skip the turkey dinner and head straight for the leftovers: mole verde

Thoroughly exhausting week, but many accomplishments.  Had a great time interviewing Hank Shaw on Sunday and Monday, then spent the week trying to catch up on some of the many things piled up awaiting my attention while life threw new dodgeballs at me for fun. So:

this is just to say

there’s no turkey in the icebox

and nothing I’m saving for breakfast

so forgive me for the lack of deliciousness

so tired and so old

Could this be the year we finally go out for Thanksgiving dinner?  I don’t think I can bring myself to do it. Tempting, but it just seems wrong. After all, we have a scrumptious chicken from Sweetwater Farm somewhere buried under a hundred or so pounds of beef, and good root vegetables from Open Oak. And now that I think of it, frozen sweet meat squash for a pie.  Somewhere.  And cranberry sauce I made a couple of weeks ago and froze.  Also somewhere.

But as ambivalent as I am about making Thanksgiving dinner, I am not hesitant to give you a delicious recipe for the leftovers: turkey with mole verde, a pumpkin seed-green tomato sauce from our neighbors to the south. I made a bunch and froze it about a month ago (are you sensing a theme here?).  You can see it above, served with a yucky sprouted tortilla, but rather surprisingly appetizing tempeh, crookneck squash, and cauliflower à la Retrogrouch.

Mine is a rather traditional mole verde recipe, but it uses the rest of our stubborn Northwest green tomatoes instead of tomatillos, and garden herbs.  Since tomatillos are more acidic than green tomatoes, I’ve added a slug of fermented chile juice to mine.  You might try lemon or lime juice.  Or you might just like the mild nuttiness of the sauce.  The lettuce leaf and herbs are added for color as well as flavor, as the green tomatoes and green pumpkin seeds will turn the palest chartreuse.

Can’t be bothered to cook any more?  Cheat shamelessly with a local product I bought on a whim at Market of Choice, Enrique and Dolores Riquelme’s Barcelona’s Finishing Sauces out of Bend, OR.  Haven’t tried the red mole yet, but it looks great.  They also have a seasonal green pipian sauce, similar to the mole verde, and a nogada sauce.  Yum.

Mole Verde

Makes several cups, good for freezing.

  • 2 lbs green tomatoes, cut in half or quarters if especially large (substitute tomatillos if you have them, either canned or fresh)
  • 1 cup pepitas (Mexican unsalted, shelled, green pumpkin or squash seeds)
  • 1 handful of new crop filberts if you’re from Oregon and proud (WV represent!)
  • 3-4  cloves garlic, left whole
  • 1 small white onion, sliced thickly
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable or a nut oil
  • 1 romaine lettuce or green mild chicory leaf
  • handfuls of parsley, epazote (lamb’s quarters), wild arugula, marjoram, fennel, tarragon or whatever leafy green herbs you have left in your garden.  If you don’t have a garden, try 1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, a half of a small fennel bulb with the fennel greens, and a half-cup of parsley.
  • 1-2 cups chicken stock
  • fresh lemon juice or pepper vinegar or green, vinegar-based hot sauce
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450.  Place the onions, garlic, green tomatoes or fresh tomatillos on a baking sheet and toss with the oil.  Roast until softened and the skin is deep brown in places and the onions and garlic have a bit of char.  This isn’t an exact science; it’s just to add more flavor.  If you’ve opted for canned tomatillos, dry char the onion pieces and garlic in a cast iron pan to lend the flavor.

While roasting, toast the pepitas over medium heat in a cast iron pan until they lighten in color and start to smell toasty.  Be very careful not to let them burn.  Low and slow is preferable to higher heat.

Let cool a bit, then pulse the pepitas in a food processor with the herbs and lettuce.  Use a bit of the chicken stock to thin enough to process effectively.

Add the softened, charred green tomatoes, onions, and garlic to the food processor.  Add enough chicken stock to make a consistency you like.  Add an acid (lemon juice or fermented pepper juice) if you are using tomatoes instead of tomatillos, and salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, heat about a cup of the sauce with a bit more oil and chicken stock, then add about the same amount of cooked shredded chicken, turkey, or tempeh.  Serve the stew with fresh, soft corn tortillas.  You might garnish with more cilantro and pico de gallo.

Freezes beautifully, too.

3 thoughts on “skip the turkey dinner and head straight for the leftovers: mole verde

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