June 28, 2017

Easy Chicken Mole

Easy Chicken Mole
The first time I had mole (say moe-lay) it was at a small but very well-regarded Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles, La Loteria.  I had heard of mole poblano before and decided to take a chance.  Que rico!  What a glorious taste!  It was rich, a tiny bit spicy, a little bitter, and a little fruity.  It was really a savory fiesta in my mouth.  However, when I went home with the intent to find out more about this magical dish and how to make it, all the recipes I saw were 40 ingredients long and took days to make.  No me gusta – I just didn’t have time to mess with that.  So after some more research, I came up with this recipe – my Easy Chicken Mole!
The two ingredients that most moles share to give them such depth of flavor are dried chiles and chocolate.  Really!  Buy the darkest chocolate you can find.  You can use baker’s unsweetened chocolate, but that will make it bitter, and you’ll probably want to bring it back around with some added honey or brown sugar.  I used bittersweet chocolate, 63% cacao.  I think it worked well, and next time I might even add a little more.
As far as the chiles go, it gets a little confusing.  Oftentimes a chile will have one name when it’s fresh and a different name when it’s dried (I guess kind of like grapes vs. raisins.)  To be honest, I think I bought ancho chiles, but I’m not sure – there were two kinds and neither were labeled!  You want chiles that are a very dark reddish-brown—like the color of dried blood—and about fist-sized.  I used two but I may use three or even four next time.  I removed the seeds, and that’s where the heat resides, so you only get the smoky, fruity flavor of the chiles and not the spiciness.
Try this recipe.  If you’ve never had mole, this is a great place to start.  If you are a mole aficionado, go ahead and tweak my recipe to get the taste you like.  Either way, I bet you’ll say, Que sabor!  (Or if you don’t habla espanol, ‘So tasty!’)
Easy Chicken Mole
Ingredients:
  • 2-4 dried chiles (use ancho, pasilla, or guajillo)
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds (or use pepitas, peanuts, or almond butter)
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or use breasts, up to you!)
  • diced avocado, cilantro, sesame seeds to serve
  • rice or tortillas to serve, optional
Directions:
  1. Put the dried chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water.  Put a plate over the bowl and let the chiles soak for about 15 minutes.  When they have softened, remove the stem and seeds and roughly chop.  Discard the stem, keep some seeds if you want some heat.
  2. While the chiles are soaking, cook the onion in the butter in a very large pot or Dutch oven.  Stir to make sure they don’t burn.
  3. Add the chopped chiles, minced garlic, and sesame seeds.  Stir and cook for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the chocolate, raisins, cinnamon, salt, and oregano.  Stir to combine and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken stock and coffee.  Crumble in the bread.  Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. CAREFULLY transfer sauce to a blender and blend until pretty smooth.  You could use an immersion blender, too.
  7. Return the sauce to the pot and add the chicken.  Tuck them into the sauce and stir.  Make sure the chicken is covered in sauce, then cover the pot with a lid.  Let simmer for about 25 minutes.
  8. The chicken is done when you can shred it with forks.  To serve, ladle the chicken and lots of mole into a bowl.  Garnish with lots of avocado, cilantro and sesame seeds.  You can also eat this in tortillas – just serve with less sauce if you are making tacos.  You can also serve it over rice to soak up the sauce.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!