When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When Dusty Duprel hands you spam, you make fancy spam tacos!
This weeks mystery basket included Cranberries from Olivia Reyes, Serrano Chilies from Kate Ouzounian, the aforementioned Spam and Dark Chocolate from Angela Cho.
I decided to combine the cranberries, dark chocolate and Serrano chilies into a mole sauce to top the spam which I marinated in a chili lime mixture (in my opinion you have to put some work in to make spam delicious!)
The final result of “Chopped Challenge Thursday” Week Twelve: Chili Lime Marinated Spam Tacos with Cranberry Mole Sauce!
- Cranberry Mole (makes 4 cups)
- 1 lb tomatillos
- 3 large pasilla chilies (chopped)
- ½ cup cranberries
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 6 small Serrano chilies (de-seeded and chopped)
- 1 very ripe plantain (sliced)
- 2 oz dark chocolate
- Chili Lime Spam (makes 1 ½ cups)
- 12 oz can Spam
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 lime (juiced)
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Tacos (makes 6 tacos)
- 12 corn tortillas
- 1 lime (cut into 6 wedges)
- 2 avocados
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro
- 2 tbsp queso fresco
We’re going to start by marinating that spam to infuse it with the chili lime flavors and take away the canned taste.
Simply whisk together the brown sugar, soy sauce, chili powder lime juice, red pepper flakes and olive oil. Then open up that can of spam and dice it up.
Add the spam to the marinade and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
While the spam is marinating, prepare the mole sauce.
Begin by roasting the tomatillos. Because my HOA busted me for having a grill on my balcony, I will now roast my tomatillos in the oven!
Allow to roast for 15-20 minutes of until slightly charred on the outside. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Next, lightly brown the pasilla chilies in a dry skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the skillet and add to a medium bowl with the cranberries. Cover with warm water then set aside.
In the same skillet over medium heat add the almonds, ground cloves, cinnamon, black pepper and allspice.
Toast for 2-3 minutes then place in a spice grinder and ground until a powder forms. If you do not have a spice grinder a coffee grinder works well or a small food processor.
Still using the same skillet add the olive oil, onions, garlic and serrano chilies.
Brown in the skillet until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Now peel the cooled tomatillos and place in a blender or food processor with the ground spices.
Next add the dark chocolate and plantains to the blender.
Then add the cooked onions and chilies, pasilla peppers, cranberries and a small amount of the soaking liquid. Start with about 1/2 cup, then add more if the sauce is too thick.
Blend until creamy, then pour back into the skillet over low heat.
Simmer for 5-10 minutes while cooking the spam.
Pour the spam and marinade into a skillet over medium-high heat.
Cook for 7-10 minutes or until no liquid exists and the spam is slightly caramelized.
To make the tacos, place the spam into warmed tortillas.
Then top with the cranberry mole sauce.
Finish the tacos off with cilantro, cojita cheese and avocado.
These tacos have a great balance of sweetness, acidity and spice!
The chocolate, chili pepper, cranberry combination in the mole sauce is divine! I’m thinking about making this for Thanksgiving to put on the turkey, Yum!
These tacos would be delicious with a side of Grilled Pineapple Tomatillo Guacamole or Deconstructed Mexican Street Corn!
If Spam is not your thing, you could easily substitute shrimp, chicken or beef in this dish!
Or if you’re vegetarian, Tofu Tacos!
Now it’s time to dig in!
♣ Vegetarian Option: Substitute spam with tofu.
♦ Gluten Free Option: This recipe is gluten-free, just make sure the brand of soy sauce you purchase is gluten-free! (Fresh & Easy is not.)