The Surprising Versatility of Chocolate in Savory Dishes: An Exploration of Mole Sauce

When we think of chocolate, our minds might conjure up images of sweet treats – chocolate bars, cakes, and desserts. But chocolate can also be used to add richness and depth of flavor to savory dishes, particularly in the case of mole sauce.

What is Mole Sauce?

Mole sauce is a traditional Mexican sauce that combines a variety of ingredients to create a complex, rich flavor. While there are many variations of mole sauce, most contain chili peppers, nuts, spices, and – you guessed it – chocolate. The use of chocolate helps to balance out the spiciness of the sauce and adds a subtle sweetness that complements the other flavors.

Using Chocolate in Savory Dishes

Mole sauce is just one example of how chocolate can be used in savory dishes. Chocolate can be incorporated into the sauce of braised dishes, such as beef or chicken, to add depth of flavor. It can also be used as a glaze for roasted vegetables or as a seasoning for chili or stews.

When using chocolate in savory dishes, it’s important to choose a high-quality chocolate that doesn’t contain too much sugar. Bittersweet chocolate is a good option, as it has a relatively high percentage of cocoa and a lower amount of sugar.

A Recipe for Mole Sauce

If you’re interested in trying your hand at making mole sauce, here’s a recipe to get you started:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat and toast 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds until lightly browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, toast 3-4 dried chili peppers until fragrant. Remove from heat and remove the stems and seeds.
  3. In a blender, combine the toasted sesame seeds and chili peppers with 1/2 cup of chicken or vegetable broth, 1/4 cup of raisins, 1/4 cup of almonds, 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Blend until smooth.
  4. In a large pot, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add 1 diced onion and 3 minced garlic cloves and sauté until soft.
  5. Add the blended mixture to the pot and stir to combine. Add another 1-2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth and 1-2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  6. Use the mole sauce as a topping for chicken, beef, or vegetables, or as a dipping sauce for tortilla chips.

With its surprising versatility and rich flavor, chocolate is a welcome addition to savory dishes like mole sauce. Give it a try and let your taste buds be the judge!