crater in the center of the mound and crack in your egg.

With a fork, whisk the yolk into the whites, then slowly start working in the flour,  scraping from the inner sides of the crater.  When the egg and flour starts to firm up and form a loose dough, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty.  Push the outer ring of flour onto the egg mixture and scoop up the dough into a ball.

Knead the dough, incorporating more flour if needed.  Once the dough takes on a bit of shine and is no longer sticking to your fingers, you can proceed to the rolling stage.

I used a pasta machine.  About halfway through the rolling, I cut the sheet of pasta in half.  I covered one half with plastic wrap and continued to roll out the other.  I brought it to the next to last thinness setting and then did the same thing with the other sheet.  The goal is to have two equal sized sheets of pasta.  If you do not have a machine, you can definitely do this with a rolling pin.  Bring it to about 1/8 inch thickness.

Lay one sheet flat (keeping the other under plastic wrap) and with the water in a little bowl, lightly mark some squares with a pastry brush.  In the center of those squares, place about a tablespoon or so of the filling.  Next, lightly go over the edges of square with the pastry brush and water.

Lay the second sheet of pasta over the filling.  Gently press down around the filling.  Try to minimize air pockets while also not tearing the pasta.  If you do tear the pasta, no worries, just make a little pasta patch with some of the scrap dough, pinch it flat between your fingers and glue it over the tear with a little water.  Cut the raviolis into squares and lightly, but firmly mark the edges with a fork.  Trim up any rough edges.

Delicately, toss the raviolis with a little flour to keep them from sticking.  For this tasting menu I made large single raviolis; one for each plate.  I ended up with 6 or 7 total.

Putting it all together…

Bring a large pot of salted water to a full boil over high heat.   In a small pot heat about 3 cups of the molé over medium-low.

When the water is boiling, gently add the raviolis, depending on the size of your pot you may not be able to cook them all at once.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes or until the pasta is tender.  I like to make a couple of tester strips of pasta and cook them with the raviolis, so I can pull them out to taste their progress.  During the cooking process the raviolis will likely float.  If they do, flip them over halfway through so they can cook evenly.

When the pasta pockets are ready, ladle about a half cup of the molé onto the center of a plate.  With a slotted spoon or skimmer, scoop up a ravioli and let it drain briefly.  Place the ravioli on top of the molé, garnish with sesame seeds, lime wedge and cilantro.

As previously mentioned, this final photo was a bit after the fact.  When it was served the ravioli was totally not curling up at the corners and the sesame seed garnish is strangely absent here, but it still looks pretty good, I think.

I served this with a South Side Cocktail.  Stay tuned.


Molé Raviolé, part 1 – Au Chocolat #4

Fifth course – Part 1, Making the Molé

Tell someone your making a chocolate dinner or that you are using chocolate for a savory dish and they’ll think molé.  This happened several times to me when I would tell people what I was planning to do.  I’m guilty of it too, since it was the first thing I considered when I started brainstorming the dinner.  Anticipating this, I decided to take the molé in a bit of a different direction and use it as a filling for ravioli.  Then, I thought, to add a bit more novelty, I would make the pasta with chocolate powder.

For the molé sauce, I borrowed from Rick Bayless.  Below is with my variation with only some slight changes.

Oaxacan Black Molé

4 Ancho chilies, dried

3 Negro chilies, dried

2 Guajillo chilies, dried

1 Large Onion (I used yellow, Bayless would tell you to use white, though)

3 cloves Garlic

1/4 + 3 T Cup Peanut Oil

1/4 Cup Almonds

1/4 Cup Spanish Peanuts

1/4 Cup Peacans

1/4 Cup Sesame Seeds

8 Cups Chicken Broth

1/2 Cup Sultanas (Golden Raisins)

4 Tomatillos, husked and quartered

4 Plum Tomatoes, peeled (I used canned)

1/2 Cup Tomato Juice (from the above can)

1/2 tsp Coriander Seeds

1/4 tsp Cloves, ground

1/2 tsp Black Pepper, ground

1/2 tsp Cinnamon, ground

1/2 tsp Cumin, ground

1 tsp Oregano, ground (use fresh if you have it)

1/2 tsp Thyme, fresh

1/2 Banana, ripe

1/2 Cup Bread crumbs (homemade are best)

1-2 Chipotles in adobo

1/2 Cup Chocolate (Unsweetened or Bittersweet)

1 Bay Leaf

1 tsp Anise Seed

1/4 Cup Turbinado Sugar

1 T Salt, Kosher

Additional Salt and Pepper to taste

This is probably the most ingredients I have ever used to make just one dish.  Plan on spending most the day making this.

Alright, here we go:

Stem and seed the dried chilies.  Discard the stems and add about half of the seeds to a dry skillet over medium high heat until they are black, shaking the pan periodically, if you had a corn tortilla on hand go ahead and tear it into pieces and blacken it with the seeds.  You’re going to want the exhaust fan on for this.

Once they’re nice and charred, transfer them to a mesh strainer and rinse with running water for 30 seconds or so.  Add them to the food processor.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Toss the unpeeled cloves of garlic to the same pan and toast.  Turning the garlic as needed to get an even blackening, about 10 minutes.

Remove the garlic and add the sliced onion, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and cook until dry and slightly blackened, another 10-15 minutes; turning frequently so that they don’t burn.

Peel the garlic and add it, and the onions to the food processor along with the chili seeds.  Pour 1/2 cup of chicken broth into the food processor and puree until smooth.  Transfer that puree to a bowl and set aside.  Don’t worry about cleaning or even rinsing the processor, we’re going to use it again.

On a sheet pan, add the almonds, peanuts, and pecans and pop them in the oven to toast just until fragrant about 5 minutes.  Then add the sesame seeds and toast for another 3-4 minutes.

In the saute pan add 1/4 cup of the peanut oil.  When the oil is hot add the dried chilies and fry, turning to cook on both sides, until aromatic, about 1-2 minutes.

Depending on the size of your pan you may want to saute these in batches.  Let cool/drain on paper towels for a few minutes then transfer to a bowl along with the sultanas.

Cover with warm water and let soak for about 30 minutes.

Add nuts to the food processor with 1 1/2 cups of broth and puree.  Transfer to another bowl.

Now add the tomatillos, tomatoes, and 1/2 cup of tomato juice (or broth if you used fresh tomatoes) to the food processor and puree.  Transfer that puree to yet another bowl.

Next for the food processor: coriander seeds, cloves, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, oregano, thyme, banana, and bread crumbs, 3/4 cup broth and puree.  Transfer to a bowl.

Now drain the chilies and sultanas for the water, reserving the soaking liquid.  Put the chilies and sultanas in the food processor with the chipotles and 1/4 cup of the soaking liquid then puree.

Heat a large pot over medium.  Add 3 T of peanut oil, when it shimmers add the tomato puree.  Reduce until about the consistency of tomato paste, 15-20 minutes.

Add the the nut puree and the blackened seed/onion/garlic puree, stir it in and reduce until thick and pasty, another 10 minutes or so.  Next mix in the banana/spice puree and cook for another 5 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium-low.  Add the chili puree and reduce, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes.  You want it to end up thick and dark.

Now stir in 5 cups of broth plus 2 cups of soaking liquid and bring to a simmer.  Add 1/2 cup chopped chocolate, bay leaf, anise seeds, and continue to simmer partly covered for an hour.  I ended up getting a wild hair and decided to practice making my own chocolate from cacao nibs.  We’ll delve more into this on a future blog.

It would definitely, be easier to just use already made chocolate.   In that case, I would recommend Taza’s Mexicano Stone Ground Chocolate disc.

Next, add the turbinado sugar and the salt.  I used an immersion blender to puree the molé again before pressing the whole lot through a medium mesh strainer into a large bowl.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt, pepper, sugar, etc.

The molé can be made several days in advance.  Up next , we’ll mix up some filling, pasta, and put it all together.

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