Easy Chicken Mole — The Weekender
For the last few weeks, we’ve been using the Weekender column to talk about things you can do on Saturday or Sunday to make it easier to eat well throughout a busy week. There was this tasty meatloaf (double it and freeze one!), these suggestions for salad packing and this dead-easy one-pot pasta.
This week, I want to take a moment to advocate for a weekend batch of homemade sauce. Now, when I said the word “sauce,” I’m sure that most of you mentally inserted the word “tomato” before it. However, there is a world of sauces and pastes you can make on Sunday afternoon and use all week in your dinner prep that are faster, easier and just as delicious as your grandmother’s red “gravy.”
If there’s a sale on basil, buy a couple of bunches and make a quick batch of pesto (heck, you can also use cilantro, parsley or even kale). Stir together bottled mayo with minced garlic, crushed black pepper and lemon zest for a zippy aioli (thin it out with some lemon juice and it’s salad dressing). Or, try your hand at homemade mole.
Mole is a Mexican sauce, typically made from a combination of chiles, chocolate, nuts and spices. Most often, when I want a stash of this tasty, savory sauce in my fridge, I turn to Marcela Valladolid’s recipe for Easy Chicken Mole. The sauce comes together easily enough, stores well and makes plenty. Marcela suggests that you drape it over rotisserie chicken pieces, though you could also roast off a few pounds of legs if your eaters like those better.
The recipe makes about a quart of sauce, which might be more than you and your family can eat in a single meal. I suggest making the full amount and then portioning about half out into smaller containers for the freezer. You can also use it as a braising medium or even as a dipping sauce for your kids’ nuggets.
If you can’t find dried pasilla chiles, try dried anchos instead. They make a serviceable substitute and, depending on where you live, can be easier to get.