Black-Eyed Pea Tacos with Mole Sauce & Fruit Salsa
Say Olé to Mole!
No, I'm not talking about the large-pawed, dirt digging, gray little creature with teeny eyes. Mole, pronounced "Moe-lay," is a delicious mexican sauce that contains hot peppers and chocolate, amongst a whole kaboodle of other ingredients that vary drastically from recipe to recipe.
The first time I came across Mole Sauce was in an authentic Mexican cantina, ironically tucked away in the hills of North Carolina. My naive family went all kinds of batty over the name ("Mole Sauce?! Ewww....") before finding out it was this establishment's claim to fame, with a whopping FORTY ingredients, including ever-alluring chocolate. And, despite the phonic misnomer, it was delicious.
As for THIS RECIPE:
Isa Moskowitz, vegan chef, author of several cookbooks as well as the blog Post Punk Kitchen, posted a super fun challenge to her facebook page the other day. In the spirit of the Food Network's hit TV show Chopped, Isa made up a vegan version of her own, challenging her fans to create a vegan entree using 4 mystery ingredients. (If you're unfamiliar with Chopped, these ingredients are usually an unlikely foursome, requiring the challenged chefs to get super creative with their dish.)
Isa was actually pretty kind with the four foods she chose for us fans.
Canned Black Eyed Peas
I immediately thought back to my first experience with Mole Sauce. Since this challenge required the recipe to take no longer than 40 minutes, I wasn't going to be replicating the authentic sauce I found back in the NC mountains. I looked up several recipes to get an idea of what should go into the pot, and came up with a quick rendition. I decided that tacos would be a good thing to pour it over, utilizing the black eyed peas as a base. Then, to compliment the spicy Mole; a fruit salsa using the blackberries and mint!
It's fun to challenge oneself in the kitchen. I hope that this is the first of many Post Punk Kitchen cook-offs. :)
Enjoy the recipe!
Prep Time: 20 min (to chop)
Total Time: 35-40 minutes
- 1 (15oz) can Black Eyed Peas - drained
- 1 ear Corn - kernels removed
- 1/2 Red Pepper - diced
- 1 Onion - diced
- 5 cloves of Garlic - minced
- 3 c. Veggie Stock - divided
- 2 T. Olive Oil
- 2 t. Cumin
- 1/4 t. Cinnamon
- 1 T. Chili Powder
- 3 T. Chickpea Flour (but any flour will do)
- 2 T. Bittersweet Chocolate
- 1 t. fresh Oregano - minced
- 1 (8 oz.) container Blackberries - cut in halves
- 4 rings of fresh or canned Pineapple - diced
- 1 small Tomato - diced
- Fresh Mint (about 10 leaves) - chopped
- Lettuce (optional)
- Tortillas - 4 large or 8 small.
- Prep all fruits and veggies as specified above. It will make your cooking process flow smoothly if everything is chopped and diced before playing with fire! (The two exceptions would be the mint and avocado... don't let them see a knife until just before serving.)
- Start the Mole Sauce first:
- Sautee 2/3 of the diced onion and 2/3 of the minced garlic on medium heat until translucent.
- Stir in cumin and cinnamon and stir until coated. Then, add chili powder and flour.
- Add 2 1/2 c. of veggie stock (set remaining 1/2 c. aside) slowly so as not to clump the spices.
- Add oregano and simmer for 15 minutes.
- As it simmers...
- Lightly salt diced tomatoes in a small dish to draw out their juices. Set aside (for the salsa).
- Combine Black Eyed Peas, Red Pepper, Corn Kernels, remaining Garlic, remaining Onion, and remaining Stock. Bring to a boil, then cook on medium-low until liquid is reduced to a stew-like consistency - about 10 minutes.
- Add Salt & Pepper to your liking.
- Return to Mole Sauce:
- It should be nice and thick, and hot! Add chocolate in small pieces, tasting as you go. I added about 2 T. chocolate. When chocolate is melted, turn off the heat and let sit.
- Salsa, the final step!
- Toss Berries, Salted Tomato, Pineapple, and Mint and revel in the beauty of this rainbowy fruit salsa!
- To Assemble the dish:
- Spread about 1/4 c. of the pea filling on a tortilla (lined with lettuce if you opt to use it) and fold over or roll. Drizzle with Mole sauce (I say "drizzle" because this stuff is HOT!), and place a hefty scoop of salsa to the side.
And now for her close-up:
Due to the time constraints of the challenge, I had to forgo the slivered avocado and lime wheel garnish. (My husband actually put up a timer on the laptop screen, and used Google translator to robotically narrate my kitchen moves!) All the same, I think it looks (and it WAS) pretty tasty! :)