Sleet and freezing rain turning to snow in weather news today. Perfect day for ham and beans. I keep tweaking the recipe for these, adding tomato paste today along with the mole sauce. Main ingredients are pinto beans, cured ham, onions, chicken broth, various chili powders, a mole from New Mexico chilies and garlic. The cornbread is a standard recipe of half corn meal, half flour, an egg, butter, milk, salt, and green and red peppers. I tossed in a handful of shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses, just for fun.
I’ve been making mole sauces before I knew what a mole sauce was. I called mine “ancho sauce” because I used dried ancho peppers to make it. I still do, although other dried chilies are in this one, too. There are tons of recipes for sauces of this sort but they have in common a general method: Gather dried peppers and remove stems and seeds, simmer them in water or stock, and then whirl them in a blender with whatever else suits the occasion. I always add garlic cloves, dried oregano, and lime juice to mine. These are the sauces that draw double takes when reading the recipes – many call for the addition of chocolate. I think you could get by without a blender if you use powdered chilies, and I’d bet that is how most of these sauces have been made.