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::cooking for two:: Chicken Molé

From Cooking For Two from America’s Test Kitchen 2009: Chicken Molé

Chicken Molé is one of those dishes PTB always talked about loving, but I had never made.  Some foods just seemed like I could never compete with restaurants.  The national dish of Mexico was a big title to compete with.  Cooking For Two has changed my world in terms of trying new things.  Since it is a smaller portion, it isn’t as scary to me.  If it fails miserably (which it has yet to do), I’m not wasting as much.  Of course, part of my learning to be a master in the kitchen is learning to be prepared, so I had to modify the recipe a bit….

I didn’t have a Chipotle Chili in Adobo, so my substitute was a green chili with a bit of cayenne, a clove of garlic, and a splash of ketchup (I looked up online how to substitute it, never underestimate the power of Google). I didn’t have a small onion, but a quarter of a large one supplied a bit more than the recommended 1/2 cup. Also, I only buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts, so we did not use bone-in chicken. Neither substitution seemed to hurt the recipe at all.

What You Need:
10″ skillet
8″ baking dish
blender/food processor
salt, pepper, sugar
400 degree oven
Step One
Vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
Step Two
1 tbps Chili Powder
1 small chipotle chili in adobo sauce minced  (vary this amount up or down on your heat desire)
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarse
Step Three
1 minced clove of garlic
Step Four
1 1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tomato
1 tbsp Peanut Butter
1 tbsp Sesame Seeds, toasted
Step Five
2 chicken breasts

To start, heat the oil in a 10″ skillet over medium heat.  When it is shimmering add the onion and cook until soft.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add all your step two ingredients.  Stir constantly until the chocolate is melted and bubbly (about a minute). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (~30 sec).  Stir in all your step four ingredients and simmer (stirring occasionally) until reduced to under 2 cups (~15 min).  While simmering, pat your chicken dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper, and place in baking dish.

NJTO_mole2093

Once reduced down, blend until smooth (~30 sec).  Season with salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.  Pour over the chicken (turning to coat) and bake for about 20 minutes.  I have a junky blender….it is a pain to use. I decided to liquify my molé in my mini-cuisinart. There was JUST enough space, and it splashed out a bit. In the end I liked that it wasn’t COMPLETELY smooth.  Next time, I may make the sauce in a deeper pan so that I can utilize the immersion blender for this step.

NJTO_mole2100

Make sure the thickest part of your chicken registers 160 degrees.  Let rest out of the oven covered with an aluminum foil tent for about 10 minutes and serve!  I served ours with some mexican rice and a glass of zinfandel, the finished product:

NJTO_mole2106

If anything, I needed a bunch of water throughout. I would say it ended up the perfect level of spice for us. PTB likes things spicy, I like hot, but not to the point of tears.  Having the Adobo Chili may have killed me. But, my sauce may have thickened more too…..I also need a better meat thermometer (any gadget recommends?).  I always end up over-baking because it is never measured properly.  An extra few minutes didn’t dry the chicken out noticeably, and there was plenty of sauce to mask it if it did. Next time, I may experiment with brining the chicken first and definitely have some Sangria to go along.  Something a bit sweeter would be nice to have next to this meal.

Serves: 2     Cost: ~$7/serving

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