Vegetarian Beans with a Simple Red Mole
The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.
Makes 7 cups.
12 ounces (about 2 cups) dry scarlet or black runner beans
2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste, divided
5 medium dried ancho chilies (2 1/2 ounces), stemmed and seeded
6 medium dried guajillo chilies (1 1/4 ounces), stemmed and seeded
1 morita (chipotle) chile, stemmed and seeded
6 ounces (1 medium to small or 2 small plum) tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 generous teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
Scant 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
3 tablespoons (about 3/4 ounces) coarsely chopped Mexican chocolate
3 to 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar, to taste
Soak the beans overnight. Rinse the beans, transfer into a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer gently for 2-3 hours, until the beans are tender. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, simmer another 20 minutes and drain.
Toasting the chiles: Heat a dry heavy skillet over medium heat. Lay a chile flat and press with a metal spatula for a few seconds, until there is a crackle or perhaps a thin wisp of smoke. Turn and toast the other side. Repeat with the remaining chiles. Transfer the toasted chilies to a medium bowl, cover with hot water, and allow the chiles to rehydrate for about 30 minutes. Drain and discard the water.
Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet for a minute or so until they start to pop. Scrape into a blender jar.
Dry roast the garlic and tomato in the skillet, turning occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, until soft and blackened in spots. Cool slightly, peel off the skins of the tomato and garlic, and transfer to a blender, along with the rehydrated chilies, cinnamon, oregano, pepper, chocolate, and 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth. Process until smooth. Strain through a medium-mesh strainer.
Heat the oil in a heavy, medium-sized saucepan over medium-high. Once the oil is hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle, add the puree all at once and stir for 3-4 minutes, until it’s thickened a bit. Add 1 1/2 cups of broth, stir, partially cover, and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons, and the sugar.
Stir the drained beans into the mole. Simmer for about 20 minutes, which will allow the beans to absorb the flavors, adding more broth if necessary to give a smooth consistency. Taste for salt and serve.