Mole sauce makes enchiladas memorable
Written by KAREN NADLER COTA Sentinel Lifestyles Editor
Tuesday, 05 February 2013 10:12
When Jo Ascunce and her husband hosted a houseful of guests for a recent program on traveling to Guatemala, she was determined to serve them authentic main dishes from that country.
|Jo Ascunce of Bowling Green with her pork enchaladas with mole sauce. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
An intensive online search of recipes yielded a promising culinary candidate: pork enchiladas with mole sauce.
The response was uniformly enthusiastic. All agreed this recipe was a keeper.
Only one little problem, Ascunce discovered later.
It wasn't authentically Guatemalan.
A traditional mole sauce always includes chocolate as one of the ingredients, as does hers.
"When Guatemalans use that mole sauce they put it on plantain," she found out.
Since plantain leaves aren't exactly readily available at the local supermarket, she worried that maybe she'd been guilty of false advertising.
But since several of those who tasted the enchiladas suggested they be featured in the Cook's Corner, Ascunce took heart.
She was surprised, figuring that Cook's Corner recipes are normally decades-old family favorites plucked from grandmother's recipe box.
"But I found this recipe on Pinterest" just a week or two earlier.
Ascunce adapted it from one posted on the Land O Lakes website and distributed on Pinterest, a pinboard-style photo sharing website that is exploding in popularity. Many consider it a favorite go-to source for recipes.
"It has so many recipes that people have tried," making the recommendations trustworthy, Asunce has discovered.
"Like I do, they'll modify it and give their own comments on modifications they made and what they served with it. They're all very good recipes, and not just recipes."
Pinterest also has creative ideas for decorating, for teaching aides, for kids' parties and on and on. "You name it, it's on there."
Asunce's own Pinterest boards are devoted to crafts, children's topics, and another for the home - "like cleaning tips." And of course recipes.
A Bradner native, Ascunce (the former Jo Jennings) met her husband, Raul, author of the regular Sentinel-Tribune featured column "Relatively Speaking," while both were freshmen at Bowling Green State University.
They married right after graduation, she with a degree in music education.
Ascunce taught 35 years in the Toledo Public Schools, retiring in 2009. She also taught a couple of courses at the University of Findlay and has been the long-time children's choir director at First United Methodist Church in Bowling Green.
The couple are grandparents of two little girls in Atlanta, which is one excuse to travel.
The other is their retired status.
They made their own pilgrimage to Guatemala one year ago, traveling with a tour group called Caravan.
"We had gone with them to Costa Rica and also a California coastal tour, and we wanted to definitely see something with Mayan ruins.
"We especially wanted to go during the Mayan new year because of the talk about the Mayan calendar" and so-called predictions that the world would end. Of course, "the Mayans never really thought this was the end of the world, it was just the end of one part of their calendar. In fact, they were very optimistic about the future."
The Mayans the Ascunces met were both hard working and quite creative.
The couple picked up several examples of Mayan woven artwork including the colorful, yet sophisticated tablecloth with which they decorated the dining room table for their Guatemalan dinner.
Ascunce says she made one main modification to her pork enchiladas with mole sauce.
"The original recipe did not say to put the cheese in, but whenever I make enchiladas I put cheese in the meat mixture. It makes a creamier filling."
She got her pork from Belleville's Meat Market. "It's an arm roast. I prepared that the day ahead in a slow cooker. It is thoroughly cooked pork you're working with; it's not raw pork.
"If you have the pork made a day ahead it makes everything easier."
So much so that Ascunce rates this complex-tasting dish as only a four or five on a 10-scale for difficulty.
"You put the sauce ingredients in a pan and make sure the chocolate is melted. And you have to put it in a blender."
Four separate containers are used during preparation - the sauce pan, blender, another pan for the pork, and a casserole dish to assemble the enchiladas.
So, yes, there will be a bit of clean-up involved. But it's so worth it for this delectable entree, sure to shake up anyone's mid-winter kitchen doldrums.
"If they don't like the spicy hot part of it, just use plain diced tomatoes for the mole sauce," instead of buying the can that includes mild green chiles with the tomatoes.
Pork enchiladas with mole sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with mild green chiles
1 (1-ounce) square semi-sweet baking chocolate melted (I used 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 small (1/4 cup) onion, finely chopped
1 pound cooked pork, shredded
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
8 ounces Cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Heat oven to 350 F. Combine all sauce ingredients in 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a full boil. Cool slightly. Place mixture in 5-cup blender container or food processor bowl fitted with metal blade. Cover; blend 1 minute or until smooth. Set aside.
Melt butter in 10-inch skillet until sizzling; add onion. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened. Stir in 1/2 cup mole sauce, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded pork and red pepper; mix well.
Divide pork mixture evenly among tortillas; roll up tortillas. Place into greased 13x9-inch baking dish, seam-side down. Pour remaining sauce over tortillas; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Dietary Fiber: 2g