Filet Mignon in Red Chile and California Raisin Mole with Avocado and Cilantro Sprigs
Ancho (Ahn-cho) Chile (Capsicum Annum) means Wide Chile Pepper. This chile ranges from 3 – 4 on a heat scale of 1 to 10. An Ancho is the dried form of a Poblano Pepper and often is mislabeled as a Pasilla or Mulato Pepper. Anchos have sweet fruity flavor with hints of cherry, prune, and fig. Anchos, combined with the Pasilla and Guajillo, form the Holy Trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces. Scoville heat units are 1,000 to 3,000.
Anchos are great in salsa, soups, enchilada and any sauce needing mild heat and chile flavor. Chopped, pureed or ground, they can be added directly to your recipes.
6 filet mignon (6 oz. each)
salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Red Chile and Raisin Mole:
2 ancho chiles
6 large whole allspice berries
12 cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup California raisins
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 white corn tortilla, cut into eighths
3 cups chicken broth or water
1/4 fresh hoja santa leaf or 1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, hulled
1/4 cup pecan pieces
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate
1 large ripe Haas avocado; peeled, seeded and cut into 12 slices
18 cilantro sprigs
Searing the Filets:
Lightly season the filets with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 10″ to 12″ skillet or sautepan that is approximately 3″ deep until very hot. Sear the filets quickly on each side leaving them very rare. Do not overcrowd the skillet. Transfer the seared filets to a plate and reserve. With a paper towel, wipe the saute pan clean of any excess oil and use for the next step.
Red Chile and Raisin Mole:
Heat the skillet over medium heat and lightly toast the ancho chiles, turning frequently. The chiles are done when they become aromatic and puff up slightly. Caution – Do not allow the chiles to burn. Remove the chiles and allow to cool. Remove and discard the stems and seeds, then tear the chiles into small pieces and reserve.
In the same sautepan, add the allspice berries and cumin seeds and lightly toast, then add the oregano and quickly toast. Add the butter to the sautepan with the spice and heat until sizzling.
Add the raisins and stir to lightly saute. Remove and reserve approximately 2 Tbsp. of the raisins for garnish. Then, add the garlic cloves, chopped onions and tortilla pieces to the skillet and saute until nicely browned and aromatic. Stir frequently. Carefully, stir in the chicken broth and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the hoja santo and salt and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool for 15 minutes or more.
In a second skillet over medium heat, add the pumpkin seeds and toast while stirring, until the seeds puff and pop. Remove the pumpkin seeds and reserve. Similarly, toast the pecan pieces until lightly toasted, then remove and reserve. When the simmered ingredients have cooled sufficiently enough to safely puree, transfer the ingredients and the liquid to a blender. Add the pumpkin seeds and pecans (but reserve approximately 1 Tbsp. of each for garnish). Puree the sauce until smooth, then transfer the puree back to the same deep sautepan. Bring the sauce to a simmer and add the chocolate. Stir until well mixed. If the sauce appears a little thick, add a little water to thin. Return the filets to the sauce and spoon some of the sauce over each filet. Slowly cook the filets in the barely-simmering sauce for approximately 5 minutes or to desired doneness. Turn the filets over approximately half way through the cooking period.
Place a filet in the center of each dinner plate and spoon some of the Red Chile and Raisin Mole sauce over each filet. Distribute some of the reserved raisins, pumpkin seeds and pecans around each filet, and place 2 avocado slices on top of each filet. Garnish with some cilantro sprigs.
Recipe by Chef Robert Del Grande, from a post on www.calraisins.org.