Recipe By: Orly Vega, Rick Ostry, and Charlie Miller
Here at Congreso Cubano, we like to explore all sorts of Latin cuisines, not just Cuban. Recently, we decided to have some fun with some of our favorite Mexican flavors and, after a lot of tests and tweaks we ended up with this delicious dish. This dish consists of two basic parts: the mole and the cookie. Top it off with your garnishes for a beautiful piece.
SERVES: 4 Ribs PREPARATION TIME: 4.5 Hours
As with many Mole recipes, we’re gonna start off by toasting our peppers for the sauce. This is gonna bring out their natural smokiness. Before anything, cut or tear your peppers down into chunks and remove the seeds and core. Find yourself a large or aluminum pot to toast these in. You want a large pot because we’ll want to use it for other steps as well and its worth preserving the flavors that go into it.
Heat your pot up to medium-high and toast the peppers on it for 3 -5 minutes. Transfer to toasted peppers to another bowl, add the raisins, and cover in hot water to steep for about 30 minutes. Put aside.
Place your pot back on the heat and add your almonds, black pepper, cinnamon, oregano, thyme, sesame seeds, and a pinch of salt. Toast this for 5 minutes just as well. Transfer the toasted spices to a blender or food processor and ground as finely as possible.
Place your pot back on the heat and this time add a bit of olive oil. Proceed to sautee your garlic, onions serrano peppers and, a few minutes later, the chopped tomatoes. Cook for 10- 15 minutes or until the veggies are all soft. At this point add your chocolate, ground spices, soaked peppers, and raisins to the pot and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Using a hand blender in the pot, or a regular blender, blend the entire mix until it forms a thick, smooth sauce . Add chicken stock and/or the leftover soaking liquid to adjust the texture as necessary. Set aside,
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. In a dutch oven or baking dish, lightly season you ribs with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, quickly brown them on all sides and transfer back to the dish. Pour over the mole sauce, cover the dish, and place in the oven for 3 – 3.5 hours. At about the 1 hour mark your house will begin to smell like bacon and chocolate had a sexy threesome with a rogue Cinnabon.
While that works its magic, lets make our corn cookies and pickled onions.
For our garnish, slice up a red onion lengthwise into nice long strips. In a jar, mix together 1 tbsp of sugar, another of salt, 1/4 cup of water, and 3/4 cup of red wine vinegar. Add your onions to the jar and set aside somewhere cool until the ribs are done. Now on to the cookies.
Using a blender or food processor, pulse the corn, butter, sugar, salt, paprika, and cinnamon until they are blended in but not too smooth. Now slowly add your masa (corn flour) and flour until it forms a thick dough. When you’ve got about 45 minutes left on your ribs, shape your corn dough into cookie-sized discs and pop into a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes. Don’t worry if you need to make them at a slightly lower temp to accomodate the spare ribs, just add 5 minutes to the clock. After about 30 minutes, flip your cookies for another 5 and pull them to cool. Now our dish is about ready to be assembled.
When it comes time for service, I recommend simply plating one of those fat yellow corn cookies as a base for one mole-smothered rib. A casual dash of cream or queso fresco, a nice bunch of pickled onions, and some freshly chopped cilantro bring the dish home.
I personally love eating ribs off the bone but, depending on your guests, you may want to pull the meat off yourself and serve it as a stack on your cookie.
Experiment with the spices in your mole. Some peppers are hotter than others, some smokier, and some sweeter. Use this recipe as a foundation then change up the kind and proportions of dried peppers that you use. Follow your nose and it will be hard to mess up!
Show us your Mole! Tag: @congresocubano @tropicult #funkycuban #vivamexico #foodtalk