Filet Mignon in Red Chile and California Mole

INGREDIENTS:6 filet mignon, 6 oz. each
pinch of salt and pepper for each filet
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Red Chile and Raisin Mole:
2 ancho chiles (approx. 1 oz.)
6 large whole allspice berries
12 cumin seeds
¼ tsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. butter
½ cup California raisins
4 garlic cloves, peeled
½ yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 white corn tortilla, cut into eighths
3 cups chicken stock (or water)
½ fresh Hoja Santa leaf (or 1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon leaves)
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup pumpkin seeds, hulled
¼ cup pecan pieces
1 oz. bittersweet chocolate
for garnish, 1 ripe Haas avocado, peeled, seeded, cut into 12 slices
18 cilantro sprigs DIRECTIONS:Lightly season filets with salt and pepper. Heat oil in deep skillet or saute pan until very hot. Sear filets quickly on each side. Transfer filets to plate and reserve. With paper towel, wipe saute pan clean of excess oil.

Heat skillet over medium heat and add ancho chiles. Lightly toast, turning frequently. Chiles are done when they become aromatic and have puffed slightly. (Do not allow to burn.) Remove chiles and allow to cool; discard stems and seeds. Tear chiles into small pieces and reserve.

In same saute pan, lightly toast allspice berries and cumin seeds. Add oregano and quickly toast, then add butter to saute pan with spices. Heat until sizzling. Add raisins and stir to lightly saute. Remove and reserve approximately 2 Tbsp. of raisins for garnish.

Add garlic cloves, chopped onions and tortilla pieces to skillet and saute until nicely browned and aromatic. Stir frequently. Carefully add chicken stock and bring liquid to a boil. Add Hoja Santa or tarragon leaves and salt, then simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes or more before pureeing.

In a second skillet over medium heat, add pumpkin seeds and toast while stirring, until seeds puff and pop. Remove seeds and reserve. Similarly, toast pecan pieces until lightly toasted. Remove and reserve.

When simmered ingredients have cooled sufficiently to safely puree, transfer ingredients and liquid to a blender. Add pumpkin seeds and pecans, reserving approximately 1 Tbsp. each for garnish. Puree sauce until smooth.

Transfer puree to deep saute pan, and bring sauce to a simmer. Add chocolate and stir until well mixed. Add a little water if sauce needs to be thinned. Return filets to sauce. Spoon some sauce over each filet, and slowly cook them in barely simmering sauce for approximately 5 minutes, or to desired doneness. Turn filets over approximately half way through cooking.

To serve, place a filet in center of each dinner plate. Spoon some red chile mole sauce over each filet. Distribute some of reserved raisins, pumpkin seeds and pecans around each filet. Place 2 avocado slices on top of each filet and garnish with cilantro sprigs.SERVINGS:6 servingsFrom:Chef/owner Robert Del Grande, Café Annie, Houston