Chef Akhtar Nawab of New York City's Choza Taqueria makes a simple mole from charred tomatillos, serrano chiles and garlic laced with smoky cumin, cinnamon and clove. The real game changer, however, is the addition of roasted pistachios, resulting in an earthy sauce that's just as at home atop fish as roast chicken or pork.
To learn more, read "Holy Mole."
Recipe adapted from Akhtar Nawab, Choza Taqueria, New York City
Yield: 1½ quarts
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3 pounds tomatillos
2 serrano chiles, stemmed
4 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds, toasted
2 whole cloves
3 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
1½ cups shelled unsalted pistachios, roasted
1 packed cup cilantro leaves
Salt, to taste
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, red onion, tomatillos, chiles and garlic and toss, making sure everything is evenly coated with oil. Transfer to an aluminum-lined sheet tray and place on the middle rack under a broiler, gently stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are deeply charred but not burnt, 25 to 30 minutes.
2. Remove the sheet tray from the oven and transfer the vegetables to a medium saucepan placed over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon, cumin, cloves and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the pistachios and cilantro and cook for an additional 10 minutes.
3. Working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender on high speed until smooth. Season with salt; cool, then refrigerate or freeze until needed. Serve with grilled whole fish or braised chicken legs.
*This article was originally published on 09/10/2014 by Tasting Table editors. The restaurant, chef and/or recipe are in no way affiliated with or endorsing the featured sponsor.