Mole is a rich simmering sauce that originated in the southern Mexican states; Oaxaca and Puebla. There are many versions of mole specific to different regions and families of Mexico. This is a very simplified version of mole, using only one type of dried chile pepper; ancho. Ancho chile peppers are air dried poblano peppers. Ancho is a mild dried chile with hints of plum and chocolate. The recipe contains a small amount of additional chocolate that enhances the complexity of the sauce. You don’t actually taste the chocolate; it just makes the sauce taste richer. This dish comes together in about an hour with 30 minutes of the cooking time in the oven. Enjoy!
Chicken Mole Tostadas with Quick Pickled Red Onions
Quick Pickled Red Onion (recipe below)
2 dried ancho chili peppers
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds, (purchase toasted or toast in a 350ºF oven for 3-5 minutes)
1/2 cup Vidalia onion, finely chopped
3 ounces (1/2 can) tomato paste
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 pounds raw chicken breast tenderloins
Freshly ground pepper and kosher salt, to taste
12 tostada shells
Garnishes: Quick pickled red onion, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, radishes, and crumbled cotija cheese.
Prepare Quick Pickled Red Onion (recipe below).
Cut ancho chili peppers in half. Remove seeds and stem. Toast chili peppers in a dry skillet until blistered. Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Cover with 1/2 cup boiling water. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let steam 20 minutes. Remove plastic wrap. In a small food processor or Nutribullet; place chili peppers, 2 tablespoons soaking liquid from chili peppers (discard remaining liquid), fire roasted tomatoes, toasted almonds, and onion. Process until smooth. Mixture will be thick.
Spoon mixture into a Dutch oven or stockpot with a lid that is large enough to hold the chicken and mole. Add tomato paste, garlic, chocolate, coriander, kosher salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly so mixture won’t burn. After mixture boils, remove from heat. Nestle chicken in mole, turning each piece to cover with sauce. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper then cover with lid. Bake 30 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken is 165ºF.
Remove from oven, remove lid, then shred chicken with two forks. Spoon onto tostada shells and garnish with quick pickled red onion (recipe below), fresh cilantro, lime wedges, radishes, and crumbled cotija cheese.
Tip: I like to use Kosher salt when cooking meat because it tastes less bitter than iodized salt. If you don’t have Kosher salt: 1 teaspoon kosher salt = 1/2 teaspoon iodized salt. Also, chicken mole could be served with corn or flour tortillas instead of tostadas. Makes 12 tostadas.
Quick Pickled Red Onion
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon iodized salt
2 tablespoons water
Place red onions in a heat safe, non-reactive bowl. Bring vinegar, sugar, and salt to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons water then pour over onions. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Published in The News and Neighbor on July 7, 2021.