Monday, October 12, 2009

Chicken w/Oaxacan Mole

I was in the US/Paris for the past week and half, and upon returning my Savor Israel partner Alon and his wife Becca had me over for an amazing dinner. The two recently returned from their honeymoon, part of which took them to the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Oaxaca is known for beautiful beaches, mountains, colonial-style towns, and its incredible food. While in Oaxaca they took a cooking class where they learned how to make a kind of mole. A mole is a sauce that can have dozens of ingredients and is very difficult to make. The goal is that one tastes each ingredient that goes into the mole, and when done well you truly taste the complexity of the sauce.

Using ingredients they had brought back from Mexico they made an excellent mole, and one that you can make fairly easily at home. Moles containing chocolate are generally referred to as Mole Poblano, as they originally hail from the city of Puebla. However, because this recipe uses Oaxacan chocolate I'm taking the liberty of changing the name a little. Here are the pictures and the recipe.

04 Mole Ingrediants

All the ingredients that go into the mole

06 Mole Paste 07 Mole Paste

The mole before it reduces and after an hour on the stove

10 Mole Dinner

Chicken w/Oaxacan Mole Recipe

1 chicken – cut into pieces w/excess fat trimmed away
5 garlic cloves
1/2 onion
Salt and Pepper

6 pasilla chilies
4 guajillo chilies
½ cup raisins
½ cup almonds
½ cup pecans
2 tablespoons shelled pumpkin seeds
½ cup sesame seeds
1 sliced banana
2 medium tomatoes (10.6 oz/300 g)
4 garlic cloves
½ onion - roughly chopped
4 peppercorns
4 cloves
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon thyme
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups Oaxacan chocolate or any dark chocolate - broken into small parts

1. Heat a stockpot with a little oil under very hot. Sear the chicken pieces until slightly golden. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper and saute for a minute. Add enough water until all pieces are covered in at least two inches of water. Boil for an hour and a half or until the meat is tender. Remove the chicken pieces and save the broth.
2. Make a cut down the length of one side of the chile. Like a butterfly cut. De-vein and de-seed them. Remove the top/stems.
3. Heat up a frying pan and fry each chili individually on each side. Remove them once they blister, approximately 30 seconds, being careful not to burn them.
4. Saute the raisins until they plump, then put them in some water to avoid hardening. Saute the almonds, pecans, and pumpkin seeds until slightly golden and set aside. Separately, saute the sesame seeds until they start to brown and set aside. Saute the sliced plantains for a minute and set aside. Finally, saute the tomatoes, garlic and onion for a few minutes until the onions start to carmelize and set aside.
5. In a blender, grind the chilies first with as much water or chicken stock as is needed. Then grind all the other ingredients: the raisins, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, tomatoes, garlic, onion and spices.
6. Pour the sauce into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the chocolate and any remaining chicken stock. Reduce to a simmer and stir consistently for over an hour until the mixture takes on a dark color and turns into a paste.
7. Place the chicken pieces in the sauce and let cook for a few minutes until warm. Serve over rice and enjoy!


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