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Monday, September 13, 2010

Chicken Mole Poblano: Recipe



An electric stove is no fun, until inspiration strikes and a blow torch walks into the kitchen.

Why was I blow-torching tomatoes? To make mole poblano, the Mexican national dish that marries chilli with bitter chocolate.

I'd always been fascinated by mole poblano. Chocolate with meat? It sounded too bizarre. I tried it for the first time at the Chocolate Dog in Newtown (now closed) and have been hooked ever since.

The theme was Mexican for a Stomachs Eleven dinner hosted at my place, our happy club of food-loving friends. I used dried ancho and mulato chillies that were sent to me from Le'Spice and set about making mole for the first time.

chile
Ancho chillies

Mole Poblano

Mole Poblano is a complex treat for the senses. The bitter undertone of chocolate interplays with chilli, spices, tomato and almond. I found this tasted even better a few days later, when the spices and flavours had been given time to develop.

Ingredients
8 cloves garlic unpeeled
30 grams dried ancho chillies
30 grams dried mulato chillies
2kg tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 litres of chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup raisins
75g ground almonds
100g bitter chocolate (at least 85%)
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
salt, sugar and chilli powder to taste

Serve with chicken or turkey (enough for 6 people)
Garnish with toasted sesame seeds.

Method
Roast the unpeeled garlic in a frypan over moderate heat until the skins blacken and the flesh goes soft (about 10-15min). Cool and peel.

Open and de-seed the chillies, then heat in the same frypan for a few seconds on each side, using your hand to press them flat. Soak the chillies in boiling water for at least 30 minutes.

Roast the tomatoes under a grill or over a open flame. I blow-torched mine and enjoyed it thoroughly. The tomatoes should be blackened all over. Allow the tomatoes to cool.

Drain the chillies and place into a blender with the peeled garlic, oregano, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, cloves and 2/3 cup of chicken broth. Blend until smooth, then remove. This is your chilli paste.

In a large dutch oven, casserole dish or heavy saucepan, heat the oil and add the onion slices, gently frying until brown. Add the raisins and heat for a minute until they plump up slightly. Transfer the onions and raisins to your empty blender.

Add the peeled cooled tomatoes, almonds, chocolate, breadcrumbs and 1 cup of chicken broth. Blend until smooth.

Place the dutch oven on high heat until hot, then add the chilli paste, stirring constantly for five minutes or until the mixture thickens and darkens. Add the tomato and almond paste and stir until well-incorporated and the mixture has thickened.

Add the remaining 4 1/2 cups of chicken stock and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pot halfway with a lid and gently simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After 30 minutes, season with salt and sugar to taste. I added chilli powder for an extra kick.

I served mine with boiled chicken legs, using the chicken stock for the mole dish itself. The chicken legs were smothered with the mole sauce and garnished with toasted sesame seeds.


blow torching tomatoes
Blow-torching tomatoes

caramelised garlic
Pan-fried caramelised garlic

mole poblano
Adding the tomato almond mixture to the chilli paste

chicken mole
Chicken mole

Of course it isn't a Stomachs Eleven feast unless there's a feast involved. We christened the evening with margaritas, the rims of our glasses expertly frosted with sugar by the G-man.

I also made empanadas, making the pastry from scratch which resulted in rich buttery appetisers filled with chicken and chorizo. As I'd tended to the mole, a slow cooker worked its magic on a huge cut of pork shoulder, which was later shredded for pulled pork burritos.

My tomato salsa and jicama, rocket and orange salad was joined by contributions of quinoa salad and corn salsa. Almost everyone ended up bringing a dish, and the table groaned with quesadillas, paella and ox tongue too.

empanadas
Chicken and chorizo homemade empanadas

quesadilla
Traditional fried quesadillas using homemade tortillas by Miss Rice

ox tongue
Ox tongue by Pig Flyin'

guacamole
Guacamole by Mrs Pig Flyin'

pulled pork
Pulled pork

tomato salsa
Tomato salsa

pulled pork burrito
Pulled pork burrito

Crystal hot sauce
Louisiana Crystal hot sauce

jicama, orange and rocket salad
Jicama and orange salad with Pig Flyin's homegrown rocket

sweetcorn salsa
Sweetcorn salsa by K

This was incredibly delicious and refreshing.

quinoa salad
Quinoa salad by Mrs Pig Flyin'

paella
Paella by M and J

And for dessert? Pig Flyin' had wanted to make a key lime pie until I piped up "tequila".

Hence the tequila lime pie was born, and it was awesome. And alcoholic.


Tequila lime pie by Pig Flyin'

creme caramel
Creme caramel by Pig Flyin'

And because any excuse is good enough for gluttony, Pig Flyin' spoilt us all with his divine creme caramel, a silky eggy rich concoction that is one of MoVida's finest recipes.

A chorus of sighs.


Related GrabYourFork posts:
Mole - Chocolate Dog, Newtown (closed)
Mole - Viva Mexico, Wellington

Stomachs Eleven: Christmas 2010 (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Teochew feast (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Mole poblano and pulled pork tacos (Me)
Stomachs Eleven: Pizza and friends (Miss Rice)
Stomachs Eleven: Ten kilograms of mussels (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Shanghainese banquet (M&L)
Stomachs Eleven: Wagyu shabu shabu and dessert sushi (Silverlily)
Stomachs Eleven: Stuffed deboned pig's head + nose-to-tail eating (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: French feast (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Whole suckling pig and Chinese banquet (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Hotpot night (M&L)
Stomachs Eleven: Crackling roast pork and black sesame cupcakes (me)
Stomachs Eleven: No ordinary steak dinner (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Polish feast (Miss Rice)
Stomachs Eleven: Christmas 2009 (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Char siu and Hainan chicken (me)
Stomachs Eleven: Amazing impromptu dinner party (Pig Flyin)
Stomachs Eleven: Dumplings and Shanghai soy duck (M&L)

21 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/13/2010 01:34:00 am


21 Comments:

  • At 9/13/2010 1:48 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    bahaha i can totally imagine you chortling as your burned everything in sight with the blow torch! looks like another fabulous feast!

