June 12, 2012

la casa de los sabores: last day

Today was our third and last day at Casa de los Sabores, and we spent it all on mole. Four kinds, to be exact: chichillo (similar to negro), amarillo (yellow), coloradito (colored) and verde (green).

I was at the table making coloradito and verde, both atypical in its own way. Coloradito because it is a bit sweeter (contains chocolate and sugar) and is not thickened with masa. Verde because of its emphasis on fresh greens - Chef Pilar says she never orders this in a restaurant because the color and flavor are already diminished by the time the mole reaches the diner's plate.

Here are the featured ingredients for coloradito:

ingredients for colored mole

And for verde:

ingredients for green mole

True to form, the ingredients are toasted and then soaked/peeled as necessary:

roasted ingredients colored mole

Then we took a break to go to the market, this time the smaller local one.

vegetable/flower aisle

Then we took all our mole ingredients to the grinder's, where they have giant machines and different machines tend to be dedicated toward different things (one for corn, one for beans, one for coffee, one for spices, etc.). You bring your stuff in a bucket or bowl, and they grind it and you pay them.

grinding beans

The previous bowl of mole coloradito ingredients came out like this:

ground colored mole

Then back to La Casa for cooking. The typical mole starts out with an olla over a charcoal flame. Then lard:

sauteeing lard

Then the ground-up mole ingredients, followed by masa lightened with broth of whatever meat is being used in that particular dish (step omitted with coloradito):

masa to black mole

Then the mole is cooked until it's bubbly and oil is rising to the surface. Cooked meat and/or vegetables are added last:

pork to colored mole

Mole verde's process is almost reversed. Masa and broth are cooked first until the masa thickens:

masa and broth

The ground-up ingredients are added after because adding it first would mean overcooking the greens and having it turn dark. Then we added white beans, as is traditional:

beans to green mole

After all four moles were done, we had a feast. I'm eating solid foods now so I was very happy not to have to miss out.

mole plate

Once we'd finished gorging ourselves, we went up on the rooftop and had a nice graduation ceremony in which everyone received diplomas.

casa de los sabores graduation

It was a very lovely experience overall, thanks to Chef Pilar and her staff.

group picture

Tomorrow we go to a different kitchen. Can't wait to see what we'll make next!

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