Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chicken en Mole - Tasty Tuesday!

Most of the time, when I put up my recipes here, they're pretty quick and easy. It's nothing that takes too much time or effort. This recipe is a little different in that it's one I only make a couple times a year because I need essentially an entire afternoon free to make it.

That said, once I make my mole, I wonder why I don't make it more often. A lot of it is simmering time, and there is plenty for me to do in the house while it cooks down. Yeah, the ingredient list is obnoxiously long, but nothing is that outlandish or hard to find - most ingredients I have in my pantry on a daily basis, actually.

My husband lists this in his top five of items I make, along with my scones, molten chocolate cakes, and others he refuses to mention for fear that he'll leave something out. I sit here typing this with a bit of my leftover mole sitting in a Tupperware next to me, debating if I should just got ahead and get a spoon and take a sip or if I should get the last of the leftover shredded chicken and dip it.

It's. That. Good. Don't get scared off by this recipe. I promise it isn't hard, just lots of ingredients. Promise.

Chicken en Mole

5 New Mexican chiles*
2 Guajillo chiles*
3 chipotle chiles*
5 ancho chiles*
1 oz sesame seeds (about 2 T)
1 oz peanuts
1 t peppercorns
1 oz almonds
1 quarter large onion, large chopped
6 cloves garlic
1 piece bread
1 tortilla
1 lb roma tomatoes
1 stick cinnamon
1 oz raisins
1/2 tablet Mexican chocolate
1 c grapeseed oil (ok, so I used olive because I was out of grapeseed - totally worked fine)
2 T chicken stock
2 t salt
1 scant c sugar

*These are all dried chiles that I find in our grocery store in the ethnic section. I sometimes run low on one type of chili or another, and that's fine. I just sub in one of the other chiles making sure the heat is similar (go by size of the chili - the smaller the pepper, the hotter it is!).

Begin boiling a pot of water, approximately 2 1/2 quarts.

Destem and deseed all the chiles except the anchos. Toss the seeds and ribs and stems, leaving only the body. To do so, use a knife to cut the chili in half lengthwise and shake out the seeds. If the chili breaks while you're doing it (which it will do as it ages and dries out more - the flavor is still fine, so don't worry!), that's fine and sometimes actually makes it easier.

Destem and deseed the anchos, but save these seeds!

Place the ancho seeds into a small saucepan, along with the sesame seeds, the peanuts, the peppercorns, and the almonds. Toast over medium head for a minute or two, shaking to stir them up periodically. When you can smell them toasting, they're done. Set them aside.

Meanwhile, dry toast the chiles on a cast iron grill (or in a saute pan with a little grapeseed oil) on medium heat. Turn them once after a minute and a half or so.

Drop the toasted peppers into the boiling water.

You'll be using that cast iron grill pan (or saute pan) a lot, so keep it on the stove. Start toasting the onion you rough chopped, along with the cloves of garlic. Turn them after a minute, just like the chiles. Add them to the boiling water, too.

Toast the slice of bread and the tortilla in the grill pan until lightly browned. Add to the boiling water. (Do you see how much the water has changed color as the chiles are boiling in it? Cool, huh?)

Honestly, one of my favorite parts of this whole process is watching the bread expand as it absorbs the water. It's truly fascinating to watch - at least for me!

You'll go through the same routine with the roma tomatoes, cinnamon stick, and raisins. Toast them on the grill pan, then add them to the boiling water.

Next up is the Mexican chocolate. This is the kind I use. You cannot just use "normal" chocolate for this. It has a different texture and taste, and it's perfect for this. (It also makes a rockin' hot chocolate if you put it and hot milk in a blender... just sayin')

I rough chop the chocolate, then add it, the grapeseed oil (or olive oil this time around), chicken stock, and salt to the pot of boiling water. At this point, you're probably going to start wondering if you did something wrong. You didn't.

Turn the heat down so that the mixture simmers. Cook for about an hour, and it'll look a little more like this. Still questionable, but hang in there with me. I promise it's worth it.

Let it cool, and remove the cinnamon stick (ummm oops, I forgot to do so this time. I have no idea what happened to it. Actually, I do. I blenderized it. And it tastes good, but I still suggest removing it!) Put it into a blender in batches. I would generally puree a sauce like this in the pan, but I truly want it pulverized and pureed as finely as possible, so I actually use my blender for this one.

My standard warm/hot liquid blender cautions remain: never fill it more than 1/3 full with hot liquids. Use a potholder or kitchen towel to hold the top on so that it doesn't pop loose and spray the kitchen or burn you.

When I do this, I pull mole from the pot then blenderize it. I pour it back into the pot on one side, then pull out more mole from the other side until the entire pan looks like it's a consistent color and umm consistency. This means that some parts of it get blended more than once, but I'm fine with that. I really want this to be fairly smooth.

Cook it uncovered over low heat. Add the scant one cup of sugar, and simmer until it thickens. It will darken in color, too. Stir it periodically, as it will develop a skin, but it stirs away. This will take forty-five minutes to an hour, but feel free to simmer longer to make it even thicker.

Serve over rice and poached, shredded chicken.

And now I want another helping. Y-U-M. Do not get scared off by this one. It's not hard, and it is SO worth it. It makes a lot of mole, which stores well in the fridge for up to a week. It also freezes well for use later.

Enjoy this and more with Blessed with Grace and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.


Kori March 29, 2011 at 11:03 AM  

I have never had this, but it looks good-although are those chili's HOT or just flavorful?

Heather E March 29, 2011 at 6:32 PM  

oh my god. this looks so delish. curt loves mole sauce so maybe i'll make this for his birthday! :)

Tara R. March 29, 2011 at 7:02 PM  

Here's another recipe I'm going to have to try.

Susie March 29, 2011 at 9:27 PM  

You know, I have never had mole. Sounds like something that I want to be a part of:-)

septembermom March 30, 2011 at 1:05 PM  

Looks good. I'm going to trust that you have confidence in me to get this done. I think I can...I think I can.

Thanks Michelle once again.

Pat March 30, 2011 at 6:45 PM  

This looks scrumptious, as do all your creations! I'll save it and maybe I'll make it some day! Jerry's a big eater, though--I'll probably have to double the recipe.

Michelle April 3, 2011 at 10:31 PM  

Kori - It depends on what kind. Generally, the smaller the chili, the hotter it is. The way this is, it's got a little warmth and heat to it, but it isn't *spicy* when you eat it. You can adjust it by changing out the peppers and ratios. Anchos are more smoky, chipotle aren't so hot either.

Heather - SO good. He'd love it for his birthday, you're such a sweetie.

Tara - Most definitely :)

Susie - It's worth it. It always tastes different wherever you are. But this is definitely a good version of it.

Kelly - You can do it. It isn't hard, but it just takes some time. Get everything out before you start, and I know you can do it. I know you can!

Pat - Oh, Pat, he may be a big eater, but this makes something like 2 or 2 1/2 quarts of the sauce in a single recipe. I still have some in the freezer. You should be good with a single recipe. Even for him :)

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