This post title is a mouthful! I feel like I have so much to tell you about my trip to Cancun. I came back craving Mexican food and with a strong desire to learn about cooking with dried chilies. This Slow Cooker Mole Mushroom Taco Filling is my first recreation of some of the delicious food I ate while I was there.
I combined business and pleasure on my trip. I was there to attend the first Food Blog Univerity Conference. It was held at the amazing Dreams Riveria Cancun Resort. The conference was 3 days and we stayed 3 days after that to relax and enjoy the property.
FBU was one of the best conferences I have ever been to. It was extra small and Cheryl was able to attend all the sessions too. There was an emphasis on couples working on blogs and Pinch of Yum and Steamy Kitchen were the featured speakers. But the organizers Diana Johnson and Melissa Llado had lots of great tips and advice as well.
The Dreams Riveria Cancun Resort was beautiful, all-inclusive and luxurious. I had great experiences with all but one of the restaurants. Even the buffet restaurant always had plenty for me to eat. The Mexican and Italian restaurants even had a separate vegetarian menu and it was easy to eat vegan at both.
My not-so-great experience was with the fancy-schmancy restaurant. I asked if they had a vegetarian menu before we went in and was told they did. It was actually a photo menu of all the vegetarian dishes for all the restaurants at the resort. The waiter was shaken by my request and asked where I got the menu. I should have just left then. I asked him to check what would be available and he checked.
I got a plain green salad for an ap which was ok. I picked between ratatouille and a potato dish. The potato dish in the photo was beautiful and on a bed of veggies and seasonings, so I picked it. What came was a bowl of steamed potatoes in olive oil with parsley. Yes, that was the whole thing. It was a huge fail since at best it would be a bland side dish.
But don’t be sad for me. The last night we ate again at El Patio, the Mexican spot, and had the best meal of our whole trip. It more than made up for the bowl o’ potatoes.
Plus I learned that huaraches aren’t only sandals, and sometimes they are the best Mexican dinner ever. They aren’t always vegan, but El Patio had a wonderful version made out of mushrooms. I did my best to replicate the filling below in my slow cooker recipe for mole mushrooms.
The base is not your normal corn tortilla, but if you don’t feel like making them you can use the filling in tacos, tostados or enchiladas. You can’t buy them where I am, but they are easier to make than tortillas since they are thick. Just mix up the dough, roll into cigar shapes and then press them down to 1/4 inch thick.
Vegan Slow Cooker Mole Mushroom Taco Filling
- 2 dried ancho chili peppers
- water to cover chili peppers
- 1 1/2 pound mushrooms, chopped (about 4 cups)
- 1/2 cup chili cooking water (see instructions)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
- 1/4 cup blanched almonds
- 1/2 ounce unsweetened dark chocolate
- 1 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- salt, to taste
Prepare the ancho chilies:
- Toast the chiles in a dry skillet over medium heat. You don't want to overcook or burn them, just to dry them out a bit and cook until they become fragrant.
- Let cool, then remove the seeds, stem and ribs and discard. Place the flesh of the pepper in a small saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes to reconstitute.
- Use tongs or a slotted spoon to carefully remove the reconstituted peppers and put them in your blender with all of the sauce ingredients EXCEPT for the salt. Blend until smooth, taste, add salt and taste again.
- In your 3 to 4 quart slow cooker add the mushrooms and the sauce ingredients. Cook on low 7 to 9 hours. If you may be home late add an extra ¼ cup water to make sure the filling doesn't burn.
- Serve in a soft or hard taco shell and top with lettuce, vegan queso fresco and vegan sour cream.
Easy Chili Lime Vegan Queso Fresco
No Oil Added Huarache "tortillas"
Huarache means more than a tropical sandal. It's also a delicious Mexican dish, that gets its name from that same sandal. Why? Unlike a regular corn tortilla it's not round, it's actually oval.
- 3 cups masa harina
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups water
- Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the water. Stir with a spoon at first, then knead until it forms a ball.
- Divide into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a cigar shape. One by one press them into a ¼ inch thick oval.
- Heat a large non-stick saute pan over medium heat. Cook the huaraches one at a time, about 2 minutes on each side, or until you have some dark brown specks on each side.