In Mexico, the day after Halloween is celebrated as Dia de Los Muertos- Day of the Dead. If you can plan a trip to Mexico this week, you are so lucky, or are you? Depends on what's on the menu.
On this day, locals are baking a traditional bread with the Mexican version of a scull and crossbones and other dishes inviting their dead guests back for their favorite meal. Today, in honor of my brother Dave, who needs a taste of real Mexican ethnicity(Dave believed Taco Bell was Mexican food), I'm making a molé(rhymes with olé). Typically, every Mexican family has their own recipe for molé. A kitchen ritual that keeps long past love-ones coming back, every November 1st.
I love butternut squash this time of year, so butternut squash molé is on our menu tonight. The buttery, nutty flavors of this salsa can be slathered over anything: beef, pork, chicken, veggies. Or you can eat it like you would chocolate pudding, in a tiny ramekin. For Dave, I'll pour this molé over house made chicken enchiladas.
Put on some salsa musica, or Dave's favorite, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and vamanos(Let's Go)!
Here's what I'm putting in my molé, pretty much in this order:
White onion, chopped
Fresh oregano and thyme
A handful of chocolate chips, okay, 2 handfuls
A cup of strong brewed coffee
Golden raisins, 2 handfuls
4 cups chicken stock, low sodium
Ancho chiles, if they are dried, like mine, soak in water 30 minutes, seed, purée
Simmer together 1 hour
While the salsa simmers, roast butternut squash and almonds with a little olive oil. After roasting, stir into the simmering salsa and take off heat. Let rest for 1 hour while the wonderful spice and rich dark colors infuse in this molé. Reheat and ladle over the whole enchilada. Garnish with lime and 26 pepitas(Mexican pumpkin seeds). Why 26? Dave's lucky number.
Welcome back, Dave~~~