Who's That Girl
- Create. Snap. Eat.
- WHO'S THAT GIRL: A higher education obsessed foodie who is documenting her life in the kitchen. I love to cook delicious, gourmet-style foods for those I love and always welcome a challenge in the kitchen. With that challenge comes an impromptu nature. I tend to avoid following recipes to the exact, so you are not likely to find very many posted here. Being that I am a Libra and am learning to be free in the kitchen, the story always goes, "A pinch of this and a smattering of that!" Thank you for visiting -- and happy reading!
Friday, November 11, 2011
Introduction to a Spice-Centric Mole
Seriously, we have no shortage of restaurants claiming the best mole. But take my word -- one of the best spots for mole is serve at La Indita on Fourth Avenue. Hands down.
But to make mole at home? What an arduous task. It takes hours upon hours and tremendous care -- along with dozens of ingredients -- to make a great mole.
But, alas, I work full time and am pursuing that doctorate so time can be skimpy sometimes.
...well that, and I don't like chocolate. *Let the boos commence!*
That tidbit aside, I do enjoy the deep, lush taste of mole. I have twice made it at home -- the first time (years and years ago) burning the paste.
The second time it came out nice, but not memorable, apparently, as I have not made mole at home for something like five years.
But when a dear colleague gifted me a bag of Don Pancho mole straight from Mexico -- *squeals* -- I couldn't wait to try my hand again. And I had never used mole in powder form, so this would be a new venture.
I decided to also prepare rice with achiote, onion, chicken broth and frozen peas and carrots. I am not certain why, but I have been on this peas and carrots kick for a good week or so. I highly recommend the El Mexicano achiote if you can get your hands on it. I like most of El Mexicano's products anyway, so no surprise there.
So, I began with the rice.
I used jasmine rice in the rice cooker. In went the chicken broth, garlic, cleaned rice, vegetables and a few dabs of poblano hot sauce. I suspended the achiote paste in a little bit of water. I suppose I could have just put it in the cooker.
And I wish I had used LOTS more of it. I used a smidgen (word used when I do not know exactly how much I used, but know for certain it was a tiny bit). I think a full tablespoon would have been much better! And I should have added a tiny bit of some sort of salt.
As for the chicken -- I went for tights. I thought about using chicken breasts but wanted a cut that had a bit more juicy flavor, plus I didn't have time to marinade the chicken, though I did sit them in olive oil with lime shortly before cooking.
I first browned the thighs in the skillet on very high heat, adding some Lawry's Seasoning Salt. The use of Lawry's is especially important here, as no other seasoning salt will serve as a better substitute.
Then, I tossed in the onions, which I had nearly minced. I then added chicken broth to the mix. I ended up having to add a little bit of water because the broth had begun to thicken, which is not what I was going for at all. I wanted the chicken to simmer for an extended period of time -- in this case, about 45 minutes. This worked out quite well, though, and did not reduce the delicious flavoring I had built before.
I used a saucepan for the mole. The instructions are in Spanish, which was a wonderful treat as I am not fluent in Spanish. Granted, I have picked up some Spanish over the years -- but not enough to read a full set of recipe instructions! I tried typing everything in BabelFish, but that just proved to be an annoyance.
So I winged it.
To the dry and clean saucepan, I added seven or eight tablespoons of the mole. I let this cook slightly, waiting for it to melt down. But it never did. Hum, I thought. I figured that while the mole had chocolate in it, chocolate was not the overwhelming ingredient.
Suits me well!
First thing I noticed, this mole had a different smell than the moles I have had in the past. It smelled faintly of chocolate, but was was more overwhelming was the scent of pepper, or chile. Nice! I added some water and stirred it like mad! I was afraid of it burning, so I stuck to the stove. When it had a nice consistency and was fully fragrant, I set to plating the chicken, pouring a bit of mole over the top.
The mole turned out to lean more toward the flavor of chile and less toward chocolate, though the flavor of chocolate certainly was there. I dressed the chicken with some sesame seeds (could have added more), the rice, avocado, and lettuce and cabbage. Good stuff!
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