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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

Molé is a Mexican stew emboldened with an unexpected ingredient not usually found in an ordinary stew. Chocolate is what gives the stew, or guisado, its unique character and adds full-bodied flavor along with satisfying aromas. I've also added tempeh to boost the heartiness of the dish. A refreshingly different take on traditional molé, this version has a sauce lighter in color but certainly not lighter on flavor. Sometimes molé is sugar sweetened, while at other times it's served as a savory dish. This lightly sweetened chocolate dish makes a delightful addition to a Cinco de Mayo celebration or any hearty springtime meal. Serve it over steamed brown rice, quinoa, or barley and pass the lime wedges. All it takes is little squeeze to brighten the flavor.

Tempeh & Black Olive Molé


Yield: 6 servings

    4 dried California chiles
    1 dried ancho chile (optional)
    Boiling water

    1 large onion, chopped
    1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin julienne
    1/2 green bell pepper cut into thin julienne
    1/2 green bell pepper, cut into thin julienne
    6 cloves garlic, crushed
    1/4 cup (60 ml) water

    1 1/2 pounds (675g) tomatoes, chopped
    8 ounces (226g) tempeh, cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) chunks
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

    1 (15-ounce/424g) can black beans, drained and rinsed
    1 cup (240 ml) pitted black olives, well drained
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    2 tablespoons sugar

    2 ounces (56g) semi-sweet or Mexican chocolate

    2 limes, each cut into 6 wedges

    4 sprigs fresh cilantro
    2 lime wedges

  1. Put the California chiles and ancho chile, if using, into a bowl and pour the boiling water over to cover. After 30 minutes, cut the chiles open and discard the seeds and stems.
  2. Meanwhile, put the onion, bell peppers, garlic, and water into a large, deep skillet and cook and stir over high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened and the onions are transparent. Add 1 or more tablespoons of water if needed to prevent burning.
  3. Put the cleaned chiles into the blender. Add 1 cup (240 ml) of the soak water and blend until smooth. Add the blended chiles to the skillet, along with the tomatoes, tempeh, cumin, coriander, oregano, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook and stir for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are softened.
  4. Add the beans, olives, salt, and sugar and mix well. Add the chocolate and stir until it is completely dissolved. Adjust seasonings if needed. Put the limes on a small dish and serve on the side.
The optional ancho chile adds a zesty spice to the molé and makes spice enthusiasts very happy. Leave it out if you shy away from spicy dishes, and you'll still have a very tasty dish.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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