Friday, May 14, 2010

Chicken Mole for my Mother

I have this FABULOUS cookbook that I got in the bargain books section, Mex Tex by Matt Martinez (note how Matt cleverly switched Tex-Mex around and really made it his own). I bought it because I do, in fact, judge books by their covers, and you have to admit that this one is pretty great, don't you agree? Aside from being able to look at the cover whenever I wish, the recipes are pretty good too (at least the two I have tried) one of which is this chicken mole 'gone simple' as Matt calls it. The mole recipe alone is worth the seven dollars I spent on the book, it is that good. It is so good in fact that it is the meal my mother requested for Mother's day. I always thought mole had chocolate in it, which this one does not, so I did a little research that I will now share with you. According to wikipedia there are many different types of mole and they have all kinds of ingredients, chiles and spices, but also nuts, seeds, bananas, avocado leaves and all sorts of other things. This one doesn't have any bananas but it does have peanut butter, which I found strange until I did my research.

The chicken is poached, and while I find the combination of boiling water and meat gross, I must admit that the chicken stays very moist and the onion, celery and peppers in the water add a nice flavor. You are going to save the water and add it to the sauce later, thus keeping all the flavor in the family so to speak.

While the chicken poaches, combine your spices, it may seem like a lot, but this is where all the flavor comes from and at least you don't have to track down avocado leaves or anything like that.

Once your chicken has cooked through, let it cool enough so you can handle it then shred it. It will look like very boring, ordinary chicken, which it is, for now at least, but the sauce will change all that.

Then start on the sauce, it begins with a basic roux that you let get nice and golden.

Then toss in the spices and peanut butter, and mix it all together to make an aromatic, toasted spice paste. Be sure to stir constantly so it doesn't burn.

Next add the reserved poaching liquid, pouring it through a sieve to get out all the chunks of veggies and any bits that may have come off the chicken during the poaching process. Let it simmer for a few minutes.

Then add the shredded chicken. At this point, Matt only has you cook it for 5 more minutes, but I like to let it go longer, the chicken just soaks up the sauce and the sauce has time to thicken that way. I also add a bit of Wondra to thicken the sauce more.

Look at that juicy goodness!

I like to serve it with homemade tortillas (speaking of which, you should all make them, it is super easy and they are delicious. I use the walmart brand flour tortilla mix and just follow the directions on the package).

You can eat these taco style (which is quite messy, what with all the sauce, but delicious) or with the tortilla on the side to mop up all the juices.

Chicken Mole Gone Simple from Mex Tex by Matt Martinez
4 cups water
2 lbs chicken breast
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
pinch of salt
2 T veggie oil
2 T flour
2 T chili powder
2 T creamy peanut butter
1 T roasted sesame seeds
1 t granulated garlic
1 t paprika
1 t cumin
1 t salt
1/2 t sugar

Place chicken, onion, celery, pepper, and salt in a large saucepan; cover with the water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about half an hour, until the chicken is tender. Remove chicken from the broth and let cool then shred, reserve the liquid. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil then add the flour. Stir constantly until the flour turns golden brown, then add the chili powder, peanut butter, sesame seeds, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt and sugar. Stir in the reserved broth and let simmer for a few minutes. Add the shredded chicken and simmer for 10 minutes more, at the very least. You can let it go for a half an hour no problem, also you can add some wondra or flour if you want a thicker sauce.

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