Monday, January 19, 2009

Chicken Mole

One of my favorite Mexican sauces is mole. This little Mexican place around the corner from my old job made the best chicken enchiladas with mole sauce. I miss them terribly. If you are unfamiliar with what mole is you can check out the Wikipedia page. The mole sauce I know and love is more technically called a mole poblano and according to Wikipedia is:

"Mole poblano is prepared with dried chili peppers (commonly ancho, pasilla, mulato and chipotle), ground nuts and/or seeds (almonds, indigenous peanuts, and/or sesame seeds), spices, Mexican chocolate (cacao ground with sugar and cinnamon and occasionally nuts), salt, and a variety of other ingredients including charred avocado leaves, onions, and garlic. Dried seasonings such as ground oregano are also used. In order to provide a rich thickness to the sauce, bread crumbs or crackers are added to the mix."

In an effort to stick to my diet but still feed cravings for tasty Mexican I decided to make a South Beach approved Chicken Mole, it incorporates several of the elements in a traditional mole poblano but is obviously tweaked to be SB friendly. It's a pretty solid dish and easy to make, but it was not my favorite and I'm posting it as a work in progress that I plan to tweak it to make the ultimate mole. Suggestions are welcome!

Chicken Mole
from the South Beach Diet Cookbook
1 1/4 lb. chicken breast tenders (I used 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts)
Ground black pepper
1/2 large onion, chopped
1/2 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped (I used a red bell pepper)
1/2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves (Since I only had whole cloves, I just crushed them with my mortar & pestle)
1/2 can (7 1/4 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp unsweetened natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 scallion, chopped

1. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with olive oil cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 8 minutes, turning once, or until browned on both sides. Remove the chicken to a large plate.
2. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Stir in the chili powder, cinnamon, and cloves and cook for 1 minute.
3. Return the chicken to the skillet. Add the tomatoes (with juice), peanut butter, and cocoa powder and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer, stirring every few minutes, for 25 minutes, turning once, or until the chicken is no longer pink.

I think I will try to just make the sauce from this a few more times to get the spices just right. I think it could use some chipotle chile to give it a bit more heat and I may sub in some allspice instead of cloves next time and try using some oregano. If you try it and/or have any suggestions. I'd love to hear them. Enjoy!

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