Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cinco de Mayo Chocolate Menu: Moles & Tamales

Cinco de Mayo and Chocolate! So many great recipes and such a natural combination. Cinco de Mayo (The Fifth of May) is a Mexican holiday celebrating the victory of the Mexican army over the French at the Battle of Puebla, May 5, 1862. Puebla's signature dish is Mole Poblano--a Chocolate spicy stew--the national dish of Mexico. It's not sweet, even with the chocolate, since there are groundnuts, seeds, bitter chocolate and spices. There are so many varieties.  Below are a few variations. Want to go the easiest route? Try Mole paste with Mexican Ibarra chocolate. You'll still want to add some chicken broth and tomato juice and maybe some peanut butter, but it's quick-- or you can try one of these recipes:

MOLES

Chicken Mole, my favorite Mexican chocolate main dish, can be very complicated to make. Here's an easy recipe adapted from Paula Deen for a quick Chicken Mole. o.k. it's not all that quick, but faster than the traditional recipes.

Quick Chicken Mole

Ingredients
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 chipotle peppers, roughly chopped
1 (10-ounce) can chicken broth
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 ounces Taza Chocolate Mexicano, chopped
1 (5-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
Toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), for garnish
White rice, for serving

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and spices and continue to saute to toast and develop flavor. Add diced tomatoes, peppers, chipotles, broth, peanut butter, and chocolate. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and puree until smooth.
Sear the chicken in a heavy bottomed hot saute pan over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Add to casserole dish, cover with sauce and braise the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Garnish with pepitas and serve with white rice.

You can also use this mole dish with Enchiladas!

The following recipe is from Kendall Jackson. Pair a Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Malbec with this. 
 
Chicken Mole Poblano with Animal Crackers

For chicken:
1 whole chicken
3 quarts water
½ onion
3 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. oregano

Place all ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour or until chicken is done. Strain and reserve the liquid and chicken.

For mole sauce:
4 Tbsp. rice oil (or other neutral flavored oil)
8 dried mulato chilies, stems and seeds removed
4 dried pasilla chilies, stems and seeds removed
4 dried ancho chilies, stems and seeds removed
2 dried cascabel or chipotle chilies, stems and seeds removed
12 almonds
¼ cup peanuts
3 garlic cloves
¼ large onion
½ plantain, diced
12 animal crackers
5 raisins
3 whole black peppercorns
2 cloves
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
5 cups reserved chicken stock
2 slices bacon
½ bar (1½ oz.) Mexican chocolate (Ibarra)

In a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat, add the oil and sauté the chilies for approximately 3 minutes. Stir the chilies constantly, being careful not to burn them. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chilies and reserve.

Add the almonds and peanuts and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown. Add the garlic, onions and plantains and cook until golden brown, approximately 3 minutes. Add the animal crackers and cook for 2 minutes or until golden brown.

Add the raisins, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon and cook until aromatic. Remove from the heat and place in a blender, add the chilies, 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds and the chicken stock. Purée until the sauce is a smooth consistency.

In a small pan, cook the bacon until the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon and all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan (bacon can be eaten or reserved for another use). Add the chocolate to the pan. Once the chocolate has dissolved, cook for 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add the bacon fat and chocolate mixture to the purée and stir to combine.

To serve: Slice the chicken onto a platter and cover with mole sauce. Garnish with remaining sesame seeds. Serve with Mexican rice and tortillas on the side.

The extra mole sauce can be frozen for up to 2 months.
***
Here's a completely different mole recipe--this time for WHITE Chocolate Mole with Animal Crackers. Recipe from Judy Walker in the Arizona Republic a few years ago.

White Chocolate Molé with Animal Crackers

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted peanuts
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds
1/4 cup walnuts
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
2 whole cloves
1 fresh poblano chile, seeded and chopped
2 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and chopped
1 small clove garlic
1/2 white Spanish onion, cut into chunks
5 animal crackers, toasted
1/4 cup sweet butter
1/2 cup chopped white chocolate
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread peanuts, almonds and walnuts on a jelly-roll pan. Toast in the oven, shaking the pan occasionally, until the nuts are slightly colored and fragrant, 3 to 5 minutes.

In a blender, combine the nuts, water, cinnamon stick and cloves; blend until nuts are very finely ground. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve over a bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a ladle or rubber spatula to release the liquid. Reserve the liquid and discard the solids.

In the blender, combine the chiles, garlic, onion and nut liquid. Add the animal crackers; puree until smooth. Strain through a medium-mesh sieve over a bowl, pressing on the solids with the back of a ladle or rubber spatula to release the liquid. Discard the solids.

In a large saucepan, heat the butter. Stir in the nut-chile liquid. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat, scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is the consistency of thick pea soup, about 15 minutes.

Stir in chocolate, salt and pepper until the chocolate is melted. Use immediately.

Note: The mole without the chocolate can be made ahead and refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to a week. To serve, heat in a saucepan and stir in the chocolate.

Makes about 1-1/2 cups, or 12 servings. 
**
Here’s another “Main Dish”—I know it’s really a dessert, but they’re tamales, after all, so I’m counting them as a main dish. This recipe for Chocolate Tamales for Cinco de Mayo is from Diana's Recipe Book. The tamales are easy to make and delicious.

CHOCOLATE TAMALES

Ingredients
1 cup milk
1 pound DARK chocolate, 75-85% cacao, chopped
1 pound butter
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 pounds corn flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
24 corn husks

Directions
Preheat oven to 350
Boil the milk and add the chocolate. Stir constantly until chocolate is completely melted. Add butter and sugar. Mix until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Mix tcorn flour and baking powder together in  bowl. Slowly add chocolate mixture and mix by hand for 10 minutes.
 Grease 2 (12 cup) muffin pans and line with corn husks. Fill with chocolate tamale mixture and bake for 20 minutes.


1 comment:

yummychunklet said...

I love mole sauce. Thanks for sharing the recipe!