Red peanut mole sauce

I don’t usually just post a recipe for a sauce, but in the name of saving some space and giving you a wonderful sauce that you can use for any other recipe, that is what I will be doing.

Peanut butter has always been one of my favorite spreads, and a couple years ago I remember having a peanut noodle dish (found more in Thai cuisine) that I absolutely loved. So when I saw this recipe for a red peanut mole, I couldn’t wait to try it. I’ve adapted the one here from Truly Mexican.

Now, this recipes does take a little bit of time, but that’s mainly because the ingredients are fried individually (I’m sure you can try baking or maybe even sauteing if you like).

What you’ll need:

red peanut mole ingredients copy
Some of the ingredients you’ll need.

1/4 cup mild olive or or vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup (5 ounces) shelled skinless peanuts
1 large sweet apple (McIntosh or Gala), cored and cut into 8 wedges
1/2 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 1/3 oz guajillo chiles, wiped clean, stemmed, slit open, seeded and deveined
3 dried chipotle moras, wiped clean and stemmed
1/3 cup pitted prunes
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 corn tortilla
5 – 6 cups chicken or beef stock (in a pinch water works as well)
2 tsp kosher salt

Putting it all together:

First, place a metal sieve over a large bowl and keep it near the stove (this is where you’ll be transferring your fried ingredients to).

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Fry the following ingredients individually and then transfer to the sieve with a slotted spoon:

  • garlic cloves, turning occasionally, until golden brown. About 3 minutes.
  • peanuts, stirring continuously, until a deep golden brown and very aromatic. About 3 minutes.
  • apple wedges, turning occasionally until lightly browned and soft. About 5 minutes.
  • onion, until soft and lightly browned. About 3 minutes.
  • chiles, 2 0r 3 at a time, turning only once, 10 – 20 second per batch. (Be careful not to burn them)
  • prunes, turning once, until they blister and puff slightly. About 1 minute.

There will be a little oil left. Use it to quickly fry the spices. Mix together the allspice, cinnamon, coriander, and cumin. Add them to the skillet, stirring for a few seconds to release their aroma. This is the first time I’ve ever fried spices before, and the aroma was amazing, especially after the lingering smell of the peanuts. Transfer spices and remaining oil to bowl with fried ingredients.

Fried ingredients
Fried ingredients soaking in water.

Next, heat the tortilla. If you have a gas stove top, you can do this directly over the open flame, using tongs to turn the tortilla frequently until it’s dark golden brown on both sides. For those of us with electric, heat a small (un-oiled) skillet on medium-high heat. Keep turning the tortilla until dark golden brown on both sides. Crumble into the fried ingredients

Add 3 cups of the stock to the fried ingredients and soak for 20 minutes. If you’re like me and didn’t read the recipe completely before going food shopping and you don’t have any type of broth on hand, you’ll be using water. It still turned out pretty well though.

Working in 2 batches, puree everything in the bowl in a blender, adding half the salt and 1 cup of the remaining stock (water) to each batch, until very smooth. This will take about 3 – 5 minutes.

Pour the mole into a heavy 5 – 6 quart pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Swish some water in the blender and add it to the sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer the mole for 30 minutes, stirring frequently. (Note: this mole will splatter a bit, either use a splatter screen or be careful when lifting the lid).

red peanut mole
The finished mole.

Once you’ve reached this point, you have a couple options. You can add some poached (or otherwise cooked) chicken, pork or beef (cooking for another 15 minutes) and serve on top of rice, or use as a sauce for quesadillas, enchiladas, tacos, tamales, or even empanadas.

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