Chicken Mole with Yellow Rice and Peas
Mole, the traditional Mexican dark brown sauce, can contain up to thirty ingredients, and take a day or more to prepare. I’ve found a sticky mole paste in the International foods aisle at the supermarket you must scrape and coax out of a little jar, its tightly clamped on lid requiring a mastery of carpentry to get it open. For an all-too-brief time, there was a wonderful product, hearty and rich, with that essential hint of chocolate, which I could purchase at a boutique grocery store. With the economic downturn, that store disappeared, and along with it, went one of my simplest dinner preparations. I discovered the product online, but who wants to order a case of it from California? Ever since then, I’ve pondered mole: Is there a simpler method which could produce that taste? I think this recipe may be it.
For Chicken Mole:
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut into 3 pieces
2 T olive oil
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
2 T ground cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 tsp cinnamon* (see note with chocolate, below)
3/4 cup Zinfandel
2 14 1/2 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup chicken stock (I like Kitchen Basics)
2 T minced canned chipotle chilies, plus 1 T adobo sauce (in the Mexican section of your grocery store)
2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, or 2 triangles Abuelita chocolate (if using, taste test for cinnamon before adding more of it)
Heat oil in heavy deep skillet over medium high heat until warmed and oil coats skillet bottom. Add chicken and brown on all sides. Remove chicken to a clean bowl. Add onion and sprinkle with spices. Sauté until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add wine and bring to boil, deglazing pan by scraping up the browned bits. Add tomatoes with juices, broth, chilies, adobo sauce, and chocolate. Bring to simmer, and return chicken to pan. Cover and keep on simmer until onions begin to melt into the sauce, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and allow sauce to thicken, adding broth if necessary, about 20 minutes. Stir mixture to prevent from sticking to bottom of skillet. Season with salt and pepper and serve over rice.
Note: If you prefer a smooth mole, remove chicken from sauce, pour sauce into food processor, and blend until smooth. Return to skillet, and return chicken to sauce, stirring to coat.
For Yellow Rice:
1 cup white basmati rice, prepared in rice steamer or on stovetop
Note: Preparing white rice in a rice steamer can take up to 40 minutes. Stovetop preparation is about 20-25 minutes, once water is brought to a boil. If preparing rice on the stove, do not remove lid while cooking, as this allows the steam to escape, slowing cooking time.
1 cup chicken stock
1 T olive oil
2 T turmeric
1 cup frozen peas
Warm oil in skillet on medium. Add cooked rice and brown slightly. Sprinkle with turmeric, and add stock and peas, stirring to incorporate ingredients. Lower heat and simmer uncovered, until liquid is absorbed. Serve with Chicken Mole.
Stephanie Davis, Certified Sommelier from Winacea, says that when she saw this recipe, a Merlot first came to mind, because Merlots often have cocoa nuances. One of her favorites is a blend, produced by none other than Lamborghini. That’s right, Lamborghini, like the fancy, schmancy sports car! According to Stephanie, the company makes gorgeous cars and WINE. The Lamborghini winery is located in Umbria, Italy and focuses on Sangiovese and Merlot blended wines. Their Campoleone wine is 50% Sangiovese and 50% Merlot, and pairs perfectly with this chicken mole sauce. Priced at $40-$50 a bottle, the choice is up to you. Do you feel racy?
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