Monday, June 25, 2012

Vegan Chopped: Black Eyed Pea-Stuffed Blackberry Arepas with Chocolate Mole and Mint Cilantro Pico de Gallo

After my pseudo-Persian fail, I decided mole was the way to go for this challange. I've only had mole a few times, both when I was very young, and I hated it--though my tastes have changed--so I'm not sure if the flavor is that of a typical mole. I used a David Lebovitz recipe as a template and some advice I remembered from Rick Bayless. 

I toasted the whole ingredients to add intensity and cut the sauteing to save time. I think sauteing would round out the flavors better and add a layer of depth, though, so if you have time, saute the onions and garlic.  I also omitted the tomatoes and dried fruit. I intended to add raisins, but couldn't find them, so I thought about adding a little sweetener, but my chocolate is very sweet, so I decided the blackberries and chocolate would balance those flavors. I think the mole was missing a bit of brightness, so I'd serve with a lime wedge.

I knew my blackberries were tart, and would add just a faint flavor, but a ton of color if I put them into the water for the masa, but I didn't want the photos to be too muddy, so I went with bi-colored masa.  You can't taste the blackberries at all, but they add a brilliant color. The extra sugar seemed to caramelize a bit when the arepas were fried, so the outside browned up more than the regular arepas, which JD loved, but they also stuck a bit. I would definitely use this trick to make masa more festive in the future.

The black eyed filling was very simple due to the time limit, but if I had more time, I would have sauteed onions and garlic and simmered the beans with them for ten minutes.

If I made this dish again, I'd stuff the plain arepas with slices of avocado, and maybe add some Daiya or Follow your heart to the black eyed pea filling. These changes would give great color contrasts and add some moisture to the bean filling.

The addition of mint to the pico was nice, and it gave a light, fresh flavor. I omitted garlic, because I thought it might overpower the mint, and the mole.

All in all, this was a good dish. I probably wouldn't make the mole again, because it's not really our thing, and it's both time and ingredient intensive, but JD and I both enjoyed this meal. I make arepas, stuffed arepas, and salsa often, and as I said, I would use the blackberry trick again, especially since JD loved it. The top presentation was really pretty, but after eating one, I knew you needed some mole and pico in each bite, so the last picture is a much representation of well balanced flavors, and I could imagine serving this a party food.

"Quick" Blackberry Chocolate Mole
by Christina Terriquez

2 guadillo peppers
2 pasilla peppers
1 cup water
1 teaspoon fennel or anise seeds
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (I forgot to add this)
1/2 cup almonds
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (I used a mix of beige and black)
1/4 fresh or frozen blackberries
2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion
 2 cloves garlic

 Lightly toast the peppers, they should puff up, and change color, but not become totally black of they will taste acrid. Cut the tops of the peppers off and discard the seeds. Tear or cut the peppers into small pieces, and place in your blender with the water.

Gently toast the fennel, coriander, cloves and cumin seeds, then add them to the blender. Add all remaining ingredients and blend well.

Strain mole into a heavy 2 quart saucepan and simmer over medium low heat for at least twenty minutes, stirring throughout.

Black Eyed Stuffed-Bi Color Arepas
by Christina Terriquez

1/4 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
1 cup masa harina, divided
1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
1 teaspoon baking powder, divided
Black Eyed Pea filling, recipe follows
safflower or sunflower oil for frying

Blend blackberries with 1/2 cup water. Strain and set aside.

Mix 1/2 cup masa harina, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder in a medium bowl. Add half of the water and mix well. Add remaining blackberry water, if needed, or plain water if additional liquid is needed to achieve soft earlobe consistency. Set dough aside.

In a medium bowl, mix remaining masa harina, salt and baking powder. Add water to achieve soft earlobe consistency.

Divide each ball of dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a small ball, then working one by one, flatten ball using your fingers and place a teaspoon of black eyed pea filling inside. It may help to compact and roll the filling into a ball as well. Flatten dough and fold it over the filling, completely encapsulating the filling. Smooth out dough and flatten out shape to small flat cylinders, like little hockey pucks. If your dough becomes dry, use a little water.

Once all dough is used, cover a heat-proof plate with two paper towels. Put oil into a heavy pot. You'll need about 1/2" of oil. Heat oil to medium high and fry the arepas in batches, draining on paper towels.

To serve, cover each arepa with blackberry chocolate mole, top with a spoonful of Mint Cilantro Pico de Gallo and garnish with lime wedges and mint leaves.

Black Eyed Pea Filling
1 can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
sea salt
garlic powder
onion powder
Place the beans in a bowl, season to taste with garlic and onion powder and salt. Lightly mash.

Mint Cilantro Pico de Gallo
by Christina Terriquez

1/2 white onion
sea salt
1/8 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, washed
1/8 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, washed
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and diced
1 roma tomato, diced
lime juice

Dice onion, put into a wire mesh strainer and rise with cool water. Put into a small bowl, add a pinch of salt and mix.

Mince mint and cilantro, and add to onion. Add jalapeno and tomato. Mix and season with lime and salt.


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh what a beautiful plate a food! those colors! and how creative!

Richa said...

those blackberry arepas are intriguing! awesome entry!

Greenearth said...

What exciting food.

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Angela said...

That looks amazing!

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