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Paleo Sweet Potato Mole


Mole sauces come in many different colors and textures, depending on the region of origin and the palate of the chef.  However, the common denominator is chili pepper.  Whether fresh or dried, canned or powdered, chili peppers define the mole sauce.  Moles also often contain other spices, day old bread, nuts, fruit, and chocolate.  I never realized how much goes into a mole sauce until I saw one made for the first time on the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.  Not only were there at least a dozen ingredients in the recipe, but they were all fried – even the bread.  Yikes!  I wanted to create my own tasty and Paleo version of a mole sauce without an overwhelming number of ingredients.

Taylor is not typically hard to please, but I was worried that the addition of unsweetened chocolate may make the sauce too bitter for him.  I was able to achieve a hint of chocolate without having to add any sugars from honey or dried fruit.  I attribute that to the sweet potato base.  It not only provided a rich base without the need for bread, but also complemented the tomato and other spices as well.

Two helpful tools that made this mole quick and easy were my Vitamix and my microplaner.  I don’t know why I hadn’t used the microplaner before with unsweetened chocolate.  Instead of struggling to chop it up with a knife, the microplaner allowed me to create a quick and easy chocolate powder.   I even reserved some to make a pretty garnish for the top of the meatloaf and the extra sauce.  The Vitamix also allowed for a smooth sauce that took less than five minutes to compose.  You can also use a food processor or blender, as many of the ingredients are soft.

I made this mole with a particular protein in mind: my Paleo Mexican Meatloaf.  I even used a tablespoon of the drippings that formed during the baking process to tie all of the flavors together.  Additionally, both the meatloaf and the mole contained the roasted bell peppers and onions.  The flavor of this mole could pair well with other beef or pork dishes, so instead of the drippings from meatloaf, you could add a tablespoon of bacon drippings to the sauce (or omit the fat entirely).

Don’t be confused about the amount of bell pepper, it is simply the amount left over from the meatloaf recipe which is a 1/2 cup of each pepper.  Also, there is no need to be super precise – the mole sauce will be flavorful and delicious even if the amounts are slightly more or less than I used.  As I mentioned in the Paleo Sweet Potato Ketchup recipe as well, the amount of salt and water will ultimately reflect your palate.  Make sure that you taste the mole throughout the preparation process so that it is the taste and texture that makes you think, “Holy mole – this is good.”

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 4 (1 inch) strips and the cap of red bell pepper (about a third of the pepper)
  • 4 (1 inch) strips and the cap of yellow bell pepper (about a third of the pepper)
  • 4 (1 inch) strips and the cap of orange bell pepper (about a third of the pepper)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup fire-roasted tomatoes, diced or crushed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2-1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbs drippings from Paleo Mexican Meatloaf or bacon drippings
  • 1 chile in adobo sauce, seeds removed
  • 1/2 ounce unsweetened baker’s chocolate, grated
  • 2 tbs raw almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp saigon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ancho chili pepper (you can substitute chili powder)

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • 2. Place onion, bell peppers, in an aluminum foil-lined roasting pan, and lightly coat in coconut oil
  • 3. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly softened and browned
  • 4. Set aside to let veggies cool
  • 5. Wrap sweet potato in a paper towel and place in microwave for 3 minutes, turn over, and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until cooked through
  • 6. Let cool for a few minutes, then scoop sweet potato out of skin into a small bowl
  • 7. Into a Vitamix, blender, or food processor, pour water, fire-roasted tomatoes, roasted veggies, sweet potato, garlic powder, paprika, pepper, and salt
  • 8. Blend on HIGH for 1-2 minutes, or until smooth
  • 9. Add drippings from meatloaf or bacon, chile, grated chocolate, almond butter, saigon cinnamon, and ancho chili pepper
  • 10. Blend on HIGH for another minute, or until smooth
  • 11. If it is too thick for your taste, add a tablespoon or two of water, and blend again until water is incorporated
  • 12. Taste, and add more salt if necessary
  • 13. Pour on top of Paleo Mexican Meatloaf, reserve extra to serve with meatloaf slices
  • 14. Enjoy!