It's Cinco de Mayo week!
It's no secret that Mexican food and/or Tex Mex are some of my favorite cuisines. I never strictly wait for Cinco de Mayo to make Mexican food, I make it year round. That being said, it's my own personal tradition to eat Mexican food and drink a margarita on Cinco de Mayo. And I love my traditions. I haven't decided what to make this year, but I'm leaning towards enchiladas. I may have gotten my chili gravy down, but I haven't found my ultimate enchilada sauce yet. Uh oh. Mouth. watering. already.
Mole is complicated. I've tried many recipes that are just... well, weird. Some contain the strangest flavor combinations that never seem to balance out. Some don't have enough flavor. I've been searching for years for a recipe that was decent. And in last month's Cooking Light, there just happened to be a recipe for mole that intrigued me. For one, it was a slow cooker recipe. The thought hadn't occurred to me to make a mole sauce in the crock pot. For two (is that an expression? I kind of like it...), did I mention this was a slow cooker recipe?
The most work you'll have with this recipe is combining the ingredients for the sauce in the food processor for a quick blending. So much good stuff going in there. Smoked almonds, onion, cocoa, garlic, cumin, tomato paste, adobo sauce, chipotle peppers... plus more. It all smells so good when it's been muddled together. I love that you just throw all the ingredients in the food processor, blend, and then throw it in the crock pot with whatever chicken parts you're using. Done!
I've tried this recipe with chicken quarters, and with chicken breasts. The chicken breasts were preferred, due to the lack of bones and gristle. The breasts also take quite a bit less cooking time.
Ok, so if you are like me, and you think you might like mole, but you've never found a recipe that you liked- this might be for you. It's spicy. Savory. Perfectly Tex-Mex. And the smell while it's cooking? Unbelievable.
The hubby and I are still adjusting to life with the new pup. He's a bundle of energy, let me tell you. He was so cute this morning. Although Mariota likes to sleep under the covers, I still bring his little baby blanket to bed so he can lay on it if he gets hot. I also bring his pig to bed to help him sleep. This is a well known phenomenon in our house, as Gizmo refuses to sleep or even lay down in bed without the Blue Monkey. Well, when I woke up this morning, Mariota was awake. He was on his baby blanket, teething on his stuffed pig. He hadn't had an accident, and he didn't try to wake us up. I can't believe what a good puppy he is. I also can't image what kind of person could leave this pup at a shelter. He's got an adorable little underbite that I can't stop smiling at, he's not a yapper, and he probably only weighs 3 lbs. Seriously, who would leave him?
I guess I can say I'm glad they did :)
Right now, he's sitting on my lap chewing on a Nyla bone. Like he belongs there. He's definitely part of the family now.
Well folks, since it's Monday and it's Cinco de Mayo week, I say go forth and have a margarita. Margarita Monday! Oh, and make this tomorrow. No muss, no fuss, and Tex-Mex is on the table! Sooooooo good!
Ingredients (serves 2-3):
2-3 chicken breasts (you can sub quarters or thighs, just adjust the cooking time accordingly. In general, if you use a cut with bones it will take longer to cook)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup smoked almonds
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tbsp cumin
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 tbsp adobo sauce
1 tsp cinnamon
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup water
2 tsp cornstarch
hot cooked Spanish rice
toppings: chopped cilantro, crumbled cotija cheese, chopped smoked almonds (optional)
1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Place at the bottom of a slow cooker.
2. Combine water through onion in food processor. Pulse until you reach a smooth consistency. Smooth sauce onto tops of chicken breasts. Cover the slower cooker, and cook for 2-3 hours on high (check chicken at 2 hours for doneness) or 6-7 hours on low (check for doneness at 6 hours).
3. Remove chicken breasts from crock pot, making sure excess sauce stays in the slow cooker. Set aside and keep warm by tenting with aluminum foil.
4. Combine water and cornstarch (I ended up using about 3/4 cup). Add to the slow cooker, and stir to combine. Sauce should be thick but still liquid-y. Place lid back on slow cooker and continue to cook sauce for 10-15 minutes.
5. Serve chicken breast over hot cooked Spanish rice, and top with sauce from the crock pot. Top with desired toppings (if using).
|Recipe adapted from Cooking Light.|