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Mole Verde

  • SERVINGS: 4 TO 6

Mole Verde, or just "Verde" for short, is the lightest and freshest-tasting of Oaxaca's "seven moles." Fresh herbs (rather than spice accents) are what distinguish mole verde -- a puree of green herbs has to be added at the last minute.

  1. 8 whole cloves, or 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  2. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  3. 3 jalapeÑo chiles
  4. 6 large tomatillos, husks removed
  5. 1 small onion, cut into chunks
  6. 5 garlic cloves
  7. 2 fresh thyme sprigs
  8. 2 fresh marjoram sprigs
  9. 6 cups chicken or pork stock
  10. 1 cup (8 ounces) fresh masa, or 6 tablespoons masa harina mixed to a smooth paste with 1 cup water
  11. 1 medium-size bunch flat-leaf parsley
  12. Eight 6-inch sprigs of fresh epazote or 1/4 cup crumbled dried epazote
  13. 3 large or 5 medium fresh hoja santa leaves, or 5 dried leaves
  1. In an electric coffee grinder or spice mill, or in a mortar, grind the whole cloves and cumin together. In a blender combine the ground spices with the chiles, tomatillos, onion, garlic, thyme, marjoram, and 1/2 cup of the stock. Blend on high until smooth, about 2 minutes. 2. Put the remaining stock in a large saucepan and bring to a boil; adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Add the puréed mixture to the hot stock and cook for 3 minutes. 
  2. Thin the masa by mixing it with 1 cup water. Whisk the thinned masa into the sauce and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Cook uncovered over low heat for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally. If lumps form, strain the sauce through a medium-mesh sieve, pushing with a spoon to force the lumpy bits through. The sauce should thicken to the consistency of whipping cream; if necessary, raise the heat slightly to reduce and thicken it. 
  3. Put the parsley, epazote and hoja santa in a blender or food processor; if using a blender, add a few tablespoons of water to facilitate blending. Process until smooth. Add the puree to the sauce and bring back to a simmer. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
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