Friday, March 16, 2012

"Holy Mo-lay!!"

Right before I moved last year, I managed to get some of my husband’s favorite recipes cooked by my mother-in-law. Some of them I was a little intimidated to cook because of the list of ingredients and the prepping involved. I know. Somewhere right now, my mother is saying to stop being lazy. J
Mole (pronounced Mo-lay) is one of those dishes that normally require a lot of work.  The Mole recipe I’m sharing today is a dark red, rich flavored and thick sauce served with chicken or turkey that originated from Mexico over 200 years ago. Believe it or not, there numerous types of mole sauces, and they even come in various colors. Interesting, right?! Multiple ingredients like dark chocolate: nuts: seeds: tortillas: bread: fruit: chilies: and a variety of spices have been known to be found in this sauce. I mean, I even found out that lettuce is used in some recipes too! The consistency of this sauce can be compared to a BBQ sauce, but with a little more added heat. To master this sauce, ingredients must be toasted, slightly fried, and poured through a strainer to create that velvety and creamy look.  I know what you’re thinking, “fried?!” But run a lap after dinner and you’ll be fine! Now I don’t mind working my but off in the kitchen. But, let’s keep it real here friends; I’m always looking for shortcuts! Which is why I love the recipe I’m providing even more. My mother and mother-in-law both shared their recipes for this dish which allowed me to pick and choose ingredients needed to make an easier, yet delicious sauce. I feel that this recipe is definitely a win-win situation. An authentic dish with great taste is created… and approachable for all everyday cooks’.

Mole Sauce

7 guajillo chilies
½ roll of Ritz crackers
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of ground cumin
½ tsp of black pepper
½ tsp of salt
2-3 cloves
3-4 garlic cloves
½ of an onion
1 ¼ cup of low sodium chicken stock
1 tablet of NestlĂ©’s Abuelita Chocolate
1-2  chile piquin, or chile de arbol (optional)
3 tsp of pumpkin seeds
Sesame seeds (optional)
4 boneless chicken breasts
3 tbsp of oil

  1. Preheat a medium sized pot at medium heat. Toast the pumpkin and sesame seeds separately for about 30 seconds each and set aside. Then heat the 3 tbsp of oil in the same pan.
  2. Take two guajillo chilies at a time and place them in the oil. Turn once and remove from heat once they begin to puff up. (No more than 15 seconds.)
  3. In the same pan take half of the Ritz crackers and lightly toast them. Literally no more than 5 seconds. Continue to the process until all the Ritz crackers have been lightly toasted.
  4. Place Abuelita chocolate in the microwave and heat for 36 seconds.
  5. Remove the stems from the chilies and place in a blender with crackers, oregano, cumin, black pepper, salt, cloves, garlic cloves, ½ an onion, pumpkin seeds, and 1 ¼ cup of chicken stock. Blend all ingredients for about 5 minutes. If you notice that the ingredients are not blending, meaning the sauce is too thick; add in a little more chicken stock. Sauce should have a “BBQ” like consistency.
  6. Re-heat the same pot at low heat and pour sauce from the blender into a pan using a strainer. Heat the sauce for about 10 minutes. If sauce is still very thick add in ¼ cup of chicken stock.
  7. Grill chicken breast with salt and pepper. Once the chicken has cooled, pour sauce over and garnish with sesame seeds.

Source: Adapted from H. Sandoval and E. Martinez

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