Chicken Mole

I first had this dish when living with my friend Genevieve post-college a few moons ago.  Her father made a mean mole, and I’ve been searching out a good method and base recipe for it ever since.  This one comes from Bon Appetit, and is pretty good – I have tweaked it to my tastes though as the original was a bit too citrusy for me.  Mexican chocolate can be a bit difficult to find, but specialty stores or places like Whole Foods often have it.  You can substitute bittersweet chocolate with a pinch of cinnamon if you can’t find it.  This is an involved dish, but well worth it.

  • 3 tablespoons  peanut oil (preferably unrefined), divided
  • 5 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
  • 4 cups chicken broth, homemade if you have it
  • 1 cups orange juice
  • 1 1/4 pounds onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 6 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 4 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 3 ounces dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 4 3 x 1/2-inch strips orange peel or a tablespoon or so of zest
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 3.1-ounce disk Mexican chocolate,chopped
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Warm flour tortillas

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot; sauté until lightly browned, adding more oil by tablespoonfuls as needed, about 3 minutes per side.

Place chicken and any juices to pot when all has been browned. Add broth and orange juice; bring just to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until chicken is tender and just cooked through, about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, about 18 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add almonds, garlic, cumin, and coriander. Sauté until nuts and garlic begin to color, about 2 minutes. Add chiles and stir until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.

From first pot, remove chicken and to large bowl. Pour chicken cooking liquid into saucepan with onion mixture (reserve pot). Add raisins, orange peel, and oregano to saucepan. Cover and simmer until chiles are very soft, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat; add chocolate. Let stand until chocolate melts and sauce mixture cools slightly, about 15 minutes.

Using an immersion blender, puree the mole until smooth (or transfer to a blender in batches). Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Coarsely shred chicken and return to sauce; stir to coat. Transfer chicken mole to bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with warm tortillas.

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