Purported to be one of the first intercontinental dishes in the Americas, mole sauce has various origin stories, many involving impoverished clergy exercising creativity in hosting visiting officials in the Puebla state of Mexico, just southeast of the capital city.*
Similarly, modern interpretations of the dish abound. This particular version captures all the multifaceted depths and complexities of the best of ‘em while retaining the InstantPot simplicity of one-pot dining.
Again, we turn to our favorite source, the folks at America’s Test Kitchen (subsidiary of acclaimed Cooks Illustrated) and their masterful publication, “Multicooker Perfection.” Do yourself a huge favor and grab a copy from their site. And, yes, this recipe and those in the book do assume you own a multicooker such as the InstantPot — but who doesn’t these days?
*The intercontinental nature of mole is attributed to its mélange of ingredients from Africa, Europe and North America.
• 3 pasilla or poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded and chopped
• 3 pounds boneless pork tenderloin
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 onion, chopped
• Salt and pepper
• 4 garlic cloves, smashed
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ⅛ teaspoon ground clove
• 1 cup chicken broth/stock
• 1 cored tomato or a 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
• 10 ounces tomatillo, husked, stemmed and halved (our new favorite ingredient; try ‘em raw on salads!)
• 3 tablespoons dry-roasted peanuts or natural peanut butter (i.e., no added sugars)
• 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted for nutty flavor
• 2 tablespoons raisins
• 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
Toast and stir the chiles over the highest sauté function of your multicooker until fragrant — approximately 4 minutes. Set chiles aside.
(We recommend serving this over rice. Begin rice cooker now.)
In the multicooker, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Sauté onion with 1 teaspoon of salt until softened — approximately 4 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, cinnamon and clove. Cook until your kitchen smells wonderful — approximately 30 seconds. In goes stock/broth, tomato, tomatillos, peanuts (or peanut butter), 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, raisins, cocoa, those set-aside chiles and ½ teaspoon ground pepper. Give it all a stir. Float the tenderloin(s) right on top of it all, keeping them from fully submerging.
Lock up the multicooker lid. Select high pressure and cook for 13 minutes. Go make yourself a dry martini, after which you will unplug the appliance and allow it to “naturally” depressurize for 14 minutes.
Finally, remove the lid. Tent tenderloins with foil on a cutting board. Using an immersion blender (buy one!) or standard blender (not recommended), purée all cooking liquid. Return purée to heat and cook down to desired consistency (just nappe, as the French say). Meanwhile, liberally salt until the flavor “pops.”
Slice the tenderloin(s) thin. Place them over a bed of rice, drape with mole sauce, and shower with toasted sesame seeds and cilantro. Then, don’t thank us, thank those impecunious nuns down in Puebla.