In Texas, every cook has his or her own closely guarded recipe for the Mexican chocolate-and-chile sauce called mole, invariably making it for the holidays and other special occasions. "I've sampled mole from El Paso to Matamoros," says Louis Lambert. "It has taken me many years and many attempts to perfect my own version." He serves his mole, which has a delicious smoky flavor, with hearty cuts of grilled beef like porterhouse or the grilled strip steaks here.
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1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 cup Salsa Roja
1/2 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1/3 cup chopped Mexican chocolate (2 ounces); see Note
2 tablespoons raisins
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Six 10-ounce boneless strip steaks, about 1 inch thick
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, toast the sesame seeds over moderate heat until golden. Add the Salsa Roja, stock, chocolate, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the chocolate has melted, about 4 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and return to the saucepan.
Brush each steak with 1 tablespoon of the mole sauce and let the steaks stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
Light a grill. Season the steaks on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill them over high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side for rare to medium-rare meat. Transfer to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring the remaining mole sauce to a simmer. Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time. Serve the steaks with the mole sauce on the side.
The mole sauce can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat the sauce gently and add the butter just before serving.
Mexican chocolate, a sweet chocolate flavored with cinnamon, is sold at Latin markets and specialty-food stores.
The smoky, fruity ancho chiles here make this dish exceptionally good with red wine, especially a substantial variety such as Zinfandel. In California, Amador County's hot summer days produce rich Zinfandels with a smoky edge.
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