Molé For Today
By: Lisa Henning
In 1993, after college, I lived in NY. It was a hub of deliciousness, and I spent plenty of time dining out, tasting new, exciting flavors from all over the world. The moment I met my favorite flavor EVER, remains prominent in my memory.
My friend, Karen, and I visited a Mexican restaurant called Don Juan’s, where they made guacamole table-side (so exciting!) and fried the tortilla chips on site (unheard of!) The menu included many dishes, quesadillas, burritos, enchiladas. That day, however, my attention was drawn to the Molé Poblano. I had no clue as to what it was or what to expect. When Esteban (we learned his name when he asked VERY pregnant Karen to marry him) returned to the table to take our orders, we both ordered Chicken Molé Poblano. Our platters arrived, and we experienced a nutty, chicken-y, chocolatey aroma unlike any other. The sauce was a deep brown, generously coating juicy chunks of chicken breasts, surrounded by rice and refried beans. The flavor was deep and rich, nutty, spicy, slightly sweet, perfect. It became our instant favorite.
Research on this recipe was hard to find back then, and cookbooks with authentic Mexican recipes had me learning on my Abuela’s knee. Not having an abuela, Karen and I settled for a weekly trip to Don Juan’s. Esteban was thrilled. Eventually, I did venture to try the recipe myself, having located several specialty items and weeding through many variations of molé. It was good, but time consuming. There had to be a better way, an easier way, to bring this flavor to the table on a regular basis.
Enter the crock pot. After several attempts, I trimmed the recipe’s steps, and ended up with a very good molé sauce- tasty with beef, pork or chicken. Hopefully, any Abuela would approve.
Chicken Molé Poblano
- 2 Dried Poblano Peppers
- 1 Dried Chipotle Pepper
- 1 Dried Ancho Chile
- 2 TBS Ground Cumin
- 1/4 cup tortilla crumbs or 3 torn corn tortillas
- 4 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate, chopped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 large shallot, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1 teaspoon mexican oregano
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 3 cups chicken stock
- Salt to taste
- Place all ingredients, except chicken, in a crock pot.
- Set crock pot on low, 2 hours.
- After 2 hours, remove cinnamon and chilies, reserve.
- Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce completely.
- Return the cinnamon and chilies to the pot. (At this point, the sauce can be fully cooled and reserved for all-day cooking, just add in the chicken at that point.)
- Add the chicken, set crock pot to low for 8 hours.
- When cooking is complete, remove cinnamon sticks and discard.
- Remove chilies, and a cup of sauce, place in a blender. Blend until smooth, return mixture to the pot.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Serve over hot rice, or with tortilla chips.
Lisa Henning is the Chef/Owner of Queen of Cuisine Personal Chef Service. She spends most of her time cooking, feeding her friends and clients and then blogging about it. Lisa also blogs at the Queen of Cuisine blog.