Guajalote en Mole Teloloapense by Exec chef Geno Bahena http://www.chefgenobahena.com
Serves 12, with a generous amount (12 cups cups) of mole--you’ll likely have left over sauce for enchiladas the next day
16 medium (about 8 ounces) dried ancho chiles
22 medium (about 5 1/2 ounces) dried guajillo chiles
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) sesame seeds, unhulled if possible
1 small avocado leaf (or substitute 1 generous teaspoon aniseeed)
3 small bay leaves
About 1 1/2 inches cinnamon, preferably Mexican canela (you’ll need enough to yield about 1 1/2 teaspoons ground)
1 teaspoon whole black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
A heaping 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/3 teaspoon whole cloves
The pit from 1 avocado
2 slices dry firm white bread (or 1/2 dry Mexican bolillo roll, sliced 1/2 inch thick)
1 1/2 stale corn tortillas
2 cups rich-tasting lard or (or vegetable oil, if you want to)
1/3 cup unskinned almonds
1/3 cup unskinned peanuts (or Spanish peanuts)
1/3 cup hulled pumpkinseeds
1/3 cup raisins
1 medium white onion, sliced
9 garlic cloves, peeled
2 large (about 5 ounces total) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and cut into quarters
1 medium-large (8-ounce) tomato, cut into quarters
6 to 7 cups chicken or turkey broth
1 whole, boneless, (about 3 3/4-pound) turkey breast (the skin still on), cut in half
1 scant cup (about 5 ounces) finely chopped Mexican chocolate
Salt, about 3 tablespoons, depending on the saltiness of the broth
Sugar, about 1/3 cup
A bunch of flatleaf parsley, for garnish
1. Getting started. Pull the stems from the ancho chiles, tear them open and shake out the seeds, collecting them as you go. Pull out the seed pods (if they didn’t come out with the stems), remove any clinging seeds and tear the chiles into flat pieces. Do the same with the guajillos.
Measure 2 tablespoons of each of the chile seeds into a small skillet, along with the 3 1/2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds; set over medium heat. Stir for about 2 minutes, as the seeds toast to a golden brown and release a toasty spiceness into the kitchen--a good way to begin mole making. Scoop them into a spice grinder or mini-food processor. Return the skillet to the heat and toast the avocado leaf (if you’re using one) until aromatic, a few seconds on each side; crumble the leaf (or measure the aniseed) into the spice grinder, the add the bay leaves, cinnamon, pepper, thyme, marjoram and cloves. Pulverize everything and transfer to a large bowl. With a small hand grater, finely grate about 1 teaspoon of the avocado pit and add to the bowl.
If the bread and tortillas are not thoroughly dried out, dry them on a rack in a 300-degree oven.
2. The browning. Set out a large tray lined with several layers of paper towels. Heat a generous 1/2-inch depth of lard or oil (it should take about 2 cups) in a medium-size (9-inch) skillet set over medium. When hot, fry the chiles a few at a time, turning nearly constantly, until toasted (you’ll notice a change in color and a deliciously spicy aroma), about 20 to 30 seconds per batch. Reduce the temperature to medium-low if the chiles start to toast too quickly. As they’re fried, drain them well on the towel-lined tray, then transfer to a large bowl. Cover the fried chiles with very hot water to rehydrate and let stand 30 minutes, stirring frequently to insure even soaking. Strain the chiles over a bowl and taste the chile soaking liquid: if it’s bitter, discard it.
One item at a time, fry the almonds, peanuts, then pumpkinseeds until thoroughly toasted (about 1 minute for almonds, and 30 to 60 seconds for peanuts and pumpkinseeds), using a slotted spoon or skimmer to remove each to the towel-lined tray for draining. In the same fashion, fry and drain the raisins: they’ll puff quickly and be browned in 20 to 30 seconds; watch closely--they burn easily.
Fry the bread, turning regularly, until golden, then fry the tortillas. Drain both on the tray, then transfer bread, tortillas, almonds, peanuts, pumpkinseeds and raisins to the bowl with the pulverized seeds.
