Make Ahead

Braised Pork in Lazy Cherry Ancho Mole

June 26, 2016
6 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
Author Notes

I struggled trying to figure out what to do with cherries when they started popping up at the farmer’s market near our house, but after doing some research and perusing through a Mark Miller cookbook (always a good idea), I finally had some direction. This recipe was born out of frustration and indecision, but luckily, mole is one of those foods that invites EVERYONE to the party.

Sometimes containing upwards of 60 ingredients and often demanding an entire day to make, mole is definitely an undertaking. While all the work is certainly worth it, sometimes I’m just not up to it. Sometimes I just feel like being lazy. I've made so many lazy moles in my day, and while they aren’t as complex as they could be, I still find that they hit the spot; plus they’re really fun to make and easy to experiment with. Never underestimate the amount of joy I can derive from dumping a bunch of stuff in a food processor, blending it together, and seeing what happens. —Savory Love

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Savory Love is a couple living in Portland, Oregon who writes a food blog together.
WHAT: Pork shoulder braised in a cherry mole so speedy we could barely believe it.
HOW: Whizz chiles, cherries, chocolate, coffee, vinegar, and spices in a blender until smooth. That's your mole! (Seriously.) Pour the mole over cubed pork shoulder, braise for 3 hours, and shred it all into carnitas.
WHY WE LOVE IT: This almost-instant (same-day) mole that that doesn't have a two-page, alchemist's list of ingredients made me do a happy dance! This is definitely a "set it and forget it" type of meal. I braised it in my Dutch oven and only gave it a couple of stirs. My whole house smelled of spicy deliciousness and we couldn't wait to try it! The results were a deep complex carnitas with a respectable heat level. It was great for dinner and made outstanding chilaquiles the next morning. I love that this used cherries in an unexpected way! —Annie stader —The Editors

  • Makes about 4 pounds of carnitas
  • Lazy Cherry Ancho Mole
  • 1 1/2 ounces ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed
  • 1 pound fresh dark cherries (we like Bings), pitted and halved
  • 1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup brewed strong coffee, hot
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds, toasted
  • 1 ounce chocolate (over 60%, please, none of that milk chocolate nonsense), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 pinch ground clove
  • 1 dash freshly grated nutmeg
  • Braised Pork in Lazy Cherry Ancho Mole
  • 4 pounds lean pork shoulder, cut into 2- to 3-inch cubes
  • 1 batch of Lazy Cherry Ancho Mole
In This Recipe
  1. Lazy Cherry Ancho Mole
  2. Rehydrate the chiles by submerging them in water and microwaving for 2 to 3 minutes. They should be soft and have changed in color, becoming more red. Remove from the water and set aside. Discard the water.
  3. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients for the mole except for the coffee and the vinegar. Pulse repeatedly, scraping the sides until the mixture is as smooth as you can get it. Combine the coffee and vinegar and pour through the top of the food processor while the blade is running. The mole should loosen up and blend until completely smooth. The quick mole is ready to use, but can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week before using.
  1. Braised Pork in Lazy Cherry Ancho Mole
  2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  3. In a casserole dish (or Cutch oven), pour in the mole and place the pieces of pork on top. If using a Dutch oven, simply place all the pork inside and give it a quick stir. Cover in aluminum foil or lid and braise for about 3 hours or until the meat becomes tender and falls apart.
  4. After braising, remove the meat from the mole, allowing it to rest and be shredded later. Remove the excess fat and, if you like, use an immersion blender to make sure the mole has a really smooth texture.
  5. Shred the meat with forks and serve after cooling with sauce on the side. Accompaniments can include corn tortillas or rice and beans—or just eat it out of the pan over the stove.

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