JULY 2018 | Wai Lin Coultas
LEGEND HAS it that poor convent nuns in colonial Puebla created the mole for the visiting archbishop by throwing together, in panic, left over chilli peppers, spices, day-old bread, nuts and chocolate to sauce over their old turkey.
Marrying the essence of this much-treasured Mexican national dish with the Australian love for a hearty beef stew yields a sumptuous mole, beautifully complemented by warm basmati rice deliciously fragranced with leafy veg and herbs; perfect for supping by the log fire.
600 g chuck tender, cut into 2 cm sided cubes ¾ tsp chilli flakes 3 tbsp ground cumin 3 tbsp ground cinnamon 3 star anise 1 large fennel bulb, chopped and fronds kept 2½ tbsp garlic paste 100 g sultanas 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter 2 tbsp hot chilli sauce 60 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), roughly chopped 1 x 400 g tin whole tomatoes, pureed in its juices 100 ml red wine 200 ml water 2 x 400 g tin butter beans and juices ½ lemon, juiced 2 tbsp sour cream iodised salt canola oil 2 large limes, quartered 10 handfuls basmati rice, cooked in seasoned chicken stock and kept warm 1 handful spinach leaves, finely chopped 1 handful flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped 1 handful lemon verbena leaves, finely chopped
1. Preheat oven to fan-forced 190C.
2. In large cast iron pot, dry toast chilli flakes, cumin, cinnamon and star anise over medium flame till you can smell the fragrant spices.
3. Add oil to spices to brown beef on all sides.
4. Add fennel, garlic paste, sultanas, peanut butter, chilli sauce, chocolate, butter beans and their juices, pureed tomatoes, red wine and water; bringing to a boil.
5. Bake covered pot in oven for 2h 30min.
6. After removing star anise and stirring in lemon juice, sour cream and salt, cover and serve 10 minutes later.
7. Meanwhile, stir spinach, parsley and lemon verbena into warm rice.
8. Serve beef mole and herb rice garnished with fennel fronds and slices of lime.
Photo | Wai Lin Coultas