Thursday, March 24, 2011

Chicken Mole Poblano with Animal Crackers

Recently, I'm not sure where, I read or saw something about making mole with animal crackers. I began to research this, since it makes sense. The animal cracker give the mole body and texture and a certain amount of sweetness, but using animal crackers was new to me!

Since I'm in Santa Fe for Left Coast Crime, this seemed like the perfect time to post this recipe. I've posted mole recipes before, specifically around Cinco de Mayo, so be sure and search for those recipes to compare.

I found a great recipe for Chicken Mole Poblano at Kendall Jackson. I love Kendall Jackson wines, and the wine pairing suggestion for Chicken Mole Poblano is to serve with Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Malbec. Good choice!

The complex flavors from toasted spices and Mexican chocolate pair wonderfully with the spicy black pepper flavors in the Malbec. The secret ingredient, animal crackers, adds a hint of sweetness and also helps to thicken the sauce.


For the 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 the 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.


Carolyn said...

I am so fascinated by the animal crackers. As a food on their own I find them pretty tasteless, but I can see how they would thicken and sweeten sauces. Interesting!

Maria said...

Actually it was a nice idea ... animal crackers to thicken your sauce.

Janice Harper said...

Throwing the poor animal crackers into the simmering sauce may be a touch on the macabre side and never to be prepared in the presence of PETA, but certainly sounds good, interesting, and diabolically fun to prepare!