Planning the menu for your Cinco de Mayo party? What better way to celebrate Mexican culture than with mole poblano, a dish that melds Old World spices and New World chocolate and chilis into a rich, complex, and uniquely Mexican stew? There’s only one downside: developing those complex flavors takes time. And when you’ve got a party to plan, time is in short supply.
Enter the pressure cooker. Wait—no need to duck! We’re not talking about the ticking time bomb that menaced you from atop Grandma’s paisley burner cover. Today’s pressure cookers are far safer, and they’re still the best way to cut cooking time without sacrificing flavor. It’s no wonder they’re popping up everywhere these days, from the Top Chef set to your friend’s kitchen. Want to get in on this trend? You’ve come to the right place. Learning to use a pressure cooker will pay off in spades—or at least in delicious, delicious mole.
Pressure Cooker Basics
To use your pressure cooker, first make sure everything is clean and in good working order. Check for worn-out gaskets or clogged valves, and tighten any loose screws. Toss in whatever you want to cook, and pour in some water or other liquid, taking care to stay within your manual’s suggested limits. Securely fasten on the lid, heat your cooker on high until it reaches full pressure, and then turn down the heat just to the point at which the cooker can maintain its pressure while heating your food evenly—finding the sweet spot for your particular stove may take a little trial and error, so do a couple of test runs. Then wait for the magic to happen. (You won’t be waiting long—we’re talking about pressure cookers here.)
Got all that? Great! Now let’s make some mole.
(Recipe from ChefSteps.com)
Never measured by weight before? Here’s how we do it—and why.
Yield: 2 liters
Time: 35 minutes
- 1 kg (1 L) water
- 225 g butter
- 150 g sweet onion, diced
- 75 g peanuts, shelled
- 50 g dark chocolate (70%)
- 50 g tomato paste
- 9 cinnamon sticks
- 20 g pumpkin seeds
- 20 g garlic
- 17 g salt
- 15 g ancho chili, dried, seeds removed
- 15 g pasilla chili, dried, seeds removed
- 15 g mulato chili, dried, seeds removed
- 15 g guajillo chili, dried, seeds removed
- 15 g chipotle meco chili, dried, seeds removed
- 15 g chipotle morita chili, dried, seeds removed
- 10 g sesame seeds
- 5 g ground cumin
- 4.5 g fresh oregano
- 3.5 g MSG (completely optional)
- 2.5 g caraway seed
- 2.5 g fresh thyme
- 1.8 g ground mace
- 0.5 g ground cloves
1. In a pressure cooker, combine all ingredients. Lock the lid in place, and heat on high until you reach maximum pressure. Reduce heat, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from burner, and let the pressure vent completely before unlocking the lid.
2. Remove cinnamon sticks. Working in batches, blend the mole in a blender until you get rid of the biggest chunks.
ChefSteps is a team of award-winning chefs, filmmakers, scientists, designers, and engineers focused on revolutionizing the way people cook by inspiring creativity and encouraging expertise in the kitchen. Learn more at ChefSteps.com.