in the kitchen

in the kitchen

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Black Mole on Grilled Chicken Tacos

Sauces are what set meals apart. A simple sauce can make a huge difference in the level of enjoyment derived from eating. Although not "simple" this mole is pretty easy to put together, you may need to shop for some of the ingredients ahead of time but technically, it is quite easy -- soak, blend, cook. Some moles can require three dozen or more ingredients. Not this one. But as always, treat it as a beginning point to your own creativity. Let me know how you tweak it to make it your own.
Black Mole
3 ounces dried chilies, at least 1 ounce needs to be black chilies
4 cup hot water
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup dried cherries
2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon hickory smoked salt (or 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke)
2/3 cup very dark chocolate chunks or chips (about 68% cacoa)
In a glass bowl, cover chilies with hot water and soak for 20 minutes. Remove one pod at a time and split lengthwise, removing and discarding stem and seeds. Place chili flesh in a blender container. repeat with remaining chilies. Add garlic clove, oil, salt, cherries and pepitas. Strain 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the soaking liquid and add to blender. Blend on high until very smooth, about 2 minutes. Pour into a small sauce pan and place on medium high heat. Stir in coriander and smoked salt. Add chocolate and reduce heat to medium. Stir constantly until chocolate is melted. Add more of the strained soaking liquid if you want to thin it out. Serve hot in and over chicken tacos.
Grilled Chicken for Tacos
1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon lime zest
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon hickory smoked salt (or plain salt plus 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
Pat chicken dry with paper toweling. In a large glass bowl, mix remaining ingredients well. Place chicken in the marinade and turn to coat completely. Allow to marinade for at least 1/2 hour. Heat grill to medium high heat. Place chicken on grill and close lid. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 4 to 6 minutes. Turn chicken and cook another 4 to 6 minutes or until cooked all the way through but still juicy. Remove from grill and allow to rest for several minutes. Boil marinade in a small sauce pan until reduced by half. Slice chicken into thin strips across the grain, toss with cooked marinade and serve hot.
Hints: I grilled red bell peppers and onion slices rubbed with a bit of olive oil at the same time I grilled the chicken, then sliced them up and served them in the tacos. We also had some guacamole, cheese, lettuce and black beans. This was good on both flour and corn tortillas but could be served in a bowl as a stew. Some people ate it on the lettuce as a salad without any tortillas. All very good options. When making the mole, be sure to blend the chilies thoroughly so that the skins are well incorporated. You can use plain water instead of the soaking water for a less spicy taste. Use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of the breasts if you wish. This mole is also fabulous with tamales.

The complexity of flavor in the mole is wonderful. The chicken and beans take it very well. I love Mexican food when it is made with fresh, wholesome, healthy ingredients. But I have to admit that I also love it when it is not so healthy. I love the spicy hotness, the mellow corn, the deep, rich flavor profiles that abound in great Mexican cuisine. All regions, all the time. What is your favorite Mexican dish?

No comments:

Post a Comment