Main Dishes Mexican Poultry Recipes Sauces

Chicken Mole with Yellow Rice and Peas

September 13, 2013

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)

You've got choices, when you want to cook with chocolate! If you go with unsweetened Baker's chocolate, taste the sauce for cinnamon. If you decide on Abuelita (and who wouldn't sweeten their sauce with Grandma's best?), you may want to lessen the amount of cinnamon, since Abuelita contains it.

You’ve got choices when you want to cook with chocolate! If you decide on Abuelita (and who wouldn’t sweeten their sauce with Grandma’s best?), you may want to lessen the amount of cinnamon, since Abuelita contains 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.

Mole is a subtle sauce that can take hours to prepare. This version retains the special hints of chilies and chocolate, a balance of heat and sweet, which are its defining characteristics.

Mole is a subtle sauce that can take hours to prepare. This faster version retains the special hints of chilies and chocolate, that balance of heat and sweet, which are its defining characteristics.

LamborghiniCampoleoneStephanie 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?

A less expensive alternative from the Lamborghini estate is their Trescone wine, a blend of Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo and Merlot, which retails for around $20Vroom, vroom!

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Award-winning Chick Lit author Emily Kemme writes about the quirks of human nature. Find musings, recipes, and satire on her blog, Feeding the Famished. Novels | Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage | In Search of Sushi Tora | Other works in progress

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  • Reply Lori Gama October 2, 2013 at 9:26 am

    Very unique mole recipe, Emily!

    I have a fairly simple way to make my mole: I make enchilada sauce first; then shave in Abuelita’s chocolate to the degree of sweetness that I like and stir it in until melted and mixed in. That’s it. But my mom does it a little different: she, too, makes enchilada sauce with powdered New Mexico Light Chili; oil; flour (brown the flour in the oil first, then add the chili to taste; thicken by slowly adding water – though I like to add half chicken broth because chicken broth makes everything taste better) then she adds Abuelita’s chocolate; some banana; and some peanut butter. Don’t ask me for exact measurements because she never measures. Every mole maker makes her mole different than anyone else’s. It’s always fun to read a mole recipe.

    • Reply Emily Kemme October 2, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Your Mom’s ingredients were intriguing, and after checking a little further, I discovered that mole sauces can include a variety of nuts (which would explain the peanut butter), and plantains. I imagine that’s what the banana is for, and both would add to the sauce’s creamy consistency. Since I have an almost full carton of Abuelita’s chocolate, I’m going to do some more experimentation, and give your versions a try! Thanks for the great ideas!

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