Roasted Root Vegetable Mole

This isn’t a traditional mole, I use Mexican peppers, but I add Molasses to give it body and a little sweetness.  Root vegetables work well and are seasonal, but sweet potatoes also are a delicious addition.  You can cook them in the stew or roast them and add them later.  I had bought a small sugar pumpkin and thought this would be a good use for it.  This is traditionally what I call a Larder recipe, so I make it with canned beans and canned tomatoes in the winter.  At this point in the season you could easily make it with fresh tomatoes and dried beans you have reconstituted.  Up to you.  Oh and as always this is always better the next day.

Roasted Root Vegetable Mole

My sugar pumpkin was a little over 2 1/2 pounds a little under once prepped.  Peel, and dice the flesh, reserve the seeds, rinsing them and letting them dry (I roast them at 375 until goldne brown about 12-15 minutes then  add salt, sugar, chili powder and a pinch of cinnamon and a teaspoon of melted unsalted butter.  Season to taste).  You can serve this as a snack or as a garnish on the stew.

Preheat oven 400 F.

Toss your prepared root vegetables in 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. In addition to sugar pumpkin I used 1 Turnip and 1 white yam.  These cook quicker so I put them on a separate cooking sheet to back.
After about 30 minutes in the oven turn the root veg over so they brown evenly.

When just cooked remove from the pan and put aside. Measure out 1 cup fo root veg and place on a cooking sheet.  When the Mole is finishing up cooking I like to roast this last cup fo veg until very crispy and serve as a garnish on top of the Mole. When they are crispy brown toss in a little salt and serve in a bowl on the side or if you are making a big bowl of Mole to serve on the table sprinkle them over the Mole with the other garnishes (see below).

You can do one of two things next either use commercial chili powder or make your own – I made my own.  If you buy pre-made powder it already has salt, cumin, oregano, peppers in it so you only need to add extra if you want.  If using chili powder use 3-4 Tablespoons otherwise here is what I did:

In a spice grinder (I use my coffee bean grinder) add a selection of dried Mexican peppers, 2 chipotle, 1 Mulato, 1 Poblano, 2 Ancho (Guajillo or Pasilla are good as well mix and match as you want).  Remove stems and seed and grind to a fine powder (you will have more than the recipe requires, but you may want to add more at the end – either way it keeps well in a covered jar).

Chop roughly Two large onions and 6-8 cloves of garlic chopped fine.

De stem and de seed 2-4 Jalapeno peppers (or serrano if you like it hotter)

In a large pot add 1/4 cup of olive oil heat till hot but not smoking over medium high heat, add the onions,  reduce heat to medium, cover and wilt for about 10 minutes, add the garlic and Jalapeno and cook for another 2 minutes.

Stir in 1 Tablespoon of cumin powder, 1 Tablespoon of dried Oregano, 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder, 2 Tablespoons of Mexican chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, 2 Teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

With a wooden spoon mix the spices into the aromatics and stirring frequently cook for about 5 minutes.

Add 2 Tablespoons of Molasses, 1 28 ounce tin of Whole Tomatoes (include the juice in the can) and 1 15 ounce can each of Black beans and Pinto (I like the mix but if you like one more than the other add all of one kind – up to you – in totally you should have about 3 cups of beans give or take a half cup) reduce heat to medium/low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the reserved roasted root veg, and 1 cup of roughly chopped Cilantro (stem and leaf).

As it cooks this Mole can get thick, I add water or more canned tomatoes to thin it out.

When the root vegetables are heated through, taste and re-season.

I serve this with grated sharp cheddar, sour cream, chopped red pepper and chopped cilantro – also a bottle of tabasco so people can spice it up as they like.

Goes great with corn bread or rice.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note: urbanfoodguy@gmail.com
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