     
  • At 9/13/2010 5:08 am, Anonymous Maria @ ScandiFoodie said…

    Wow what a feast! I love the flavour combination in this chicken mole poblano dish!

     
  • At 9/13/2010 6:46 am, Blogger Shanks said…

    What an awesome spread of deliciousness!! Mole is such a unique flavour. I tried it with Murray Valley Pork:
    http://yayasyumyums.blogspot.com/2010/02/chocolate-porking.html

     
  • At 9/13/2010 9:05 am, Blogger the dainty baker said…

    Mexican food absolutely rocks my world!! Looks like a ridiculously awesome feast you had there! :)

     
  • At 9/13/2010 9:32 am, Anonymous Minh said…

    I loled when I saw your huge blowtorch make an appearance! Now I have a craving for mexican!

     
  • At 9/13/2010 9:57 am, Blogger K said…

    It may have been some months ago, but boy I still remember the meal. You did a wonderful job cooking all those divine dishes. Thanks for having us over!
    Where's the image of the GMan masks??

     
  • At 9/13/2010 10:19 am, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    I've always been intrigued by mole as well, and now I really want to try your recipe! Am very bummed Chocolate Dog closed before I got the chance to try it, i'd heard so many good things :(

     
  • At 9/13/2010 10:34 am, Blogger Margaret Tran said…

    Everything in this post needs to be juiced into some kind of IV drip for those not privy to your wonderful club. That quinoa salad and pulled pork - beautiful. Love the theme!! Thanks for giving us these peeks into your little club <3

     
  • At 9/13/2010 12:36 pm, Anonymous billy@atablefortwo said…

    Helen and her notorious blowtorch.... :) It is refreshing to see you spending time in kitchen making mole and empanadas! It looks like a great feast to be had too...

    OLE!

     
  • At 9/13/2010 2:03 pm, Anonymous Mrs Pigflyin said…

    How funny! I am eating that same ox tongue dish right now! Weekend freezer cleaning led to the third iteration of the dish and I want some chicken mole now!

     
  • At 9/13/2010 2:17 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    And this is why sometimes I think you're wasted in a restaurant dining room ;) Brilliant, Helen! I've wanted to try mole for so long, but sourcing the chillies seems to be an issue. Also, I'm too lazy, and always end up eating the chocolate on its own instead ;)

     
  • At 9/13/2010 2:41 pm, Anonymous penny aka jeroxie said…

    that looks awesome. I need Mexican feast like yours!

     
  • At 9/13/2010 4:37 pm, Anonymous meals said…

    Was that Louisiana hot sauce found in Sydney? I've been wanting to make this recipe by Kevin Gillespie (top chef) and i recognised it as one of the ingredients.

    http://www.designspongeonline.com/2010/07/in-the-kitchen-with-kevin-gillespies-brunswick-stew.html

     
  • At 9/13/2010 4:40 pm, Blogger Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Helen, the whole feast looks amazing...some of the combinations and flavors are drool worthy! I love the fact that you made your own mole!

     
  • At 9/13/2010 6:47 pm, Blogger Tina said…

    What a feast! Oh, and the blowtorch is so dangerously exciting! Is that one of those little ones you get in a brulee pack or otherwise?

     
  • At 9/13/2010 7:38 pm, Blogger foodwink said…

    Hmmmmm ... Chicken mole and creme caramel *drools* Please kindly share movida's recipe!

    Your post reminds me that I haven't had Mexican food for a long time - can u recommend a good restaurant in Sydney?

     
  • At 9/13/2010 8:32 pm, Blogger Angie Lives to Eat (and Cook)! said…

    What an awesome feast! I can understand chilli and chocolate but throwing meat into the mix will probably take a long long time for me to get my head around.

     
  • At 9/14/2010 9:06 pm, Blogger cyberiagirl said…

    I've been wanting to try mole for awhile... how do you think it would work with tofu? Or beans?

     
  • At 9/14/2010 9:15 pm, Anonymous Forager @ The Gourmet Forager said…

    Seriously jealous & seriously craving Mexican. Your mole poblano looks so rich & delicious too.

     
  • At 9/15/2010 1:54 pm, Anonymous JT @areyouhungary said…

    What a great feast! I first had mole poblano in Miami and wasn't convinced but maybe it is worth another shot!
    That guacamole and pulled pork, oh heaven!!

     
  • At 9/29/2010 11:18 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

    Hannah - lol. I still prefer the dining room to the kitchen!

    Meals - I'm not sure. David Jones Food Hall in the city stocks a couple of hot sauces if you want to give them a go.

    Tina - I picked up the blowtorch in Japan. It attaches directly onto a gas canister and it's fierce! I hear you can find similar ones at hardware stores. Highly recommended.

    Foodwink - I don't have it to hand but you should be able to find at your friendly bookstore :) Good Mexican food is hard to find, I agree. I think the best guarantee is to make your own :)

    Angie - It's more spicy and bitter. Definitely recommend you try it, if only once!

    Cyberiagirl - I think it would probably work ok with both. A great idea to convert this into a vegetarian-friendly dish!

    JT - I say you should give it another go :) And yes pulled pork is awesome.

     

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