How convenient that this week’s Meatless Mondays A-Z challenge –for which Heather chose D is for Dark…Chocolate–falls on the same day as my latest cooking class at Whole Foods , entitled, yes, Meatless Mexican Monday.
After all, the Mayans and the Aztecs were cooking with cocoalong before little girls at summer camp were making s’mores around the campfire.
this is the god of chocolate.
So, what was I to do but combine my personal energies and efforts, and make sure that my Meatless Mexican menu included the incorporation of a little (dark) cocoa?
Stereotypically, when thinking about Mexican food and chocolate, the inkblot response is, “Mole!”
I am not an expert in Mexican cuisine although I like to pretend I am but I do know that mole isn’t just the super thick sludge of a chocolate mess that I once tried and wanted to spit right back out like a four-year-old encountering overcooked broccoli.
There are tons of different variations, but what I do believe they all have in common is the massive list of ingredients.
I’m pretty sure I once saw an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives where they actually threw in the kitchen sink.
My version probably can’t really be considered mole in any authentic Mayan crop circles, but it does include every spice known to man.
And cocoa. With cinnamon. Because cinnamon makes chocolate ‘Mexican.’
Despite the lengthy list of seasonings and spices, this recipe takes all of 20 minutes to make…
…and that includes “cooking” the stand-alone star ingredient: TVP Chorizo Crumbles.
In fact, most of the flavor comes from that chorizo–
–which, to be honest, is fabulous on its own, and, I’m sure, has a million potential uses.
But for this week, we need it to become mole.
And all it takes to make that happen is tomato sauce, and tomato paste…
…and the aforementioned cinnamon and cocoa.
This would be where you could also make it even spicier than it already is by adding more chili powder or cayenne.
But if you already chose to add the cayenne to the chorizo, don’t say I didn’t warn you when you suddenly open the fridge and start chugging milk straight from the carton.
The one thing this recipe DOES have in common with authentic mole?
It looks like sludge.
But that’s nothing a little Vegan Lime Crema and a spring of cilantro can’t fix (or at least cover up). Cinnamon Cocoa Mole w. TVP Chorizo[Makes 2 1/2 cups or so]
2 cups TVP Chorizo Crumbles[recipe below]
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
4 tsp. unweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. brown sugar (optional)
cayenne or chili powder (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat.
Once heated through, serve as you would your favorite taco/burrito filling.
TVP Chorizo Crumbles
[Makes 2 cups]
1 cup boiling water
1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
1 Tbsp. light chili powder
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp. liquid aminos
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp. smoked (or sweet) paprika
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric or annato
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (more, or less, as desired…but it will be spicy!)
Combine TVP and all seasonings/spices in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to combine.
Pour water over mixture, stirring well.
Allow to ‘cook’ for about 10 minutes.
Use in the Cinnamon Cocoa Mole recipe above, or cook quickly over medium heat to remove some moisture before storing and using as you would any other crumbled sausage.