My mole needs help
I am making a mole for a staff party and it is flat. I used a high quality spice mix that has always worked for me before, but something is missing. This is a red mole, and I have added extra Mexican chocolate, cinnamon, and almonds. It has yams, rainbow chard, various squashes, and fennel.
Any suggestions? It is spicy enough, it just lacks depth.
I just made a "real" (almonds, sesame seeds, pepitas, chiles negro, mulato, guajillo, pasilla, etc..) mole poblano last week, noticed the same thing. Had all the correct flavors, but no "pop". I added cider vinegar (about 1/4 cup per quart) and it helped tremendously.
The first thing to add in any scratch made Mexican sauce is salt. Dried chiles love salt and their flavor will bloom when there is a good salt level.
I did a week long cooking class at the CIA San Antonio on Mexican cuisine. One of the dishes I was assigned to make was Mole Poblano. I thought it turned out pretty well and was happy with the results. The instructor - a Mexican woman who had owned a restaurant specializing in mole - tasted it, said it was very good but needed more salt and proceeded to add probably at least as much as I had already added. I tasted the mole again and it was not overly salt but the flavor was just magnificent. The extra salt had really made the flavors come alive.
If you haven't added the veggies yet, take a tomato and either grate it (cut off the stem end and grate on the large holes of a box grater) or peel and blend it. Heat some oil in a skillet until hot. add the tomato stir until the tomato has released and cooked off it's liquid and the remaining puree begins to darken, usually about 5-10 minutes depending upon how large and how juicy the tomato was. Slowly add about a half to one cup of your mole liquid so that it will sizzle the whole time you're adding the sauce to the pan. If it stops sizzling as you add the liquid, stop adding the rest and let the mixture in the pan come back up to temp, then continue adding. Simmer about 5-10 more minutes and then stir in the rest of your sauce.
If you've already added the veggies, try the above but once you've simmered the tomato and sauce, add it back to your pot with mole and the vegetables.