Bayless/Raichlin Mole Recipes
I recently tried Rick Bayless' mole poblano and it was a complete catastrophe. I could swear the proportions are wildly off -- but who knows. I wound up making adjustments and eventually produced a mole that was nothing less than outstanding, but it was also nothing like the recipe. I used only a fraction of the burnt-flavored chile sludge (one fifth?) and mixed this with the remaining ingredients. This was just perfect. I've tried other recipes from Bayless -- deep-fried plaintain fritters, for example -- that have failed spectacularly.
I'm thinking of trying Steve Raichlin's mole recipe next (from "Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades"). It's much simpler and uses much fewer ingredients. Thus far Raichlin has never let me down. Has anyone tried it? Does it work out?
I also had a bad experience with Bayless' mole recipe. The source of my problem is how he recommends cooking the dried chiles. He says to fry them for 30 seconds and then soak them in water to reconstitute them. After 15 seconds in oil the dried chiles turn to charcoal. Now I cook them for about 2 seconds on either side, just so they have a little carmelization, but aren't burnt. The rest of the recipe works fine.
30 seconds is way too long if youre oil is hot. I made Diana Kennedy's mole poblano for Christmas and I don't recall but she either says "fry quickly" or "a few seconds a side" before reconstituting. I burned the first few (probably about 30 seconds) and ended up throwing them out. The chiles should not smell burnt at all, and if they do, do them over. I've not tried the Bayless recipe, but if you ended up with burnt chile sludge, the chiles certainly were overcooked. I think about 10-15 seconds total was my final fry time, but you have to watch closely depending on the chili and oil heat. Really, you just have to make sure that the fried chile isn't burnt.
Good luck next time you try the recipe (Bayless' or others)--it was really fantastic.
Wow, I'm really surprised to hear that about your experience with Bayless! I've never made his mole poblano recipe, but I've made dozens of others, 90% of which have worked beautifully. In fact, I have had a higher success rate with his recipes than almost any other cookbook.
In any case, if you want to try another mole poblano recipe, Zarela Martinez' recipe in Food From My Heart is good. (It makes a huge quantity, so I usually freeze some.) Raichlen is usually pretty reliable too.