Shrimp Mole Poblano with Black Bean and Corn Cakes

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.

Suggested Use:
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.

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Enough jumbo shrimp to feed your crowd, peeled (except for the tail) and deveined
Fresh cilantro, chopped for serving

For the Black Bean Cakes:
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp chopped garlice
1 small jalapeno, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 lb dried black beans
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
Kernels cut from two ears of corn
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1/4 cup vegetable oil

For the Mole Poblano Sauce:
2 ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
1 dried guajillo chile, stemmed and seeded
1 dried cascabel chile, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 Tbsp whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican, broken in pieces
1 Tbsp dried oregano
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves and small stems only
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 yellow onions, sliced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large jalapeno pepper, stemmed and seeded
6 canned plum tomatoes, chopped
2 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, Organic 70% dark, chopped


For the Mole Poblano Sauce:

Tear the dried chiles into large pieces and toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until they change color a bit, about 2 minutes. Put them into a bowl with the raisins and cover them with hot water. Soak until softened, about 30 minutes.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add the almonds, sesame seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, oregano, and thyme. Toast for 2 minutes, grind in a mini food processor, and add the resulting powder to a blender.

In the same skillet over medium-high heat add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook until lightly browned, then add the tomatoes. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 10 to 15 minutes, then add to the blender. Add the chocolate and the soaked chiles and raisins to the blender along with some of the chile soaking liquid. Puree, adding more soaking liquid as needed, to make a smooth sauce. (This makes about 4 cups sauce, any extra can be frozen).

For the Black Bean Cakes:
In a saucepan, over medium heat, add a tablespoon of the oil. When the oil is hot, add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the garlic, jalapenos, and black beans. Continue to saute for 1 minute. Add the water and bay leaf. Bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the beans are just tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the beans from the heat, toss the corn kernels into the pot, and let the mix cool completely and strain. In a food processor, fitted with a metal blade, puree 3/4 of the mixture until smooth. Add water if it becomes thick. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the processor and turn into a mixing bowl. Stir the remaining beans and corn into the pureed beans.

Season the flour, egg wash and bread crumbs with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide the mixture and form into individual rounds, about 1-inch thick. Dredge each cake in the seasoned flour. Dip each cake into the egg wash, letting the excess drip off. Dredge the cakes in the seasoned bread crumbs, coating completely. In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add the vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, pan fry until crispy, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.

For the Shrimp:
In a medium sized skillet, place about 1/4 cup of water and reduce until you have just a few tablespoons left in the pan. Turn the heat to low and add 4 tablespoons of the butter in chunks, swirling the pan as you do to create a simple mounted butter sauce.

Season the shrimp pieces with salt and pepper and place them in the sauce over a very low heat. Gently cook until the bottom of the shrimp is a pale orange, then flip them and continue to cook until just cooked through. Don’t let them go too long here or they’ll over-cook and get tough. Remove the pan from heat and let the shrimp rest there.

To plate:
Place a thin layer of the warm mole sauce in the bottom of a shallow bowl, pop a bean cake in the center of the sauce, and stack the shrimp around the cake. Sprinkle with fresh chopped cilantro and enjoy!

Recipe by Steve Dunn,