The beauty of this time of year: we get to move straight from a candy hangover to spicy mole. Happy Día de los Muertos. If the idea of spending several hours making a batch of the traditional Mexican sauce isn't tops on your recovery agenda today, you can pick up a jar of locally made San Angel Mole and you're nearly there.
Yes, we know. Jarred mole. It sounds like a bottled marinara sauce travesty. But this recipe was developed by chef Tim McCarthy, a Lucques and Patina alum. He makes three jarred sauces: their twist on the traditional chocolate and toasted nut-based mole negro (Tim likes to serve it with duck this time of year), a red version inspired by mole poblano (the dried red chile-based sauce from Puebla), and a smoky cascabel chile sauce (great to slow-cook pot roast or cubed beef, or use as a cheese enchilada sauce).
Originally, Tim and his wife, Florence Guerrero McCarthy, were going to call the company Cien Abuelitas (100 Grandmothers) after the Oaxacan women who traditionally grind away on metates (3-legged pestles) to make mole. San Angel won out in the end. (Tim was inspired by Florence's family heritage to create the sauces.) "They all had to pass my taste test," says Florence, grinning.
We're particularly keen on the spicy red mole. It's great with chicken, pork or vegetables (Tim's tip: Serve it over roasted butternut squash). If you want a thicker, more traditional sauce, spoon the sauce directly over cooked meats after thinning it with a little water or stock, as the McCarthys suggest in the recipe section of their website. For more of a stew-like dish, simmer uncooked chicken thighs and sliced onions in the sauce, as we did (excellent). You could also toss all the ingredients in a slow cooker and call it a Día de los Muertos sort of day.
More fun with mole: