Bayless Mole Enchiladas starring "chicken style seitan"

This sauce recipe from Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill is the single most involved thing that I have ever cooked- ever. It took a total of four and a half hours from start to finish yesterday! A bit over two hours of that is simmer time, but that leaves two hours and some change of actively cooking to make this. It involves roasting, frying, blending, and then the hours of simmering.

Now, I have to say, it tastes amazing. It tastes like it was labored over- which is good, or I probably would've thrown it and the pot that I made it in out of the window. It's not at all heavy on the chocolate taste. In fact, no one flavor (of the eighteen ingredients) dominates. If I had to choose one that stands out, it's the peppers (there are three kinds), but just when you think you're tasting the cinnamon, then you taste the almonds or the anise or the garlic or the tomatillos. It's kind of a dance of flavors going on, which is amazingly interesting. It is probably the best mole that I've had.

However, that doesn't change the fact that you need the bulk of the day to make it, so it will be a very special occasion sauce. And really, it's not a sauce that would be good to eat weekly anyway. I have no idea what the calorie count is, but I'd guesstimate it at about 400 cals per serving (for the sauce alone). This is, of course, completely pulled out of thin air, but based on the fact that some of the ingredients have a lot of calories (almonds, raisins, chocolate, oil), and the peppers, almonds, garlic and raisins are all oil fried before going into the sauce (and that oil stays in the sauce).

Which leads to the other down side of this sauce. It is ridiculously messy. So there's that oil that I mentioned- it's a 1/2 cup (or starts out as that before you fry all the aforementioned ingredients). Then, after soaking the chilis for a half hour, you puree them with some of the soaking water and then add that puree into the oil. If you've ever put water into hot oil, you'll have an idea of what you're in for. Now make that splatter mess reddish brown and that's the treat that you're in for for the next hour of cooking until you get to the point where you add broth to calm that noise down (then have that all simmer for two hours).

Having said all of this, it is a decadent sauce to behold and will surely make you feel like a master saucier for having gone through all of this work. I kept the enchilada filling simple since I spent so much time on the sauce that it would be lunacy to then have other flavors battling the mole. I just sauteed onion, garlic, green pepper and cubed "chicken style" seitan (from the RFD book, see Fajita post), added a bit over a cup of sauce to the mix and used that for the filling. A lot of the mole that was in the pan and on top of the enchiladas dried during baking, so I saved about 2 cups to use for dousing before serving and froze another 2 cups to have another time.

Also, I halved his recipe which makes 3/4 of a GALLON of sauce. As I said, I still got to freeze 2 cups after making a saucy dish, but if you feel that you would only be up for this mole production once in your life, it may be a good idea to make the whole recipe and freeze a whole bunch to then pull out when you don't feel like cooking all day but want the mole fix.

If you're up for it, you can find the recipe HERE

Chiliquiles. Tastier than they look.

This would be an instance of the photo really not doing the dish justice! This is a Rick Bayless recipe- mutilated into veganness (no cheese or meat). I did use refried beans in it as a protein (otherwise, you're really just eating saucy chips). It's an excellent recipe (no real surprise, the man makes amazing food). Spicy, saucy, flavorful- and the perfect way to get rid of multiple 1/2 bags of chips.

Bayless' guac

The non-veganized recipe is here

This unique guac is from chef Rick Bayless of Chicago's Frontera Grill, which, having lived in Chicago, I know to be amazing. My husband saw him on GMA and sent me the link, so I veganized it with tempeh bacon and made it the other night.

Holy. Phenomenal. Guac is pretty much always good anyway, but the Chipotle chilis and tempeh bacon really add another dimension to it. Mr. Bayless also advises to rinse off onions, which I think is a great technique that keeps the onion from overpowering the dish (maybe everyone knows about this, but it's the first time that I've seen it in a recipe).

The tempeh needs to be marinaded for at least 4 hours before frying it up in a pan for this dish. That sounds like a hassle, but on a afternoon that you'll be home anyway, it's totally easy peasy. I printed the tempeh marinade recipe before, but to save you from digging, here it is...

I use an 8 x 8 baking pan and whisk ingredients

4 T Tamari
1/2 c water
1 T Agave Nectar
a pinch- 1/8 t garlic powder
1 T Liquid Smoke

Mix all 5 ingredients in pan. Slice tempeh about 1/8" thick lengthwise, coat each slice in marinade, and leave for 2 hours. After 2 hours, turn to coat other side of slices.