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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mole Chicken with Lime Cilantro Rice

You gotta make this! Seriously, so devine.

Don't be intimidated by the ingredient list. Mole is one of those dishes that has many variations, so you can customize it to suit your tastes or whatever ingredients you have in your pantry.

I was also thinking that if you are vegetarian or vegan, you can make this delicious, complex, flavourful sauce and serve it over the rice, adding tofu or black beans, to make it a complete meal.

Because this dish does take some extra effort, I made a large quantity and we froze the extra. Along with the rice, I served some roasted veggies (chayote squash, zucchini and bell peppers) as a side.

2-2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Mole Sauce

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground cinnnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 heaping tbls chili powder*
2 heaping tbls cocoa powder
1/4 cup cider vinegar
12 pitted prunes (or 1/2 cup raisins)
1/4 cup pumpkin seed butter/almond butter/sesame butter/sunflower seed butter (or 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds, almonds, sunflower or sesame seeds)**
1 can tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
A few handfuls fresh cilantro
Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)

Pour oil into large pan or skillet and saute onion and spices over medium heat. Once pan is dry, add vinegar, prunes and nuts/seeds(butter) and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and turn off heat. Alow sauce to cool somewhat before transferring to food processor. Process until it comes together as a thick sauce.

*I used ancho chili powder, but regular, generic will work too. You can also use a few chipolte peppers in adobo sauce. Ancho chili powder can vary heat-wise, depending on climate where peppers grew, if you want to ensure a mild sauce, make sure to use a mild chili powder. If you like heat, go for the chipolte peppers, which are fiery hot!

**Everything goes into the food processor, so it doesn't really matter whether you use a nut/seed butter or whole nuts/seeds at this point.

Meanwhile, lightly brown chicken thighs in an oiled skillet or pan (you can skip this step if you want). Transfer to an oven-safe dish and pour sauce over top. Bake in oven (uncovered) at 350F for about 35-40 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve over lime cilantro rice. Makes 4-6 servings. Extra can be frozen.

Lime Cilantro Rice

1.5 cups brown rice
3 cups water
1 tsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp annato powder (optional)
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Juice and zest of 1 lime
A few handfuls fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste

Place rice and water in a large pot over high heat. Once it comes to a boil, turn heat down to low and simmer until water has been absorbed. In a skillet, saute garlic and spices in oil quickly over medium heat (do not burn garlic!). Add broth, followed by rice and remaining ingredients. Remove from heat and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.