Thursday, June 24, 2010

Quick Skillet Steak Mole

I love a good mole poblano sauce - the thick, rich, chocolate-tinged sauce reputedly made so famous in the 16th century by the nuns of the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla de los Angeles, in the city of Puebla, Mexico.  Well, there are other legends as to the origin of this yummy dish but this is my personal favorite.

The nuns needed a dish to serve the Archbishop who was coming to visit, and this recipe was given to them after much prayer by an angel who came to give them divine, right?

Anyway, these nuns, legend has it, made mole poblano by grinding different types of chiles together with spices, day-old bread, nuts, a little chocolate and approximately 20 other ingredients.  

This mixture was then cooked and simmered and bubbled for hours and was reduced to a thick, sweet, rich and fragrant sauce.

Once they had this divine and luscious sauce made, they killed the only animal they had on hand (which was an unfortunate old turkey), the strange sauce was ladled over it and voilĂ !  Mole Poblano was immaculately conceived for the Archbishop's dinner.

The Archbishop was thrilled with this wonderful dish at his dinner and the nuns saved face with a little prayer and a divinely inspired recipe. Little did they know they were creating the Mexican National dish for holidays and feasts, and that today, millions of people worldwide have at least heard of Mole Poblano - well, I don't know about millions but lots have...

 Anyway - I was hungry for something delicious to go with some sirloin steak and I adapted a quick mole sauce for dinner tonight.  Needless to say, I don't have a bunch of nuns handy, and I am not in the mood after work to gather various chiles, spices, day-old bread, nuts,chocolate and approximately 20 other ingredients out of my pantry to make a little drizzle for my steak.

I like a lot of sauce so this recipe makes enough to bathe four really big sirloin steaks in a generous amount of mole.  It can be halved and even quartered but I'd just make the whole amount and freeze it if you don't want to use it all...

I also used my electric skillet and a blender so the mess and clean up were kept at a minimum.


4 steaks (sirloin, hangar, strip - whatever you like is fine)

salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin to season

4 tablespoons oil 

2 red onions coarsely chopped
2 packages of sliced mushrooms

4 cups (32 oz) of crushed tomatoes
1 cup of low-salt chicken broth
1 cup of low salt beef broth
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate (I used 60% cacao Ghiradelli chips)
1 generous tablespoon of canned adobo chipotle chilies and sauce (or to taste)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons cumin

Sliced avocado (optional)
Fresh chopped cilantro to garnish


1.  Season steaks with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin.

2. Cook steaks in a little oil in a hot electric skillet - 400 F - (or pan) to sear,  brown and cook meat to desired doneness.

3.  Remove steaks to platter and cover to rest.

4.  Add onions and mushrooms to pan and cook until onion and mushrooms are soft and lighty browned.

5.  Add remaining ingredients to pan - tomatoes, broth, chocolate, chilies and spices - and simmer for a few minutes until chocolate is melted and ingredients are combined.

6.  Transfer mixture in batches to a blender and blend until smooth (mixture is hot so do not fill blender more than half full to avoid splattering and a potentially bad mess).  You can also use an immersion blender if you like...

7.  Add sauce back to pan and then either serve over steaks - or like I do, simmer the steaks in the sauce for a bit before serving.

To serve, put steak on a plate (whole or cut into strips), garnish with sliced avocado and chopped cilantro.

While it is definitely worth it to make an authentic Mole Poblano if you have the time (Rick Bayless has a GREAT recipe), this one will ease your craving - or give you a taste - without logging all the hours required to do so!


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