Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chicken Mole "Tacos" with Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

Yesterday was my husband's birthday, so I made his favorite dish: Chicken Mole Tacos... or as my husband puts it "the most delicious thing on Earth."  Mole (said mol-ay - like the end of the word "guacamole") is a kind of Mexican sauce involving chocolate.  It is not sweet, but instead is rich and savory and delicious.  My first exposure to it was once when I was visiting Ithaca, NY.  My mom and I stopped for lunch at Viva Taqueria, where they had it on the menu.  I had heard of it, but never tried it before so I went for it, of course.  I couldn't wait to see what this savory chocolate dish was all about.  Well, it was fantastic, cravable.  I was talking about it for weeks afterward.

Fast forward a few years and I was completely craving it, but we didn't want to drag the kids to Ithaca just for that, so instead I decided to try and make it.  I did some basic research online and the recipes either seemed ridiculously complicated or I couldn't see how they could possibly end up tasting like what I wanted.  Back then, we ate it on a flour tortilla as a taco, but now, as you can see, we just make a pile of it all on our plates.  It's perfectly delicious either way.  My husband and kids like to put it on a bed of refried beans, but I prefer it without.

I hesitate to call this paleo/primal because the few chocolate chips in it are not, but you could easily add a squeeze of honey instead to get that slight sweetness it seems to need.  The sour cream also would not be paleo, but would count as primal, I believe.  We serve it with guacamole and cilantro on top.

Anyway, here is the recipe I came up with.  It makes enough mole sauce for the five of  us for two nights, so I generally freeze half for a faster dinner on another night.  We have made it with chicken and pork and both meats are excellent with the sauce.

Mole Sauce:
2T olive oil
1 onion, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic
3T chili powder
3T cumin
1 can green chilies
2T cinnamon
2c chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
2 large or 3-4 small chipotle chilies (dried, chopped)
3T almond butter
1/2c semi-sweet chocolate chips
3T cocoa powder
salt to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat oil to medium.  Add onion and saute until onion is beginning to be translucent.  Add chili powder, garlic, and cumin.  Keep stirring so garlic doesn't burn and let the spices meld - a minute or two.  Add green chilies and cinnamon and saute until liquid from green chilies is fairly dry.  Add chicken broth and diced tomatoes, and the rest of the ingredients.  Stir well and heat thoroughly.  You want to give it enough time for the dried spices and chilies to rehydrate and fully flavor it.  If the sauce is very thin, cook down until it's a bit thicker.  If sauce is too thick add water until it's thin enough that you can blend it without trouble.  Think thick ketchup.  Put sauce in blender (or use a stick blender) until pureed.  Set aside.

Cilantro Lime Sour Cream

1 c cilantro, chopped
1 c sour cream
2 T lime juice
sprinkle of salt

Put most of the cilantro in a bowl to be used as topping for your tacos.  Put a couple tablespoons worth into sour cream.  Add lime juice and salt.  Mix up.

Shredded Chicken

For our family of 5 we use a couple pounds of chicken thighs for this and I cook them in the pressure cooker.  I imagine you could do it in the crock pot, too.  We get boneless, skinless chicken thighs to make shredding them easier.  I put them in the pressure cooker, cover with water, add a bit of salt and then bring to pressure for 7 minutes and then let it sit for 7 minutes before releasing the pressure.  The entire idea is that you need the chicken to be ready to fall apart on it's own.  As a side note, in a pinch, the water from the chicken can be used in the mole sauce in place of chicken broth, but it doesn't give quite as full a flavor.  Once the chicken is cooked, I put it in batches into my stand mixer and let 'er rip.  I love this - it has saved me so much time over the year that I've known it.  I found it out from this pin on Pinterest.  Takes all of five minutes or something instead of 30 minutes with a couple forks.  After that, I mix in a bit of the mole sauce to give it a bit of flavor.

Beyond that, we just use the Wholey Guacamole brand guac because I'm lazy like that.  And then my husband makes margaritas!  YUM!

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