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Questions or Comments

Turkey Mole - meat

Posted by : Karen Selwyn

Lita wrote:
> This recipe for cholent has a little bit of a lot of things
> you wouldn't think would go together -- well, Kay Kantor 
> Pomerantz has mixed herself and you - a cholent with 
> chocolate, peanut butter, meat and beans.

When I read the word "chocolate" in the list of ingredients, 
I immediately thought of Mexican Mole (pronounced mow-lay). 
Obviously, your cholent recipe is a fusion recipe of Ashkenazi 
cholent and New World flavors.  In a well-made mole, the 
chocolate is a vague undefinable taste in the background and 
the dominant taste is one of heat and complex spices. 

The peanut butter in your recipe seems to be a bow to 
convenience, since pumpkin seeds or seasame seeds or almonds 
is definitely part of the recipe for mole.  I would suggest 
anyone making Lita's recipe use peanut butter with no added 

Growing up, Mexican food was a topic of conversation in my
house. After graduating from CCNY as a chemistry major in
the Depression, my father accepted the only job in chemistry 
he could find -- working at a hormone laboratory in Mexico 
City for what would become the Syntex corporation.  After a 
year, he sent for his fiancee (my mother) to travel from 
Brooklyn to Mexico City to get married.  As an aside, rabbis 
had no legal authority to perform marriages in Mexico back 
then, so my parents were married first in a civil ceremony 
and the next day were married by a rabbi. Their ketuba is 
absolutely beautiful with Sephardic art and Aramaic and 
Spanish writing.

During their time in Mexico City, my parents were part of a 
lively Jewish community and they often ate mole.

In the early years of my marriage, I made my one and only 
effort at making mole.  My parents were coming for a visit, 
and I decided it would be sweet and sentimental to serve them 
mole.  However, I was very timid about hot spices, so I 
reduced the amount of cayenne pepper in the recipe. The 
chocolate taste then came through too clearly.  I remember
adding more cayenne, tasting and adding more chocolate.  Why 
I didn't add other ingredients or wait to see how the flavors 
would meld, is a mystery that is lost in the mists of time.  
At any rate, the result was an inedible glop which never got 

I have since eaten good mole dishes and liked them very much.  
Be warned: Mole is intensely hot and spicy!  The chocolate 
in the recipe give no hint of the true nature of the product.

If anyone would like to try an authentic Jewish Mexican dish, 
here is the recipe from REGIONAL JEWISH COOKING by Richard 
Haase.  This is NOT the recipe I used in my unsuccessful 

Karen Selwyn

Turkey Mole 

8-10 lb turkey cut into 8 serving pieces
2 cups finely chopped onions
3 tomatoes, skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped golden seedless raisins
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups boiling chicken broth
4 tablespoons chicken fat
2 cups cold chicken broth
1 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
sesame seeds, optional

Place the turkey pieces in a large saucepan and cover with 
water.  Cover the pan and cook over a high heat for 15 
minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook for an 
additional 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the onions, tomatoes, raisins, coriander,
cayenne pepper, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, almonds, salt, 
pepper and boiling chicken broth in a large wooden mixing 
bowl.  Mix to a paste.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

In a large skillet, melt the chicken fat over a how heat.  
Add the chopped vegetables and spice mixture.  Fry for 5 
minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the cold chicken broth and chocolate to the skillet.  
Cook for 10 to 12 minutes over moderate heat, or until the 
chocolate has completely melted.  Stir constantly until the 
chocolate is evenly distributed throughout the mole sauce.

Remove the turkey pieces from the saucepan in which they 
were simmered and drain well.  Pat the pieces dry with paper 
towel.  Arrange the turkey pieces in a large baking dish in 
a single layer.  Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Pour the sauce over the turkey pieces and lower the heat to 
350 degrees.  Cook for 30 minutes further.  Sprinkle the 
dish with sesame seeds before serving, if desired.

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