One of the best things about winter in Chicago is the emergence of more recipes for heart-warming soups and stews. Mole de olla de res is a simple yet full-flavored soup that is perfect for taking off the chill of a long frost-bitten day. Made with the traditional chiles and spices of Mexican cuisine, it will quickly become another treasured comfort food in your home.
Mole de Olla de res
4-5 lbs beef shanks (about 5 pieces)*
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
6 guajillo chiles, deveined and deseeded
8-10 de arbol chiles, deveined and deseeded (or to taste)
1 roma tomatoes
¼ cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic
¼ tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tb oil
½ bunch of fresh cilantro (or to taste)
salt to taste
queso fresco, crumbled (optional)
*The beef shanks most commonly found are actually cross-section slices that have the shank bone in the middle with a nice portion of meat surrounding it.
Fill a large Dutch oven half full with hot water and generous salt and bring to a boil. Rinse beef shanks with hot tap water until the water runs clear. Once the water is boiling, add shanks, onion, and garlic. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour or until shank meat is tender, skimming the broth as necessary.
In the meantime, in a small sauce pan, bring 3-4 cups of water to a boil and drop in chiles. Remove from heat and let sit to soften. When softened, drain off cooking liquid from chiles and add chiles along with tomatillos, tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin seed and salt to blender with 1 cup beef broth and blend well. Set aside.
Remove shanks from pot and strain broth. Set aside. In original Dutch oven, add oil and heat to high heat. Pour in blended salsa and fry briefly. Reduce to medium heat and add in shanks and broth. Lastly, add cilantro and allow to simmer together for 20-30 minutes to season fully. Adjust consistency to your preference by adding additional water if necessary. Check for salt and add to taste. Garnish as desired and serve with warm tortillas and a side of beans. Yield: 6-8 generous portions.
Mole de Olla de res in Chicago:
Finding the ingredients to prepare your own mole de olla is a snap in Chicago. Beef shanks are common and can be found in chain stores such as Meijer’s and Food4Less. Dried chiles, cilantro, and whole cumin seed are also available in many larger chain stores as well as in your local Hispanic market. Fiesta Market, located in the town of Bolingbrook in the western suburbs is a great source for readers in that area.
More dried chile recipes from the Chicago Mexican Food Examiner:
Pollo en Mole Pasilla
Mixiotes de Borrego
Adobo de Puerco
Guisado de Lengua en Salsa Roja
Almendrado de Pollo
Chilate de Pollo
More from the Chicago Mexican Food Examiner:
Contact the Chicago Mexican Food Examiner: