Mole and Other Real Cinco De Mayo recipes

I worked for nearly two decades with really wonderful associates in Nogales, Senora. My business partners ran the factory there and I was at the factory 1-2 weeks a month. I got a a lot of razing as the gringo - particularly about Cinco de Mayo. Of the half dozen or so days on which one can celebrate Mexico's independence, Cinco de Mayo is not one of them. "It's only for you Gringos", my associates told me. 

So while the French suffered an unexpected loss to Mexico at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 on CInco de Mayo, it is really a celebration in the US of our appreciation of Mexican culture and heritage. Its also a significant drinking festival for many. 

Let's start in Oxaca where mole is one of the fabulous sauces incorporated into the recipes. Mole is a very complicated paste to make so we are lucky to have the pre-made pastes of "Season my Heart" which are some of the best produced. It makes preparing a mole very simple.

Linked Items available from To-Table. Just click the links.

Poached Quail with Mole Negro

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 12 Semi boneless Jumbo Quail
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • 1 Pound Tomatoes (cut into quarters)
  • 1/2 Pound Tomatillos, husks removed and cut into quarters
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ! small ripe (soft) plantain, peeled and sliced
  • 1 inch slice bolillo bread or baguette
  • 8 oz Seasons of my Heart Mole Negro paste
  • 3 OZ bitter sweet chocolate, grated
  1. In a heavy 4 quart stockpot, heat the chick stock over high heat. At the quail, lower the heat to simmer, add a pinch of salt, and cover. Poach the quail for about 30-40 minutes, or until the juice runs clear when pierced with a fork. Remove the meat from the stock and set aside. Skim fat off the stock.
  2. In heavy frying pan, fry the tomatoes and tomatillos until the give off the juiced - about 10-15 minutes and let the mixture dry out somewhat.
  3. In another frying pan,, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil and fry the plantain until brown on both sides and drain on a paper towel. Using the same oil, fry the slice of bread until golden brown the remove and drain on paper towel.
  4. Puree the tomatoes, friend plantain and bread in a blender, adding up to 1 cup of stock to help release the blender's blades.strain the puree through a food mill or strainer.
  5. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, heat the remaining oil, then add the mole negro past and fry well over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When the paste is very hot, after 5 minutes, slowly add the tomato and tomatillo puree. Stir until well incorporated, about 5 more minutes. Thin with three cups of stock, little by little,stirring all the time.Add the chocolate, simmer and stir for about 20-25 minutes. It should be thick enough to just coat the back of a spoon.
  6. Reheat the quail in the remaining stock. Place a quail of two on each plate or wide soup bowl. Ladle a good amount of mole to cover the meat. Serve immediately with a stack of corn tortillas.

Roasted Pheasant with Chintestle (smoked Mole Paste), orange and Honey

For the Marinade:

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teeaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 teeaspoon black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons Season of My Heart Chintestle Paste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

For the Roasting:

Three or more of the following vegetables:

  • 1 1/2 large white onions, thick wedges
  • 1 1/2 chile problanos, roasted pealed, and cut into slices
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into long slices
  • 2 chayote, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 4 stalks celery, cut in large diagonal slices
  • 3 small courgette, cut in quarters
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup parsley or ramps or mixture
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt - to taste
  • 2 whole pheasants cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 limes halved
  1. For the marinade: In a blender, grind the garlic with the salt and pepper until it makes a smooth paste. add the Chintestle paste, honey, orange juice and enough olive oil to make a mayonnaise consistency. After well incorporated, set aside.
  2. For the roasting: Toss the vegetables together in a large bowl and coat with half of the Chintestle marinade. Toss with herbs. adjust the salt if needed. place vegetables in a large roasting pan. Coat the pheasant with the remaining Chintestle marinade, sea salt and pepper the pieces and place them on top of the vegetables adding remaining marinade on top of the pheasant pieces
  3. Roast at 375 F for 15 minutes, uncovered, then lower the heat to 300 F and bake covered for 60 minutes more - until done.
  4. For each plate, spoon a mixture of the taosted vegetables and top with pieces of pheasant. Serve with corn tortillas and lime.


The Mimiaga's (my former business partners), from a Northern Mexico perspective, really went out of their way to try to give me a good education in "real" Mexican cooking. It is , I believe, one of the most healthy cooking styles, a cooking process with the most complex and robust flavors, and nothing like what passes for Mexican food in the US. I asked Manuel, one of the three Mimiaga brothers, to give me a traditional menu for a Carne Asada.

Carne Asasda

AKA - Barbecue. We think we are pretty good at this in the US. But face it - Mexico is farther south with warmer weather year round. They have more time to practice. I recommend serving Bohemia Beer.

Carne  Arrachera

  • 2 - 3 pounds To-Table Buffalo Skirt Steak
  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried cilantro or Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  1. Combine all spice ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Season steaks evenly with spice rub. Cover tightly in plastic wrap or zipper-locking plastic bag. Refrigerate at least one hour or overnight before cooking.
  3. Grill steaks over high heat to medium rare. Allow to rest five minutes before serving. Slice against the grain in thin strips

Green Chili Resemblos

  • 3 large poblano peppers
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, if using beans without added salt
  • 5 ounces cheese (1 1/2 cups shredded), any combination of Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack, Cheddar, low-moisture Mozzarella, up to 1/2 cup Cotija
  1. Prepare a grill for indirect heat. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.2.

  2. In a medium bowl, combine the beans, onion, garlic, cumin, salt, if using, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Stir to combine.3.

  3. Stuff each pepper half with a handful of the filling. Sprinkle some of the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over each stuffed pepper half.4.

  4. Carefully place the pepper halves on the section of the grill with indirect heat. Cover and grill for about 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the peppers are nicely softened. Then transfer the peppers to the direct heat section of the grill for 3 to 5 minutes until the peppers are charred and softened to your satisfaction. Serve with cilantro, sour cream and salsa. 

Frijoles Charro

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 ounces diced bacon 
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced (about 8 ounces)
  • 2 serrano chilies or 1 jalapeño, minced (remove seeds and ribs if you prefer less heat)
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes 
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs epazote (available at To-Table) (optional)
  • Large handful chopped fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems
  1. Place beans in a large bowl and cover with water by double. Add 2 tablespoons kosher salt and stir to dissolve. Let soak 8 to 12 hours. Drain and rinse.

  2. Heat bacon in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until fat is rendered and bacon is just starting to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add onion and chilies and cook, stirring, until softened and just starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is thick and the mixture begins to sizzle, about 3 minutes.3.

  3. Add beans, stock, bay leaves, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and epazote (if using). Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a bare simmer, cover, and cook until beans are just tender, about 45 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until beans are completely creamy and liquid has thickened into a rich, creamy broth. Season to taste with salt. Discard bay leaves, stir in cilantro, and serve. Beans can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


Salsa Bandera

  • 1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, stemmed and chopped
  • 3 small Roma or vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 1 lime
  1. Put chopped jalapeño, serrano, tomatoes, onion, and cilantro in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Add lime juice. Mix well and taste and add additional salt if necessary.
  3. Serve as a topping on fish, chicken, grilled steak, or with a basket of tortilla chips.

Or there is also :

Salsa Duke

Fresh and Very simple: See Recipe here.

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