Small World, Big Taste: Chocolate Chili Powder and Mole

 This delicious mole sauce is good on enchiladas, on quesadillas, and over vegetables or chicken.

• 5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
• 1 onion, chopped
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 to 4 tablespoons Chocolate Chili Powder (recipe below)
• 1 16-ounce can chopped tomatoes
• 1 cup apple or fresh orange juice
• 1 cup chicken stock
• Salt to taste

1. Toast the garlic cloves in a dry skillet over medium heat, turning them several times, until they are browned on the outside and soft inside. Remove the garlic from the pan, cool, peel, and chop.

2. Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until the onions are soft. Add the chili powder, tomatoes, apple juice, and chicken stock. Simmer for 25 minutes. Add salt to taste.

3. For a smoother sauce, puree in a blender or strain through a wire mesh sieve.

4. Pesto adds depth to many dishes, and it doesn’t have to be limited to the ho-hum garden variety made with basil.

5. Fresh herb pastes, such as the classic Italian basil pesto, add quick, intense flavors to marinades, grilled meats, pasta and polenta, hors d’oeuvres spreads, and salad dressings. They may also be used to garnish soups and vegetables. Combine 1 cup of fresh herbs, 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 cloves of garlic with just enough lemon juice or wine to form a thick, smooth paste. Experiment with adding or substituting other herbs along with olives, roasted chiles, and/or nuts. Thyme, small quantities of rosemary, parsley, mint, cilantro, sorrel, and chervil are especially good.

6. Herb pastes can be frozen in ice cube trays, then bagged in plastic for use throughout the year.

Chocolate Chili PowderMakes 1 cup

Sprinkle this rich powder over sautéed chicken or pork, squash, sweet potatoes, or corn, or use it to make Colorado Dolce Sauce (recipe follows).

• 3 ancho or red chiles, toasted, stemmed, seeded, and crumbled (wear rubber gloves when handling)
• 1 chipotle chile, toasted, stemmed, seeded and crumbled
• 1 tablespoon cumin seed
• 1 tablespoon coriander seed
• 1 tablespoon epazote or oregano
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1 tablespoon cocoa powder or Mexican chocolate
• 1/2 cup ground toasted sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds

1. Grind all ingredients together.

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