Although today is Valentine’s Day, unfortunately I didn’t do a whole lot of cooking. With a fridge full of leftovers and a valentine who’s away at school until the weekend, there was no reason to break out a pot or a pan (aside from a couple fried eggs for breakfast).
I thought I would share a cupid-friendly sauce that I made last year, after hours of experimentation, for my food column at the Dalhousie Gazette. With chocolate as its central ingredient, mole sauce is an exotic and rich topper that could be used in the place of salsa. And it’s a lot of fun to be able to incorporate a dessert ingredient into your main course.
Spice up a romantic evening – or liven up a party – with this recipe:
- 3 chile peppers
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 oz dark chocolate
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 slice stale bread (or 2 tbsp flour)
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ onion
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp cayenne powder
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- salt and pepper to taste
- Roast the chiles in the oven at 450F until this skin is mostly browned or blackened, about 10 minutes each side. Wrap them in tin foil for a few minutes. Peel the skins and remove most of the seeds.
- Throw everything into a food processor except the oil, broth, salt and pepper. Blend until fairly smooth, although small lumps are fine.
- Pour the oil into a pot over medium heat and, once warm, add the blended mixture. Stir until it starts to brown, 3-5 minutes, and then add about half a cup of the broth.
- Stir often, but let the sauce absorb the liquid. Slowly add more broth, although you may not need all of it. It should take about 20 minutes and be somewhere between the consistency of salsa and hummus – thick enough to spread, but thin enough to stir. It will turn a rich chocolaty colour.
- Sprinkle in some salt and pepper to taste. If you want it to be sweeter or spicier, add a little extra brown sugar or cayenne pepper.
This sauce is all about layering flavours; the more spices, the more complex it will taste, but if all you have are chiles, tomatoes, chocolate, bread, onions and a spice or two, you will get something delicious. Slather it on a quesadilla, smooth it over toast with cheese or find your own way to make it stand out.