Mole de olla is a traditional Mexican dish that has been passed down from generation to generation. It is a hearty stew that is typically made with beef, vegetables, and a variety of herbs and spices. One of the key ingredients in mole de olla is chocolate, which adds a rich, deep flavor to the dish. In this article, we will explore the history of mole de olla, the ingredients used in the dish, and provide a step-by-step guide on how to make the best mole de olla recipe.
History of Mole de Olla
Mole de olla originated in the central region of Mexico, particularly in the states of Hidalgo and Tlaxcala. The word "mole" comes from the Nahuatl word "mōlli", which means "sauce". The dish has been around for centuries and has become a staple in Mexican cuisine.
Traditionally, mole de olla was a peasant dish made with whatever ingredients were available. The dish was often prepared in large pots over an open flame, giving it a smoky flavor. Over time, the dish evolved and became more refined, with the addition of different herbs, spices, and vegetables.
Today, mole de olla is a popular dish in many Mexican households and is often served during special occasions and holidays.
Ingredients for Mole de Olla
The ingredients for mole de olla can vary depending on the region and the family recipe. However, there are some key ingredients that are typically used in the dish.
Beef: Mole de olla is traditionally made with beef, usually a tough cut like chuck or brisket. The beef is cut into cubes and then simmered in a rich broth.
Vegetables: The most common vegetables used in mole de olla are potatoes, carrots, and green beans. These vegetables are chopped into bite-sized pieces and added to the pot along with the beef.
Herbs and spices: Mole de olla typically includes a variety of herbs and spices, including bay leaves, oregano, and cumin. Cilantro is also often added at the end for a fresh, herbaceous flavor.
Chocolate: Chocolate is a key ingredient in mole de olla and adds a rich, complex flavor to the dish. Traditionally, Mexican chocolate is used, which is made with sugar, cinnamon, and almonds. However, dark chocolate can be used as a substitute.
Chilies: Mole de olla typically includes dried chilies, which are rehydrated and blended into a paste. The chilies add a spicy, smoky flavor to the dish.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making Mole de Olla
Now that we've covered the history and ingredients of mole de olla, let's dive into the step-by-step guide for making the best mole de olla recipe.
- 2 lbs beef chuck or brisket, cut into cubes
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 potatoes, chopped
- 1 cup green beans, chopped
- 3 dried ancho chilies
- 2 dried pasilla chilies
- 1 dried guajillo chili
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp almonds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 2 oz Mexican chocolate or dark chocolate
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Fresh cilantro, chopped (for garnish)
Toast the dried chilies, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn them. Transfer to a blender.
In the same skillet, brown the beef cubes on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the toasted spices and the cinnamon to the blender with the chilies and pulse until finely ground.
Add the spice mixture to the skillet with the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until fragrant.
Add the beef broth, browned beef, bay leaves, oregano, cumin, and black peppercorns to the skillet. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the beef is tender.
Add the chopped carrots, potatoes, and green beans to the skillet and continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Add the Mexican chocolate or dark chocolate to the skillet and stir until melted and well combined.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot, garnished with chopped cilantro.
Tips for Making the Best Mole de Olla:
Use high-quality beef for the best flavor and texture.
Toasting the dried chilies and spices before blending them intensifies their flavors and aromas.
Be patient and let the beef simmer for a few hours until it's tender and flavorful.
Adding the chocolate at the end gives the mole de olla a rich and complex flavor.
Adjust the spiciness level to your liking by adding more or fewer chilies.
Mole de olla is a comforting and flavorful Mexican dish that's perfect for cold winter days or any time you're craving a hearty stew. Follow this recipe and tips for making the best mole de olla and impress your family and friends with your culinary skills!