Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mole Verde for an Army

I just finished up the first half of the pork in mole verde I'd made for the women's race a few weeks back. The other half is still in the freezer. I only used one pork shoulder, but the dish was so rich that a little went a long ways. I based the pork on Diane Kennedy's Cochinita Pibil recipe, and based the mole on Karen Hursh Graber's chicken in mole recipe on Mexico Connect.

Not mine, but it looks close enough

This, for the record, is similar to the mole verde that put my sister-in-law into labor. I wanted to make papadzules, a Mayan enchilada in pumpkin-seed sauce that I had in Mexico City, but I haven't been able to find a good recipe. The mole verde is close, and the pepitas /tomatillo / chile combination is luxurious. And the cochinita gives a pork that is really close to Hawaii's kalua pork - one that's better than anything you can get at the store.

As usual, the amounts here are a guess.

  • 10 pounds pork shoulder, fat left on
  • 6 teaspoons salt
  • 12 tablespoons citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange mix)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 24 peppercorns
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon smoked hot paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked black Turkish pepper
  • ti leaves
Night Before
Pierce the pork, then rub with salt and 1/3 of the citrus.

Grind the whole spices. Sift in a fine strainer, then grind what's left.

In a molcajete grind the garlic, paprika, pepper, and salt. Add the rest of the citrus juice and the grated lime peel. Add to other spices to form a thick paste. Coat the pork with the paste.

Line a dutch oven with ti leaves. Place the pork on top, and wrap with rest of ti. Marinate overnight.


Add about 1/2 cup to 1 cup water. Cook in a 325 degree oven, basting frequently, for 3-5 hours (until meat is falling apart).


  • 1.5 cups pepitas. Toast, grind, sift, regrind until powdery
  • 16 tomatillos, cut into quarters
  • 1 medium white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 8 serrano chiles, partially seeded
  • 8 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded
  • 8 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 6 sprigs cilantro
  • 6 sprigs parsely (or epazote, if I can ever find it)
  • 1 bunch radish leaves
  • liquid from the pork
  • lard
Boil tomatillos, onion, garlic, and serranos for 5 minutes. Drain. Add to cuisinart and blend. Add poblanos, lettuce, and radish leaves. Blend. Add herbs and pepitas. Blend.

Heat lard. Add mole. Thin with juices from the pork. Reduce heat, and simmer for thirty minutes or longer. Season with salt.


Shred pork. Heat lard in pan. Fry pork. Add mole. Simmer another thirty minutes until flavors have blended.

This makes enough for 40 or more. It's a lot! I don't know how to reduce it, since the pork shoulder is so big.
Next up: Haulani and I have set our Chirstmas party for December 19. I want to try one of the other seven classical moles, but ... since I'll be coming back from Brazil ... a feijoada might be in order. I'll make sure to try a lot of them while I'm down there.

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