Chicken Molé Poblano for Recipes to Rival

Our February Recipes to Rival project, hosted by Temperance of High on the Hog, was a delicious Chicken Molé  Poblano.  Since this entry is coming from Hawaii, I should perhaps call it my Tsunami Chicken Molé?

It wasn't really all that difficult, and well worth the bit of effort as it was soooo good, besides making twice the amount needed.  So, you can freeze enough for a different meal later.  I love molés and, in looking through my various cookbooks to compare recipes, realized that they come in a rainbow array of  black, red, and yellow ones, besides this Poblano, which is a lovely terracotta color.  Like Mexican quarry tiles, ha ha, sounds better than brown.  And, what is guacamole, but a green molé?  My favorite Mexican cookbook, the fabulous Frida's Fiestas,  is full of wonderful photos of her house and art, with recipes for the black, yellow and red ones, as well as a fresh green.  Each very different, and now I've got to try them all.  In fact, this feels like the beginning of a post series.  Look for it right here folks.

Chicken Molé Poblano
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Molé sauce:
2 dried Ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 dried Anaheim chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 dried Chipotle chilies, stemmed and seeded
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup whole almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick, preferably Mexican, broken in pieces
1 tablespoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican (I used my fresh Puerto Rican)
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 small onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Serrano peppers, stemmed and seeded, chopped
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably Mexican, chopped

1 capon or large chicken, cut into 10 pieces
1 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
Cilantro leaves, for garnish
Cooked white rice, for serving
I added salt to taste at the end
Directions after the jump ...

For the mole: Tear the ancho, anaheim, and chipotle chiles into large pieces and toast them in a dry skillet over medium heat until they change color a bit, about 2 minutes. Put them into a bowl with the raisins and cover them with hot water. Soak until softened, about 30 minutes.  I couldn't find an anaheim, dried, so just left that out.

In the same skillet over medium heat, add the almonds, sesame seeds, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, oregano, and thyme. Toast for 2 minutes, grind in a spice grinder, and add the powder to a blender.

In the same skillet over medium-high heat add the olive oil, onions, garlic, and serrano. Cook until lightly browned, then add the tomatoes. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 10 to 15 minutes, then add to the blender. Add the chocolate and the soaked chilies and raisins to the blender along with some of the chili soaking liquid. Puree, adding more soaking liquid as needed, to make a smooth sauce. (This makes about 4 cups sauce, the recipe uses 2 cups, the extra can be frozen).
As you can see, way more chicken could go into that yummy sauce.
Pour the lemon juice over the chicken and season it well with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet and brown the chicken on all sides; remove the browned chicken to a plate leaving the oil in the pan. Pour 2 cups of the mole sauce into the hot skillet and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and return the chicken pieces to the pan. Simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Serve over cooked white rice. Garnish everything with cilantro leaves. Or, parsley if you don't like cilantro.

Notes from Temperance: I realize that all palates and shopping centers are not created equal, so feel free to mix and match your peppers to suite.  I skipped the Serrano on mine and while the sauce was good it was definitely missing something, so keep in mind it is important for your sauce to have a bit of bite.

The sauce is perfectly edible before the final step of adding the chicken broth (or veggie) so give it a taste and change it up as needed for your taste buds.

This sauce is supposed to be smooth, and barring commercial equipment, we are just not going to achieve that perfectly smooth texture, so don't be afraid to blend the heck out of everything.

My notes: I didn't leave the oil in skillet after browning the chicken pieces.  My stock already had some fat on it and I didn't want too much in the sauce.  Also, I used a rather small package of thighs, and there was sauce enough (even after dividing in half) for way more, so do use a whole chicken as advised.  Also, I thought the sauce could use a bit of salt, so add salt and sugar to taste at the end. As for the chiles, I used both Serranos and it wasn't too hot (for us anyway).


Temperance said...

It looks luscious, I look forward to seeing more moles from you.

Mary said...

Your rendering looks wonderful. You did a really nice job with this challenge. Kudos.

Lisa said...

Claudia..this looks delicious. I adore anything with mole so it's something I'd love to try! I'll be posting some braised chicken with shallots on my blog tomorrow, but I definitely like what you did with your chicken, better! lol

On another note - you won the lotion in my giveaway!! Just send your name and addy to lismi171@yahoo.com and SkinMD will send your free bottle right out to you :)

Claudia said...

Thanks Temperance, Mary and Lisa, I look forward to trying that lotion.