I am no stranger to mole, but our recent trip to Mexico City, gave me an appreciation for Mexican food like no other. Fresh, soft and supple corn tortillas that blew my mind. An assortment of flavourful vegetables. Spicy salsa on the side, to add as much or as little heat as I could tolerate. Vegan eats were a bit hard to find, but after scoping out the right restaurants, we had unearthed some gems. My two favourite restaurants served an abundance of tacos. One of them served a delicious chocolate-infused mole sauce. Rob did a double-take after I ordered another taco and did not share. I had to savour another one!
Chocolate in savoury meals can be a bit tricky. A bit heavy handed, and it can sink in your tummy. A good balance of sweet, spicy and salty are necessary to balance the flavours well. This is an unusual spin on mole, in soup form, bulked up with vegetables and brown rice. The tomato-chocolate backdrop was a delicious spin without being heavy (and the initial puree prior to adding the stock would be a delicious sauce on its own). While this wasn’t in a taco, we served this with tortillas on the side.
Like mole, tamales are also a Mexican comfort food. Our next Mexican culinary adventures will be tamales. We were planning to have a tamalada (a tamale-making party) prior to Christmas, as tamales are usually eaten around holidays, such as Christmas and New Year’s. However, it is harder to schedule a large gathering of fellows than you might think. It means the tamalada will happen in the new year. With my recent chocolate themed eats, I will likely be proposing chocolate tamales for dessert.
What is your favourite Mexican comfort food?
This is my submission to Deb for this week’s Souper Sundays, to this week’s Weekend Wellness, to this month’s We Should Cocoa, to this month’s No Croutons Required and to this month’s My Legume Love Affair.
Holy Moley Veggie and Rice Soup
Adapted from The 30 Minute Vegan Soup’s On!
1 tbsp coconut oil, or oil of choice
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp chopped roasted hatch chiles (from a can)
5 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp Ancho chile powder, divided
4 cups vegetable stock or water (I used water)
14.5 oz can diced roasted tomatoes, with juice
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
2 cups cooked chickpeas (rinsed and drained if canned – black beans would be nice, too)
1.5 cups sliced zucchini (halved lengthwise then thinly sliced)
1.5 cups chopped carrots
1 cup corn kernels
2 tbsp lime juice, or to taste
1.5 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
2 cups cooked brown rice
salt, or to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
1. In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Once hot, add the onion, sprinkle with salt and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the hatch chiles and garlic and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally, being careful not to let anything burn. Add the cumin, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp Ancho chile powder. Cook for 1 minute more, stirring constantly to prevent burning.
2. Lower the heat to medium an add 1 cup of the vegetable stock/water, tomatoes and chocolate chips. Cover and cook for 8 minutes. remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Place in a blender and blend until completely smooth, being careful to vent any steam that may accumulate.
3. Add the remaining 3 cups of broth/water to the pot. Increase heat to medium. Add the chickpeas, zucchini, carrot and cook for 5 minutes, until the vegetables are almost tender-crisp. Stir in the corn, tamari, lime juice, cooked brown rice and remainder of the Ancho chile powder (1/2 tsp). Taste and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Stir in the cilantro and serve with chopped tortillas.