With the beautiful bag of borlotti beans that I bought from Highmark Farm and the cheery orange kabocha from Healthy Butcher, I could have easily make something simple. My typical style of cooking is far from heavily spiced nor particularly complex flavour. This luscious mole is so far removed from my comfort zone that I was instantly intrigued when I saw the recipe from 101 Cookbooks.
I made some minor adaptation to the recipes to add my personal touch. The chocolate that I used was Ghirardelli Intense Dark Espresso Escape at 60% cacao content and a piece of Lindt Excellence 85% to balance out the sweetness. Coffee adds instant depth to chocolate flavour but I also threw in a couple teaspoons of cocoa powder for good measure. Mole....mexican....chocolate....cinnamon seems to be the next logical addition, no? I used only one jalapeno but seeing that it did not add enough heat, I minced two chipotle in adobo and mixed it in along with the tomatoes just for a hint of smokiness.
I am impressed with the depth of flavour of this easy mole. Caramelizing the onions and jalapeno draws out so much flavour. It was layered with sweetness from roasted kabocha, chocolate, roasted almond, tomatoes, and cinnamon. Spiciness was a mixture between jalapeno, chipotle in adobo, and paprika. Everything was tied together by the creaminess of perfectly cooked beans and squash. Who would have thought a vegan dish can be so satisfying?
- 2 cups of dried Borlotti beans
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1.5 oz of ground almond
- 4 cups of kabocha squash, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
- olive oil for roasting squash
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 14 oz diced canned tomato (no salt added)
- 2 chipotle chilis in adobo, minced
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1.5 oz Ghirardelli Intense Dark Espresso Escape at 60% cacao content, broken into pieces
- 0.5 oz Lindt Excellence 85% Dark Chocolate, broken into pieces
- kosher salt for seasoning, about 1tsp or to taste
- 4-5 large leaves of kale, torn into pieces
- The night before, rinse dry beans and soak in water overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a medium saucepan, simmer soaked beans in water with 1 tsp of kosher salt for about 45 minutes if the beans are fresh. You want the beans to be just slightly undercooked. Drain the beans and reserve cooking liquid.
- While the beans are cooking, toast the ground almond in the oven for about 4-5 minutes until fragrant and golden. Pour into a dish to cool.
- Toss kabocha squash with olive oil on the baking sheet. Roast for about 20-30 minutes in the oven until brown. Set aside to cool.
- Turn oven temperature down to 250F.
- In a 5qt dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp of olive in medium high heat. Add in diced onions and jalapeno and turn the heat down to medium low. Stirring only occasionally, caramelize the onions and jalapeno until nice and brown, about 30 minutes.
- Stir in garlic and cook for about 3 minutes until garlic smells really good.
- Add in tomatoes, chipotle, paprika, cocoa powder, cinnamon, ground almond and simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Stir in chocolate pieces until melted. Season with kosher salt.
- Add kale to the sauce. Mix in drained beans and roasted squash cubes. Toss very gently until sauce is evenly distributed. If it is too dry, use some of the reserved bean cooking liquid to thin the sauce.
- Cover the dutch oven with lid and bake for 2 hours until beans are creamy in the centre.
- Garnish with cilantro if desired.
A note as to why I used Ghirardelli Intense Dark Espresso Escape: when I went to Virginia in February, I insisted to B that we go to TJ Mexx to scoop up deals on post-Valentine chocolate sale. Well, they didn't have any. But being TJ Mexx, they had something even better: one whole bag of this coffee-laced chocolate for a buck! I got caught up in the thrill of finding a deal and bought some. I haven't eaten any since I returned home because I'm not a huge fan for Ghirardelli chocolate. Using them up in a mole is a good idea instead of dipping into my stash of good chocolate.