Paul Daubert, the new Exec. Chef of the brand new Mexican restaurant NUEVA CANTINA in South St. Pete is happy to share his special recipe:

Mole Negro

7 large pasilla chiles

1 morita chile

3 cups hot water

1 cup light chicken stock

3 roma tomatoes

1⁄2 cup sesame seeds

2 tablespoons raw pepitas

1⁄8 teaspoon anise seeds

1⁄8 teaspoon coriander seeds

1⁄4-inch Ceylon (Mexican) cinnamon stick

2 allspice berries

1 whole clove

2 tablespoons fresh lard

1 corn tortilla, quartered

2 plain cookies or ginger snaps or 1⁄4 slice white bread

1⁄2 white onion, diced

2 large cloves garlic, sliced

1⁄4 cup seedless raisins

1⁄2 cup raw almonds

2 tablespoons fresh lard

1 cup plus 2 cups light chicken stock

6 tablespoons semi-sweet chocolate chips

1⁄4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons salt

STEP 1: Prepare the chiles—Split the dried chiles up the side with a sharp knife. Remove the stem, seeds and veins. Open up the chiles. Turn on the fan over the stove. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Toast the chiles inside and out, pressing down gently, until blistered and soft. Be very careful not to burn the chiles.

Place the toasted chiles in a bowl and pour the hot water over them.

Soak for 30 minutes, pushing down several times. When soft, drain (reserve the soaking liquid) and place in a blender with the chicken stock. Purée for several minutes, scraping down the sides, until perfectly smooth.

STEP 2: Roast the tomatoes—Line the skillet with aluminum foil and set over medium heat. Roast the tomatoes on all sides until blackened and soft. Place in a small bowl and set aside.

STEP 3: Toast the seeds and spices—Remove the foil from the pan, and reduce the heat to low. When the pan has cooled, toast the sesame seeds, stirring constantly, until light golden brown. Scrape into a medium bowl. Put the pepitas in the the skillet and stir until toasted and pale olive color, then add to the sesame seeds. Put the spices in the skillet and toast, stirring, for 1 minute. Add to the sesame seeds.

STEP 4: B—Add the 2 tablespoons lard to the skillet and increase the heat to medium. (During this step, you may need to add a little more lard.) Fry the tortilla and cookies until golden and crisp, then add to the bowl with the sesame seeds.

Fry the onion and garlic until soft and golden brown, stirring often, add to the sesame seeds.

Fry the raisins, stirring, until plump, then add to the sesame seeds.

Fry the almonds, stirring, until browned, then add to the sesame seeds. Set aside.

STEP 5: Fry the mole—Heat the 2 tablespoons lard in a deep, heavy 4-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chile puree to the pot. It will splatter, so cover with a splatter screen. Do not rinse the blender. Cook and stir for 20 minutes, until thickened.

When the chile paste is cooked, puree the tomatoes in the same blender. Add to the chile puree and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Do not rinse the blender.

When the tomatoes have cooked, puree the sesame seed mixture with the chicken stock, scraping down the sides several times, until perfectly smooth. This may take several minutes. Add to the pot, and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes.

STEP 6: Simmer the mole—Rinse the blender with the chicken stock and add to the pot, along with the reserved chile soaking liquid, stirring until well combined. Add the chocolate, sugar, and salt and stir as the mole comes to a simmer to make sure the chocolate does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

Once simmering, reduce the heat slightly. Simmer the mole, stirring often and scraping the bottom, for 30 minutes; do not allow it to boil. Strain the finished mole through the fine screen of a food mill.