(Click to enlarge.) Sesame seeds; cinnamon, oregano, thyme and cloves; pecans almonds and peanuts; tomatillo, avocado leaf and tortilla.

Stephen and I reunited for Thanksgiving and a bit of a culinary frenzy. Thursday we cooked a sublime feast of tikka-inspired turkey, pretzel rolls, cranberry chutney, mashed potatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. Friday featured left-over mashed potato bread (for turkey-cranberry sandwiches, of course) and Saturday we took a trip to Honey Bee Market in Detroit’s Mexicantown with an eye to tackling mole.

Toasting the seeds extracted from various dried chiles (with a bit of tortilla).

Spurred on by the direction in Rick Bayless’ black mole recipe to, “now do something that will seem very odd…turn on an exhaust fan, open a window and toast your seeds…until burned to charcoal black,” we hit the kitchen.

We were there for hours.

Guajillo, ancho and pasilla chiles; now seedless and fried crispy; then soaked; eventually pureed.

We chopped, toasted, blended, fried, soaked, and simmered – much of the time with the fan on and the back door open.

The much-used blender; puree of tomatillos; puree of toasted seeds and nuts; puree of banana, onion, garlic, spices and burnt toast.

And in the end, we got a silky, complex, just spicy enough, slightly sweet sauce that formed the basis of the best enchiladas I have ever made.

Mole in the cooking-down stage; finished silky mole; tossed with cooked, shredded chicken; in the final dish.

Was it fun?  Yes.  Did we set off the smoke alarm?  Only two or three times.  Do I want to do this again in the  near future?  No.  But, fortunately, I still have three containers of mole in the freezer.

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