Pollo en Mole
(Only three ingredients).
(Chicken and Mole Casserole)
Mole Sauce is famous for its' use of chocolate in a savory dish. It also has several flavors of chilies, sesame, and peanuts, but it is not spicy. Mole Sauce is attributed to the Aztec's attempt to impress the Conquistadores with their food. It probably was originally made with turkey (Pavo en Mole) instead of chicken. The sauce is notorious for being very complex to make and often has 25+ ingredients just for the sauce.
The Dona Maria brand sauce is excellent and stands up to any served in a restaurant. I've been using it for thirty years. Restaurants almost never serve true Chicken Mole which is an oven braised dish. They usually cook the chicken on the stove top when a patron orders the dish, and add the sauce after plating the chicken. This practice may be practical, but it definitely does not allow for flavor development in the meat and the extreme tenderness of the oven braised meat.
This is a wonderful casserole. Even the leftovers are good. It is quick and easy to prepare, and only has three ingredients. It travels well to pot lucks and pitchins, and satisfies the need for the exotic without excess spice. My guests and fellow diners always comment on the excellence of the dish even if they've never sampled it before.
Chicken Mole travels well in the car. It is not soupy, and it doesn't slosh, however I always set the casserole in a cardboard box to restrain it in case of an accident. The resulting stains from a spill would be incredibly difficult to clean up.
How to make Chicken Mole (Pollo en Mole).
James Speed Hensinger
Depending on the size of the chicken thighs and the appetites of the diners, figure on one to two thighs per person. The rice is important because it helps the diner sop up the sauce, and is a nice color contrast with the very dark brown mole sauce. A single jar of Mole Sauce makes six chicken thighs. The recipe can be doubled or trebled for large parties.
1 jar Doña Maria brand Mole Sauce
1 can (14-16 oz.) Chicken stock
6 Chicken thighs with bones and skin.
(You can pull off the skin to reduce the calorie count, but please do use bone in thighs. The dish will be moister, have more flavor, and be falling off the bone tender.)
Cooked rice (1 cup per person)
Green onions (garnish)
Warning: Mole Sauce will stain almost anything it touches.
1. Gently pry the lid off Mole Sauce jar with a church key (beer opener).
2. Place the jar in soup bowl and place in microwave oven. Note that there is a thin layer of oil on top and a solid mass below.
3. Cover the jar with a scrap of paper towel to catch splatters and heat in microwave gently until goo is softened enough that you can dig it out of the jar with a table knife. Jar may become very hot. Try 2-3 minutes at 30% power.
4. Dump the Mole Sauce into a small saucepan and add chicken stock.
5. Heat mixture on stove top and integrate with boat motor / immersion blender.
6. Place chicken pieces in a single layer in an oven proof lidded casserole and cover with mole mix (add water if necessary to totally immerse the chicken).
7. Stew covered at 350 degrees in oven for 1 hour+ or until meat is loose on the bone and very tender. It can cook longer if needed to accommodate diner's schedule(s).
8. Use tongs to serve thighs. (Yes, it should be that tender.)
9. Serve with cooked rice. Garnish rice with minced green onion and or cilantro.
Left over sauce in the casserole can be saved in refrigerator up to a week for another use. It can also be used to bake pork chops (trim fat).