Pollo Con Mole De Jefe

I have adapted this recipe from more complicated moles that I have tried in Mexico. I have tried to keep the dish authentic in style and[ taste, while still being user friendly. More complicated moles involve roasting dried peppers and spending a lot more time. This dish can be done in under an hour and half, while more traditional moles take many hours to make. The chicken can be substituted with either pork or beef. I hope you enjoy!]

Total Time:
2 hr 5 min
Prep:
25 min
Cook:
1 hr 40 min

Yield:
6 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 4 large or 6 medium skinless chicken breasts, cut into thirds or quarters, see Cook's Note
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or good cooking spray for sauteing
  • 2 cups good quality low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (almond puree, make sure well mixed, almond oil tends to separate from almond butter)
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce, see Cook's Note
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 ounces good quality unsweetened dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 small firm tomato, seeded and 1/4-inch diced, for garnish
Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle the chicken chunks with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Quickly brown the chicken, in batches if necessary, and transfer it to a plate. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 cup of the chicken stock, after fond is deglazed, transfer the liquid to a small bowl and set aside.

Give the pan a quick rinse and towel dry. Put the pan back over medium-high heat and when the pan is hot, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil (but not smoking) add the onion, and 2 pinches of salt, saute until nearly translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes, Stir in the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the dry spices to onion/garlic mixture and saute for 2 minutes. Next add the remaining 1 3/4 cups chicken stock (including stock from deglazing), and bring to a near boil but not bubbling. Turn the heat down to simmer, and whisk in the almond butter, tomato paste, sriracha sauce, salt to taste, and honey. Whisk the sauce until completely incorporated. Add chocolate pieces, and continue to whisk until melted. Gently simmer the sauce for 5 minutes on the stove, take the pan off the heat, and immerse the chicken into mole sauce. Cover the pan and put it into the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees F. Remove the cover from the pan and bake for 1 hour.

As the mole bakes, spoon the mole sauce over the chicken if the chicken is exposed periodically, or give a gentle stir every once and a while if you see a skin forming. If the mole sauce seems to be reducing too much (if it looks overly pasty), then add a splash of chicken stock to thin it out. Take the pan out of the oven, remove chicken from the pan to a covered dish to keep warm. The sauce should be thick; if it's not gravy-thick then reduce it for a few minutes on the stove top. If the sauce is overly thick then thin it out with a splash of chicken stock. Taste and add more kosher salt if you like. Stir in most of the cilantro (reserve a few pinches for garnish), then add the chicken back to the sauce. Spoon the chicken mole into a serving dish and top with the diced tomato and remaining cilantro. Good accompaniments include a Spanish-style rice, roasted potatoes, stewed Mexican-style black beans, roasted pumpkin, or squash.

Cook's Notes:

- I prefer bone-in but can use boneless, bone in will make for moister, more flavorful chicken, if medium-size then split and cut breast (with or without bone-in) into 3rds, for large chicken breasts then cut into quarters.

- Sriracha sauce is a spicy sauce from Vietnam with rooster on label, or you can substitute with fresh minced habanero pepper or good quality hot sauce to taste, (if not using sriracha make sure you use substitute heat with caution, for example 1 teaspoon fresh habanero is far hotter than equal part sriracha) but sriracha works best in this recipe. It's now available in most grocery stores.


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