The place to celebrate and to eat this mole is Tehuacán, Puebla. There, the October festival centers around the ritual slaughtering of goats, raised on a special diet to produce extra tasty meat.
Caderas means hips, the bony part that is used for the mole. Once, this was the only meat the poor could afford, and so the dish was called mole de los pobres (mole of the poor). Then the upperclass got a taste and now everyone enjoys it.
It may be impossible to find mole de caderas in Los Angeles October 20, but it was here October 9 at the annual Feria de los Moles at Placita Olivera. Chef Fernando Hernández García (above), the winner of a mole de caderas competition in Tehuacán, came here to prepare it.
The first step was boiling the bones for six hours along with fragrant avocado leaves and salt. The goats for this dish are fed only on salt during their final weeks, he said, and the salt must come from Zapotitlán Salinas in Puebla.
The seasoning starts with grinding four types of dried chiles to a paste on the metate. The chiles are miahuateco, cuicateco, costeño and serrano. Tomatoes and tomatillos are added to the chiles, and this mixture is boiled with the bones for four hours.
Other components include ejotes criollos, local wild green beans, and guaje seeds, which are ground and added at the end as a thickening. When served, the mole is sprinkled to taste with chopped onions, cilantro and lime juice.
Thanks to guest chefs coming from Puebla to take part in the annual Feria de los Moles, it's possible to have it at least once a year in Los Angeles.
Photos by Barbara Hansen