Monday, November 11, 2013

Mole Rojo Chicken Soup

Mole is yet another dish that I've been meaning to make for quite some time.  To be honest, even for an adventurous cook the recipes I've tended to come across are intimidating, with long cook times and even longer lists of ingredients.  I suppose if you're going the highly authentic route, that is the price to pay (and kudos to you if you try).  So, let me be the first to admit that the recipe here will probably offend some who consider themselves mole purists, but the flavor of the dish could certainly fool me into thinking it took two days to make.

This recipe came about as a result of a quick stew I threw together at the end of last week, using up whatever I had left in the fridge - including some red peppers, chicken, black beans, spices, and dried pasilla peppers.  I applied a similar technique to making chicken chili as appears in tomatillo chicken chili post, which is essentially a vegetable base with beans blended in to add bulk.  To make a long story short, the smoky red stew came close enough to mole to make me think I'd nail it if only there was the element of chocolately richness.  So, I remade the red stew with the addition of unsweetened chocolate and tahini, and it worked.

Most of the mole rojos I've had are actually not as spicy as this recipe (which is equally spicy and rich/smoky), so if you want to imitate something you've had at a restaurant then eliminate the crushed red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper (and perhaps add even more chocolate).  Of course, while this is a soup/stew, you could easily eliminate the addition of extra chicken stock after blending the base and get a true mole sauce - which would be delicious for tacos or enchiladas.  I've indicated in the instructions where to stop if you want the mole sauce, rather than a stew.  

When all was said and done, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy (and healthy) this mole turned out.  I'm glad to have four frozen portions for lunch this week.
Ingredients (makes 8 servings):
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely diced
  • 2 red bell peppers, finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño, finely diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 2 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 star anise pod (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp. tahini paste (or peanut/almond butter)
  • 7 oz. can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 4 dried pasilla chilies, soaked in warm water
  • 2 cans (30 oz.) black beans, drained
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste

This recipe comes together most quickly when all your ingredients are measured and prepped right from the beginning.  Use a food processor to finely dice the onion, bell peppers, garlic, and jalapeño.  
Measure out the oregano, parsley, cumin, coriander, ginger, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, and allspice.  Drain the black beans.
Soak the pasillas in a bowl of very warm water, until softened.  Cut off the stems, and cut the flesh into thirds, soaking them again to remove the seeds.
In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil.  Season the chicken breasts well on both sides with salt and pepper. Brown chicken on high heat, for about 4 minutes on each side.  Remove from the pot and set aside.
Add the onions and garlic to the pot, and season with salt.  Cook over medium heat about 4 minutes, until soft and translucent.  Add the bell pepper and jalapeno, cooking for another 5 minutes until most of the water has evaporated.
Add the spices and bay leaves, stir and cook for a minute.  Then, add the tomato paste, chipotle peppers with the sauce, tahini, cocoa powder, and softened pasillas.  It should come together into a chunky paste.  Cook for three minutes.
Return the chicken breasts to the pot with half the black beans and enough chicken stock to cover everything.  Bring to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until you feel the chicken is cooked through.
You can now remove the chicken again, and shred the meat with two forks.
Go on a scavenger hunt to find the two bay leaves and star anise pod to remove before blending the remaining ingredients.  Blend the ingredients until smooth (I used an immersion blender, but any blender will work).  Return the shredded chicken to the pot with the remaining black beans and chicken stock. (For a mole sauce, don't add the additional stock and beans.)
Bring to a simmer and it is ready to serve.  Garnish with cilantro and red onion.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there. I am writing an article for Live Better America on savory and spicy chocolate recipes and I would love to include this one. It will simply be photo with a blurb and a link back to you. I don’t want to use anyone’s photos without permission (I write my own blog so am very sensitive to that!). Please contact me at if you’d like to be included. Thanks!