On Thursday February 11, local chef Carlos Baez of The Spread threw down against celebrity chef Bobby Flay. After besting another Long Island chef in the first round, he and Flay went head-to-head to create the best chicken mole. Flay ultimately won the challenge, but it was close! The judges declared Baez’s mole supreme. Flay, however, adorned his with a tomatillo salsa that impressed the judges.
I didn't win this challenge but I feel really happy with the results,” says Baez. “I know my chicken mole was well balance and traditional.”
Baez used his grandmother’s recipe for mole in the challenge.
“My mom was so happy when I told her that I was going to make my grandmother’s recipe,” he reveals. “Mole-it's something that I'm really proud I know how to make.”
Chef Carlos Baez’s Chicken Mole Recipe
8 dried mulato chiles, wiped clean, seeds and veins removed, and seeds reserved
5 dried ancho chiles, wiped clean, seeds and veins removed, and seeds reserved
6 dried pasilla chiles, wiped clean, seeds and veins removed, and seeds reserved
2 dried chipotle chiles, wiped clean, seeds and veins removed, and seeds reserved
4 Roma tomatoes, cut into quarters
6 tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and cut into quarters
1 medium onion, halved
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
5 tablespoons lard or shortening, or more as needed
10 whole black peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1 (3-inch) stick Mexican canela or cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole anise seeds
2 teaspoons black raisins
20 whole almonds, blanched
2 ounces pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
2 stale corn tortillas
3 stale baguettes, cut into 1-inch slices
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 ounces Mexican chocolate, or more to taste, coarsely chopped
Up to 1/2 cup of sugar, as needed
1/4 cup sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Poach the chicken in 2 quarts water with the onion, garlic, and salt. When cooked through, transfer the chicken to a plate and reserve the cooking liquid. Pour the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve. Remove and reserve the meat from the bones, discarding the bones and skin.
On a comal or in a cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat, dry-roast the chiles, flipping occasionally, until they start to blister and change color. Transfer the chiles to a bowl of hot water and soak for 15 minutes. Drain the chiles and reserve the water then transfer the chiles to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, adding the reserved water as needed. Push the purée through a small mesh sieve and set aside.
On a comal or in a cast-iron skillet over moderate heat, dry-roast the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion, and garlic. Remove from heat and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel the tomatoes and the garlic.
In a small skillet, over moderately low heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the lard. Add the peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, and anise seeds and toast until fragrant. Remove from the heat.
Using the remaining 4 tablespoons of lard, fry the raisins until they plump and change color. Remove with a slotted spoon. Continue the frying process with the almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, tortillas, bread, and reserved chile seeds, adding more lard if needed.
In a blender or food processor, purée the roasted vegetables, spices, and fried ingredients in small batches, adding water as needed, to form a smooth purée. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.
In a Dutch oven over moderate heat, heat the canola oil until hot but not smoking. Fry the chile purée, stirring constantly until it changes color, about 8 minutes. Add the reserved vegetable and spice mixture. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the mole thickens, about 1 hour. Add about 2 cups of the reserved chicken broth and simmer for 30 minutes. The mole should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the chocolate and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Season to taste with salt and sugar, and add more chocolate if needed.
Mexican white rice
1 Cup of Rice
1/2 cup cold water
1 1/2 cup hot water
1 small garlic clove
3 Tbs. white onion chopped
2 Tbs. Vegetable oil
Salt to taste
A few drops of lime juice
Place the rice in a bowl with warm water and set aside for 15 minutes
Meanwhile, place the chopped onion, clove of garlic and 1/2 cup of cold water in a blender and process until you have a smooth mixture.
After 15 minutes, drain the water and rinse the rice with the help of a colander and cold water until water is clear.
Add vegetable oil to a saucepan and place over a medium high heat. Heat oil and add the rice. Fry the rice, stirring constantly until it becomes transparent, about 12 minutes. With the help of a spoon, drain any excess oil after this step.
Add the Onion and garlic mixture to the rice and stir
Add a few drops of lime juice.
When the water starts boiling, lower the heat to the lowest temperature, season with salt to your own taste and cover the saucepan. Do not remove the lid.
After 20 minutes the water should be absorbed almost completely. The rice should look cooked and soft.