Pour the lard remaining in the skillet through a fine mesh strainer into a very large pot (preferably a 9-quart Dutch oven or Mexican cazuela). Wipe the skillet clean and add back just enough lard to coat the bottom. Return the skillet to the medium heat, and add the onion and garlic. Fry, stirring regularly, until soft and deep golden, about 8 minutes. With the slotted spoon or skimmer, remove to the bowl with the pulverized seeds.
Finally, add the quartered tomatillos and tomato to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, falling apart and richly golden, about 10 minutes. Scrape in with the pulverized seeds. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of the broth.
3. The turkey. Set the Dutch oven or cazuela over medium-high heat. When hot, sprinkle the turkey breast halves all over with salt, then lay in the pan skin-side down. (If your pan can’t comfortably accommodate both halves, brown them one at a time.) When well-browned underneath, about 10 minutes, flip and brown the other side. Remove to a rack set over a plate and set the pan aside to be used in the following step.
4. From ingredients to mole. Strain the chiles over a bowl and taste the chile soaking liquid: if it’s bitter, discard it. Place 1/3 of the chiles in a blender, and add 1/2 cup of the soaking liquid (or, if it was discarded because of bitterness, use chicken broth) process to a smooth puree, then press through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding the strained out chile skins. Repeat two more time to puree and strain all remaining chiles.
Scoop half of the seed mixture into your blender (no need to wash the blender container), process to a smooth puree, then strain (as you did the chiles) into a separate bowl. Puree and strain the remaining seed mixture in the same fashion, and add to the bowl.
Pour off all but a thin coating of the lard in the Dutch oven or cazuela and set over medium-high heat. When quite hot, add the chile puree all at once and cook, stirring nearly constantly, until reduced and much darker, about 10 minutes. Add the seed puree, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until everything is very reduced once again, about 30 minutes.
Stir in 4 cups of the broth and the chocolate, partially cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 45 minutes or so, to meld the flavors. Taste and generously season with salt and sugar, remembering that it should be slightly sweet and that the turkey will absorb some of the salt as it braises. (If you prefer a smoother sauce, this is the time to reblend it in batches in a loosely covered blender until smooth and satiny.)
5. Braising and serving the turkey. Nestle the turkey into the mole, basting it generously if any is exposed. Cover with a lid or foil, place in a preheated 325-degree oven and bake, basting exposed turkey frequently, until cooked through, about 40 minutes (the USDA tells us it should cook to 170 degrees, though I am personally willing to assume responsibility for eating my turkey cooked to 145 or 150 degrees--the right temperature, I believe, for the moistest breast). Let cool for half an hour in the sauce to finish cooking and reabsorb juices, then, with the help of tongs, meat forks and/or spatulas, transfer the turkey to a cutting board, leaving as much sauce as possible in the pan. Cut into thick slices, laying them partially overlapping onto a very large warm serving platter. Spoon the mole over and around the turkey, sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds and decorate with big tufts of flatleaf parsley. Serve with a celebratory flourish, and lots of extra mole and warm tortillas on the side.
((Chef Geno, USDA says turkey breast should be cooked to 170--do we want to say anything about their recommendations and overcooking?))
((Geno comments: for a very special occasion, there’s so much complexity to the sauce. a roundness and depth to it. reblended sauce is really gorgeous and smooth but not reblended is a little more rustic and equally great.))
((Clementina my mother comments: a very well-written recipe. maybe you can talk about the difficulty of a recipe like this and why you chose to organize it as such. remind the cook to be organized before starting the frying and then it will go like a breeze. also very important to say here that the mole, and browned turkey could be made completely in advance leaving only the 40 minutes of baking. I found it to be the most scary of the book’s recipes--largely due to the long ingredient list-- but at the same time the most satisfying to make. I enjoyed all of the steps--who has ever fried a raisin before?! It would be terrific to make this with a fellow food-lover as an afternoon project for a dinner party.))