Beef Ribs with Smoky Raisin Mole
This Mexican chile pepper is called “Chilaca” when used fresh. In California the Poblano chile is often called Pasilla. Since most of these are bought and distributed from California this mislabeling often carries over into the supermarkets nationwide causing alot of confusion. This chile is very mild and is usually consumed in the dry form to make the famous Mexican ‘mole’ sauces.
Smoky Raisin Mole:
5 chile negro (dried chilaca pepper)
5 chile ancho (dried poblano pepper)
1 cup California raisins
1 cup ruby port
1/4 cup blanched almonds
2 pieces French bread
5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
5 Roma tomatoes
1 small onion, sliced
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
2 canned chipotle peppers
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground clove
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
salt, to taste
1/4 cup dry red wine
3 Tbsp. garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. cumin seeds, toasted and ground
2 Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano leaves
2 Tbsp. ancho chile powder
1 Tbsp. salt
5 pounds beef short ribs
salt and freshly cracked pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
6 parsley stems, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup Smokey Raisin Mole (See recipe)
toasted sesame seeds
To prepare the Smoky Raisin Mole:
Wipe the dried chiles clean with a damp cloth. Discard the stems and remove the seeds. Heat a griddle or saucepan and toast the chiles by pressing them onto the hot pan with a folded towel for about 10-15 seconds, until mottled and aromatic. Do not blacken.
Place the chiles in a large bowl and cover with hot water to soften for about 20 minutes.
Combine the raisins and port in small saucepan and bring to a simmer, then remove the pan from the heat and let the raisins steep in the port for 30 minutes.
In a 350F oven, toast the almonds and bread until they turn golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. In a dry pan over low heat, toast the garlic until it becomes slightly blackened and turns soft to the touch. Cool and peel the garlic. Roast the tomatoes under a broiler until they are blackened and soft, then cool and peel. Saute the onion in 2 Tbsp. of oil until they become translucent and are well caramelized, then set aside.
Drain the chiles, reserving the liquid, then peel and place them in a blender with the raisins and any of the remaining wine, almonds, bread, garlic, tomatoes, onion, chipotles, spices and cocoa. Process the ingredients, adding the reserved soaking liquid to thin the mixture, about 3-4 minutes. Make sure the paste is thick and smooth.
In a 6 quart saucepot over high heat, heat the remaining oil, and when it begins to smoke, add the chile paste all at once. Stir constantly over high heat and “sear” the mixture until it darkens and becomes a semi-solid paste.
To prepare the ribs:
In a mixing bowl, mix the first 6 ingredients together, and add the ribs and toss to coat. Pour the marinade and ribs into a plastic bag and marinate the ribs overnight in the refrigerator.
Next day, preheat an oven to 300F. Remove the from the plastic bag and pat dry the ribs with some paper towels. Season them generously with salt and freshly cracked peper, then dredge in the flour, shaking to remove any excess. In a large casserole or Dutch oven, heat the oil and brown the ribs on all sides, then remove them and set aside. Drain and discard all but about 2 Tbsp. of oil the from the pan. Return the container to the heat and add the onions and carrots, stirring briskly until they turn brown. Add the celery and cook a few minutes more, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the reserved marinade, parsley and chicken broth. Heat the mixture to boiling, then add the ribs and cover tightly. Place in the oven at 300F for 2 to 2-1/2 hours. When tender, remove the ribs and keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid into a medium saucepan and heat to a simmer, skimming off any fat. Add 3/4 of a cup of the mole paste, whisking until smooth. Adjust the consistency of the sauce by reducing if too thin or adding water if too thick. Return the ribs to the sauce and heat gently.
Divide and arrange the ribs on individual serving plates and spoon some of the sauce over each plate. Garnish the plates with some chopped cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. Serve hot.
Yields about 4 cups of mole sauce and serves 12 people.
Recipe from the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.