Grilled Turkey Tacos with Coffee Mole

Sep 11, 2007 by bartolimu | 0 Comments| Share it:   

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Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce, especially common and diverse in the Oaxaca region. While the most well-known variants (at least to Americans) are famous for their inclusion of chocolate, there is no set list of ingredients. Every family has their own recipe. Common themes include the use of multiple nuts and anywhere from three to fifteen varieties of chile, depending on what is available locally.

This mole uses coffee to replace the residual bitterness and complex earthiness sometimes contributed by chocolate. Coffee is hardly an innovation, however; it is a common ingredient among some families. Despite the number and variety of chiles I used, the finished product was not at all spicy; it was complex, slightly bitter, earthy and flavorful. Turkey is the traditional meat to serve with mole, but any meat goes well.


  • Prep: 30 mins. - 1 hr.
  • Cook: 3+ hrs.
  • Serves: 5

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- 4 pasilla chilies, dried
- 4 guajillo chilies, dried
- 3 new mexico chilies, dried
- 1 medium onion
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup raw peanuts
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 full pot Mexican coffee
- 1 quart chicken broth
- 1.5 pounds turkey breast
- corn tortillas
- 1/4 head of cabbage
- Queso Fresco or other soft cheese

(Additional ingredients listed below in recipe).

Step 1

- 1 2-3cm stick cinnamon - 1 Tablespoon cumin - 1 2-3 teaspoons coriander - 1 star anise pod, more or less (six sections here)


Step 2

Pico de Gallo garnish: - 1 pasilla chile, fresh - 1 anaheim chile, fresh - 3-4 jalapeno chilies, fresh - 2-4 serrano chilies, fresh - 2-3 tomatoes - 1/2 large onion - juice of 3-5 key limes (or 1-2 regular limes) - salt to taste


Step 3

Please note that to be truly authentic and have the best possible results, only LARD should be used in the frying steps of this recipe. I decided my cholesterol was already bad enough thanks to the slabs of bacon from the second course, so I elected to put a Spanish spin on the preparation and use olive oil instead. As with most great recipes, this one begins with deep frying everything. Take special care, however: dried chiles take just a few seconds of frying to reach doneness. Fry them for too long and they burn, rendering (heh lard joke) the whole dish overwhelmingly bitter and unpleasant. Be VERY attentive when doing this. Start by heating up a fryer full of your oil of choice. Cut the top off each chile, open them up, and remove all of the seeds. If necessary, excise the ribs of the chile as well - this will also make the finished product less spicy.


Step 4

Individually fry each chile very briefly. The flesh will lighten slightly and the whole thing will curl up.


Step 5

Drain each chile and place it in a bowl with its fellows. Once all the chilies are fried, pour on your whole pot of Mexican coffee. If you're going to rehydrate the chilies, you might as well do it with the theme ingredient! Soak the chilies while you fry the rest of the ingredients.


Step 6

Fry the nuts and pumpkin seeds individually until light to medium brown. Be careful with the pumpkin seeds, they have a tendency to pop when dropped into hot oil.


Step 7

Put a generous amount of your fat of choice into a small saute pan. Chop the onions roughly and add them to the oil. Saute over medium-high heat until they become translucent. Roughly chop the garlic and add that to the onions. Get everything nicely browned and remove from heat.


Step 8

Toast the spices in a dry pan until you can smell their wonderful essential oils. (Note: this should probably be done in a generous portion of lard as well to be truly authentic. Your choice.


Step 9

Now take your spices, onions, garlic, nuts, and pumpkin seeds and put them all into a food processor. Make sure it's not a wimpy one, either, as you'll be asking a lot of it today. Just look at all that glistening, fatty goodness. Pull some chilies out of the soak and add them to the processor as well. Don't make it too full, though - I'd recommend slightly less full than in the picture.


Step 10

Now, whirl the everliving heck out of those ingredients. Let it spin for longer than you think it needs, as long as you can stand the noise. The result will be a somewhat-smooth, very thick paste.


Step 11

Using a ladle, take up some of the coffee-chile liquor formed by steeping your chiles for so long. Add to the food processor a little at a time, running between additions to loosen and further smooth the paste.


Step 12

Once the paste is nicely smooth, with a slight grainy appearance, pour it into a saucepan. You may need to do the chiles in a second batch if your processor is small like mine. Add chicken broth sufficient to make the mole into a reasonably thin sauce.


Step 13

Put over low heat and boil for a long, long. LONG time. We're talking four or five hours minimally, mostly uncovered, adding broth as necessary to keep the mixture from solidifying entirely. Good mole is quite thick, almost un-pourable. Good mole also cooks all day or even overnight, so the longer you can give it the better. The end result will be significantly reduced in volume and darker in color. If your mole looks a bit chunky like that one, I suggest letting it cool slightly and giving it another pass in the food processor. It should have a slightly grainy appearance, but be smooth on the tongue. About 30 minutes before serving, prepare the pico de gallo. Finely dice the tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, and pasilla. Cut the serranos into rounds, or half-rounds if you prefer to remove the seeds. Combine all ingredients with enough lime juice to moisten and salt to taste.


Step 14

Cook the turkey breast in your preferred manner. I chose to grill it. Rest a few minutes, then cut into 1cm slices.


Step 15

Put 2-3 slices of turkey onto a couple of tortillas. Top liberally with mole and queso fresco.


Step 16

Thinly slice the cabbage.


Step 17

Top tacos with cabbage, and serve with lime wedges, fresh cilantro and pico de gallo.


Step 18


Now that you have learned how to make grilled turkey tacos with coffee mole, please be sure to view these other turkey recipes. Also, you will love these Mexican recipes.


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