Smoky Peanut Mole with Grilled Quail

Smoky Peanut Mole with Grilled Quail

Choose weekends to cook this exceptionally nice dish, as it needs some more time to be prepared in the perfect way possible. Smoky Peanut Mole with Grilled Quail is a dish which you can cook for dinner, fiesta type, mole is a fiesta food. Mole is a savory, chilli-spiked Mexican sauce. This peanut mole may sound a bit weird but not if you think of it as an analogue to the peanut and chilli sauce that you eat with chicken satay.

The ingredients to accomplish this recipe are:
2 medium dried ancho chillies, stemmed and deseeded

4 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

½ small white onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, peeled

225 g ripe tomatoes

100g dry roasted peanuts, plus a few tablespoons chopped for garnish

2 slices firm white bread, torn into pieces

2 canned chipotle chillies en adobo, deseeded

1/8 teaspoon allspice, preferably freshly ground

½ teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela

About 3 ½ cups chicken broth

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 bay leaves

Salt, about 1 ½ teaspoon, depending on the saltiness of the broth

Sugar, about 1 tablespoon

12 partially boned, good-sized quail

A little freshly ground black pepper

Sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Cooking method

  • The peanut mole: tear the ancho chillies into flat pieces, then toast a few at a time on an ungreased griddle or skillet over medium heat; press flat with a metal spatula for a few seconds, until they crackle and change color slightly, then flip and press again.
  • In a small bowl, cover the chillies with hot water and let rehydrate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure even soaking. Drain and discard the water.
    Meanwhile heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy, medium-size pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic cloves and fry, stirring regularly, until well browned, about 10 minutes. Scrape into a blender jar. Set the pan aside.
  • Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, until blackened, about 5 minutes, then flip it and roast the other side; cool, then peel, collecting all the juices with the tomato. Add the tomato to the blender, along with the peanuts, bread, chipotles, drained anchos, allspice and cinnamon. Add 1 ½ cups of the broth and blend until smooth, stirring and scraping down the sides of the blender jar, and adding a little more liquid if needed to keep everything moving through the blades. Press the mixture through a medium-mesh strainer into a bowl.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in the pot over medium-high heat. When hot enough to make a drop of the sizzle sharply, add it all at once. Stir as the nutty-smelling, ruddy-red amalgamation thickens and darkens for about 5 minutes, then stir in the remaining 2 cups broth, the wine, vinegar and bay leaves. Partially cover and let gently simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes. If necessary, thin the sauce with a little more broth. Taste and season with salt, about 1 ½ teaspoons, and the sugar. Cover and keep warm.
  • Grilling and serving the quail: 30 to 45 minutes before serving. Light a gas grill or prepare a charcoal fire and let the coals burn until they are covered with grey ash and medium-hot. Position the grill grate about 20 minutes above the coals and lightly oil.
  • While the grill heats, lay the quail on a baking sheet. Tie the legs together with kitchen twine, then brush both sides with some of the remaining oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Lay the quail on the hottest portion of the gill, breast-side down. Cover the grill and cook about 8 minutes, checking once or twice to ensure that they are not browning too quickly. Flip the quail and move to a cooler portion of the grill.cover and continue grilling until the leag meat will separate from the bone quite easily when you squeeze a leg between 2 fingers, 4 to 6 minutes more.
    Remove to a plate and keep warm in a low oven while you set up your plates. Ladle a generous 1/3 cup of the earthy-colored sauce on to each of 6 warm dinner plates. Set 2 quail over the sauce. Garnish with chopped peanuts and sprigs of parsley.

Advance preparation

The mole may be made up to 5 days ahead, cover and refrigerate. If oil separates from sauce when reheated, either skim it off or blend the sauce in a loosely covered blender. The quail are best cooked just before serving.


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