M. Andrew Gordon

Archive for April, 2010|Monthly archive page

Coconut Milk + Mole + Pork

In Main Dish on April 26, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Sometimes my cooking style can be a little bit haphazard, combining ingredients from different cuisines or attempting to use something in a different manner, like a basil-pine nut ice cream which will be posted up here sometime in the near future, probably in a post focused on ice creams.  But today I am talking about a lovely coconut mole sauce.  Coconut milk is featured in many southern Asian dishes, most notably in Thai and Indian. Yes, it has other uses, but it really shines in the curries of those Asian cuisines.  Mole, on the other hand, is the national sauce of Mexico, a savory blend of dried peppers, garlic, almonds, raisins, chocolate, and a healthy of dose of mystique.  Earlier this year I made a batch of mole for the first time and wound up with about a half gallon, which led me to have a fantastic stock of mole sitting in my freezer.

Kitchen Tip: Leftover liquids, such as wine, stocks, or, wait for it,…mole…that you might want to freeze in smaller servings can be frozen in ice cube trays.  Either leave the liquid in the trays or once it freezes, pop them out and store in a bag.

Now, how does coconut milk and mole come to co-exist?  When one also has pork shoulder or loin in their freezer that they want to use, of course.  My favorite way to use up a meat that has been sitting in the freezer a tad too long (not far too long – I’m not interested in freezer burnt meats, here) is to let them braise for hours in a flavorful liquid so that they soak up that flavor and becoming ridiculously tender.  This recipe obviously does not need frozen meat, as I think it was good enough to stand in for a taco filling, but you will need to have mole on hand.  I would suppose that some store bought moles would work in this case, but I have no experience with them.

BREAKFAST UPDATE: We have a winner!  Having served the coconut mole pork during the week, on Saturday morning we were staring at the leftovers and trying to figure out breakfast.  Sure, that meat would be a wonderful omelette filling.  But Lena had the sharp wit to dream up a coconut mole pork cake, using rice as the bread binder.  Simple to make but extremely delicious and unique, I am putting these on my short list of unique brunch items for a future brunch (see Shrimp Waffles and Shredded Wheat rolls with Mashed Sweet Potato at the bottom of this post).  Recipe for the coco-mole cakes follows main recipe.

Coconut Mole Pork

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ pounds pork loin, cut into ¾ inch pieces
  • 1 red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ cup mole sauce
  • 1 pound small Yukon gold potatoes, cleaned
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and sliced into thin strips
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in heavy, deep skillet.  Add half of the pork and cook until browned.  Transfer to a bowl.  Repeat with one tablespoon oil and rest of pork.
  2. Heat remaining oil and add onion and garlic.  Cook until starting to soften and onion is bright red.  Add coconut milk and bring to a simmer.  Stir in mole.  Return pork to skillet and add the potatoes.  Cook for one minute.
  3. Add jalapeno, lime juice, and spices.  Cook for five minutes.  Transfer to a slow cooker and cook on low heat for 5 to 8 hours.
  4. Bring two cups of water to a bowl.  Add rice, reduce heat to simmer, and cover.  Let cook for 20 minutes or until the water has been absorbed and/or evaporated.  Divide rice among bowls, spoon pork over and garnish with cilantro and avocado.

Coco-mole Pork Cake

  • 1 ½ cups shredded pork in coconut-mole sauce
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 6-8 eggs
  • ¼ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • Tortillas
  1. Combine pork, rice, 1 or 2 eggs and mix until combined.  Add bread crumbs and lime zest and mix gently.  Form mixture into about six 3 inch patties.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook patties for several minutes, each side, until browned and crisp.
  3. Heat remaining tablespoon of butter in separate skillet.  Cook remaining eggs and serve on top of pork cakes.  Serve with avocado and warmed tortillas on the side.