PECAN MOLE

Ingredients:
SERVINGS: MAKES ABOUT 4 CUPS

Base:

  • 2 cup pecans
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • ½ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • ½ small kabocha squash, peeled, halved
  • ½ pound tomatillos (about 4 medium), husks removed, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup jarred roasted chestnuts
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

Spice Blend:

  • 1 bag chamomile tea, tea removed from bag
  • 1 2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest
  • ½ teaspoon ground licorice root

Chile Paste And Assembly:

  • 6 japones chiles or 3 chiles de árbol, seeds removed
  • 6 morita chiles, seeds removed
  • 3 chiles de árbol, seeds removed
  • 1 guajillo chile, seeds removed
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (or more) low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt

Special Equipment:

  • A spice mill or a mortar and pestle

Preparation:

Base:

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Toss pecans, walnuts, cashews, and hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 4 minutes. Mix in pumpkin seeds and toast until nuts and seeds are golden brown and fragrant, 5–7 minutes. Let cool.
  • Increase oven temperature to 425°. Place squash and tomatillos on a clean rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil; turn to coat. Roast until squash is browned around the edges and tender and tomatillos are browned and soft, 25–30 minutes; let cool slightly.

  • Purée toasted nuts and seeds, squash, tomatillos, chestnuts, and broth in a blender until smooth, about 2 minutes. 

  • Do Ahead: Base can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Spice Blend:

  • Toast tea, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, caraway seeds, cumin seeds, pink peppercorns, Sichuan peppercorns, black peppercorns, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, grapefruit zest, and licorice root in a large skillet over medium-low, tossing constantly, until spices are fragrant and skillet just begins to smoke, about 3 minutes. Let cool. Working in batches, finely grind spices in spice mill or with mortar and pestle to a fine powder.
  • Do Ahead: Spice blend can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Chile Paste And Assembly:

  • Toast all chiles in a dry medium saucepan over medium-low heat, tossing constantly, until slightly darkened in color and pan just begins to smoke, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil; remove from heat, cover, and let sit until chiles are very soft, 20–25 minutes. Transfer chiles to a plate with a slotted spoon. Let cool slightly, then blend with ½ cup soaking liquid in a blender until smooth.
  • Heat butter in a large saucepan over medium, swirling occasionally, until butter foams and then browns (don’t let it blacken), 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat and add 2 Tbsp. chile paste to skillet, stirring until chile paste is toasted and sizzling subsides, about 1 minute. Set over low heat and add 3 Tbsp. spice blend. Cook, stirring constantly, until spices are fragrant, about 2 minutes. Whisk in base and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally and adding more broth if sauce is too thick, until flavors have melded and sauce is thick enough to coat a spoon, 15–20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Strain mole through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and stir in grapefruit juice and lemon juice; season with salt. 

  • Do Ahead: Chile paste can be made 2 weeks ahead; cover and chill. Mole (without citrus juices) can be made 1 day ahead. Let cool; cover and chill. Reheat gently and stir in grapefruit and lemon juices just before serving.


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