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Friday, September 7, 2007

Happy Tummy for Now

Tonight we had chicken breasts with mole sauce, steamed broccoli, brown rice, and a five-fruit salad (peach, pear, apple, raspberries, blackberries). I LOVE mole sauce. It always makes me think of Adriana, because she was the one who first introduced me to it, back in our (barely) still-single days in NYC. One of these days I'll go to a Mexican mercado and see if I can find all the ingredients I would need to make it myself, but for now I just use this:

I suppose if I wanted to be more auténtico I would use chicken thighs and stew them for a long time in the sauce, and it would be magically delicious. But I like to make this for a quick weeknight dinner, so boneless skinless breasts are where it's at. I pop them into a saved (shaken out) corn flakes liner, and pound them to an even thickness of a half inch or so. Then heat a little (~1 t) olive oil in a lidded sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering, and brown the chicken on both sides.

I had to brown my chicken in two batches because the package of breasts I bought inexplicably contained three instead of two (adding another teaspoon of oil before putting in the second set of breasts). If you do it at the right temperature, a nice fond should be building up in the bottom of the pan, and the chicken should be nicely browned but not quite fully firm/cooked. Take it out and put it aside on a plate while you make the sauce.

Add another teaspoon of oil to the pan, and when it is hot (it will only be a few seconds before it is smoking) add about 1/4 C chopped onion, a little salt and freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of sugar. Hopefully it will release enough moisture on its own to deglaze all the brown bits in the pan, but if you have to you can add a little chicken stock so it doesn't burn (I was using frozen chopped onion tonight, which turned out to be just perfect).

Then add a bit (for us, a couple of tablespoons) of the mole paste, and spread it out a little so it can heat and soften.

Then gradually (a few tablespoons at a time) add about a cup of chicken stock to make a smooth sauce, scraping up all the stuff from the bottom of the pan and pressing out any lumps with the back of the spoon. Make it a little thinner than you want it to be when you serve it.

Then put the chicken and any exuded juices into the pan, flip the chicken pieces to coat with sauce, reduce heat to low and cover. It's basically done, but I use this step to get all the other things ready and on the table, and it's good for the flavors to meld.

Serve over brown rice with sour cream and enjoy!

Oh, and I say "for now" above because I am dead certain this lovely meal will give me heartburn before the night is out. Story of my life these days.

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Blogger Adriana Velez said...

MMmmmmmm, mole.

I still remember the Christmas I spent days making mole from scratch for my family only to hear my mom say "this is good, but you know the stuff from the jar is so much easier!" Ay carramba.

Hope the heartburn wasn't too bad.

September 8, 2007 at 7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It actually wasn't too bad, thank heavens. My heartburn has actually been a little better the last few weeks (since about 30 weeks) than it was in the middle.

And both boys ate the chicken WITH the sauce on it (in the past, I've usually saved out some plain chicken for them), and without extra sour cream to cut the heat. Yay!

September 8, 2007 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger ME said...

Reminds me of our first Scary Feminist gathering in St. George! I'd never had it before that trip.

I make chicken with mole all the time. My shortcut is to slow cook chicken thighs in advance, then grill onions and simmer the chicken thighs in the mole until reheated.

I haven't tried making it from scratch.

September 8, 2007 at 1:25 PM  
Blogger Swizzies said...

Oh yum, mole. YUM. YUMMMMMM. The first time I ever had it was in your apartment in Hell's Kitchen. :-)

September 9, 2007 at 6:24 AM  

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