The Mole Coloradito of Oaxaca is one of its famous seven moles and in this recipe, it is used as a braising medium for tender, gelatinous oxtail.
Oxtail in Mole Coloradito – Cola de Res en Coloradito
15 ml/1 tbsp oil
1.25 kg/2 1/2 lb oxtail, cut up into sections
1 bay leaf
1 sprig each fresh marjoram and parsley
12 black peppercorns
14 garlic cloves, unpeeled
400 g/14 oz tomatoes, halved
50 g/2 oz ancho chillies
10 g/1/3 oz guajillo chillies
100 g/4 oz ripe plantain or unripe banana, peeled weight
30 ml/2 tbsp lard, duck/goose fat or oil
175 g/6 oz onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
15 ml/1 tbsp dried Mexican oregano
5 ml/1 tsp ground cinnamon
35 g/1 1/4 oz brioche or any other plain sweet bread
100 g/4 oz dark tahini (sesame paste)
35 g/1 1/2 oz dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
15 g/1/2 oz hulled sesame seeds
Cooked white rice or tortillas, to serve (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the 1 tbsp of oil in a large frying pan and brown the oxtail well on all sides. Remove the pieces to a saucepan, add the herbs, six peppercorns, three cloves and six garlic cloves, and pour in enough cold water to cover by 4 cm/1 1/2 in. Simmer until the meat is totally tender and virtually falling off the bone, at least two hours, probably three or four. Set aside to cool. Remove the oxtail pieces from the broth with a slotted spoon and strip the meat from the bones. Discard the bones and refrigerate the meat and broth separately. When the fat floating on the surface of the broth has solidified, carefully remove it with a spoon.
Grind the remaining peppercorns and cloves in a spice grinder.
Heat a heavy frying over medium heat and toast the chillies, pressing down on them with a spatula, until they start to smell aromatic, about 3 minutes. Flip them over and do the same on the other side. Place them in a bowl, cover with boiling water, put a small saucepan lid or plate on top to keep them submerged, and set them aside to soak for 30 minutes. Drain and discard the stem, ribs and seeds. Place them in a food processor, add 100 ml/3 1/2 fl oz of the oxtail broth and process until you have a thick, brick-red sauce. Strain through a medium mesh sieve to remove the bits of skin. Don’t be tempted to skip this step as the skin of the guajillo chilli in particular is hard and sharp.
Heat the grill to high. Line the grill pan with foil and arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, and remaining garlic cloves on it. Grill 10 cm/4 in from the heat for about 20 minutes, until lightly charred, turning the garlic cloves over half way through. Cool, then peel the garlic cloves and place them in a food processor with the tomatoes, any juices and the peeled plantain. Process to a chunky purée.
While the tomatoes are grilling, heat the lard, duck fat or oil in a frying pan and cook the onions until soft and golden. Sprinkle in the ground spices, oregano and cinnamon and cook for a minute. Add the chilli and tomato purées and some seasoning, and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until nice and thick. Stir in the oxtail and simmer very gently for a further 20 minutes.
Process the brioche to fine breadcrumbs and add to the sauce along with the tahini and chocolate. Stir well and simmer for ten minutes, until the chocolate has melted and the flavours have blended. Check the seasoning.
Heat a small frying pan and toast the sesame seeds, stirring regularly, until they turn golden.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the Coloradito and serve immediately, with rice or tortillas.
Chilli and Chocolate Stars of the Mexican Cocina by Isabel Hood is available from Amazon.co.uk
Just The Two of Us Entertaining Each Other by Isabel Hood is available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk