We at Editer.com love The Modern Pantry. We love the graceful proportions of its Georgian townhouse premises, the cool colours and minimal leanings of the decor, the little gourmet shop, the weekend brunch, and all of Anna Hansen’s globally inspired food, a bold step away from the prevailing English tendency when she opened in 2008, and ever-thrilling for her regular clientele.
Anna’s menus feature exciting ingredients and kickass herbs and spices, things like cassava, samphire, smoked chilli, Thai basil cress, green tea, sea beets and Lucques olives. Nothing’s that hard to find for Londoners, and the recipes in the handsome The Modern Pantry cookbook are made even more accessible with suggestions of substitutions, side dishes and short cuts.
This Mexican-inspired dish is great for winter, with its rich, intense sauce, and natural affinity with game. Anna prepared it for us with guinea fowl, but it goes just as well with chicken, rabbit, pork, even monkfish. The chocolate in the sauce is a Mexican thing: it is often used to bring depth to a savoury sauce. There are a lot of ingredients, and the method sounds convoluted, but it’s quite straightforward. Serve with tomatillo salsa, the recipe for which also appears in The Modern Pantry book, fried plantain and mustard greens or cavolo nero, or plain brown rice.
Anna’s mole tips
- You can get tomatillos from specialist markets, supermarkets and food halls such as Selfridges. Tinned ones are fine as an alternative, they just won’t caramelise as quickly when you grill them.
- The aromatic powder mixture that you make with the nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and breadcrumbs is wonderful sprinkled onto salads, steamed vegetables, and so on. Make an extra batch!
- If you can’t find Urfa chilli, any mild chilli flakes will do.
- If you do this with monkfish, do use fish stock instead of chicken stock.
- Depending on how thick you like it, loosen the mole with water during the cooking stage if need be. You don’t actually have to cook the meat in the sauce – you can grill or barbecue it and serve the mole on the sauce on the side.