My dear friend from Chicago used to open her home EVERY Friday for open table dinner. She would cook up batches of homestyle goodness for large groups of friends and family each week. Not only did we return time and time again because of the fun company, good conversation, and unrelenting hospitality, but we also returned because she happened to be one of the best cooks I’ve encountered. Homemade empanadas, hand-formed tamales, queso fundido, chilaquiles, and the star of each show, her mole verde. Rich, complex, and I-want-to-eat-it-like-a-soup delicious, the mole verde kept us all coming back for more. Before I moved from Chicago, she was gracious enough to invite me over and share all of her secrets so I wouldn’t miss them while I was away. Like all moles, the ingredients may sound a little unusual, but trust me when I say that its sum is so much greater than its parts. Serve along side any protein or vegetable, and you got yourself an instant show stopper.
In Cuisinart, blend vegetables and herbs with chicken stock until liquid. In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot, heat peanut butter, stirring constantly over medium heat, until peanut butter is tan, thick, and bubbly (about 10 minutes). Be careful, because it can easily burn. Add blended veggies; simmer for 20 minutes. In Cuisinart, blend jar of Mole Verde (which can be found in the Mexican isle of any grocery store); add to pot. Add bouillon; simmer on low until ready to eat. The mole can be made a day or two in advance or left on low for hours at a time; simply add more chicken stock if the mole needs thinning. When ready to eat, ladle into shallow bottom serving bowls and top with fish, chicken, beef, pork, or vegetables of choice (our favorite is a simple grilled salmon). It also freezes wonderfully! Serves 8-10.