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Mi Corazón

Mexico’s moles are the height of saucy seduction

Photograph by Jessica Boone

If romance had a flavor, it would probably taste like mole. More than a sauce, southern Mexico’s versatile mixture of chiles, chocolate, and nuts can’t help upstaging all it covers, even filet mignon. The preparation can be ingredient intensive (see our guide below), but Rocio Camacho of Rocio’s Mole de Los Dioses in Bell shares her recipe for a more approachable version served atop steak that will work Latin spice into your Valentine’s Day.

Filet Mignon with Mole
(Serves 6) 

1  1-inch piece cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
7 pasilla (ancho) chiles, about 2 ounces, stemmed, seeded, and deveined
¼ cup raisins
16-ounce can huitlacoche
½ plantain, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cups (about) water
½ 3.1-ounce cake Mexican chocolate
2 teaspoons kosher salt
6  1 ½-inch-thick beef tenderloin steaks, about 2 pounds
¾ cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated 

Directions: Heat heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add cinnamon and cloves and stir until spices are fragrant and lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Transfer spices to small bowl to cool. Finely grind spices. Heat same skillet over medium-high heat. Add chiles and toast until pliable and slightly darkened (do not burn), about 2 minutes. Combine chiles and raisins in medium bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover, and let stand until chiles are very soft, about 1 hour. Drain chile mixture and transfer to blender. Add huitlacoche, plantain, and spices, and puree until smooth. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add puree and cook, stirring frequently to allow flavors to develop, about 30 minutes. Whisk in enough water to reach consistency of thick sauce, and bring to simmer. Add chocolate and salt and stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. (Mole can be prepared up to one week ahead. Cool, cover, and refrigerate.)

Heat remaining olive oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Add steaks to skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, turning once, about 8 minutes for medium rare. Return mole to saucepan and simmer over medium heat. Transfer steaks to plates and top with mole. Divide cheese evenly and sprinkle over steaks. Serve.