Chef Alejandro's Seared Chicken with Mole Sauce
2-4, with leftover sauce
Though making mole from scratch may seem intimidating, Chef Alejandro perfected this signature recipe, adapted from his Grandmother's traditional mole, that comes together in under 2 hours. That said, though this complex sauce rewards you with a rich, mouthwatering balance of herbs and spices, it certainly makes you work for it: the main hurdle being procuring the long list of ingredients. For this, I recommend you turn to the internet and order away.
6 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
¾ cup canola oil
1 cup jasmine rice
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2½ tablespoons sesame seeds
6 tablespoons sunflower seeds
5½ tablespoons pepitas
1 cup currants
1 dried chipotle, stemmed and seeded
2 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed and seeded
1 dried chile negro, stemmed and seeded
2 dried chiles puya, stemmed and seeded
1 dried chile California, stemmed and seeded
1 dried chile pasilla, stemmed and seeded
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fennel seed
½ teaspoon clove
5 corn tortillas
1 white onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cups chicken stock
Cilantro, for garnish
⅓ cup cane vinegar
⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate
1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
2. In a medium pot on medium-low heat, stir together 1 sliced garlic clove with 3 tablespoons of the canola oil until the garlic has softened.
3. Add the rice and toast, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
4. Stir in half of the tomatoes, along with ¾ cup water. Turn the heat to low, cover, and allow to gently simmer for 20 minutes.
5. Taste your rice. If it’s still a bit crunchy, add a splash more water and continue to cook until tender. When it’s cooked to your desired tenderness, remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
6. Meanwhile, remove the chicken from its packaging and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate at room temperature to temper.
7. Spread the sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and pepitas onto a sheet tray and toast in your oven for 8 minutes.
8. In a small pot over high heat, bring the currants and 1 cup of water to a simmer. Allow to simmer for one minute, then remove from heat and set aside.
9. In a small pot over high heat, bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
10. In a large pan over medium heat, toast the chipotle, chile de árbol, chile negro, chile puya, chile California, and chile pasilla until they begin to brown, about 2 minutes.
11. Transfer the chilis to a small bowl, then pour the boiling water over them to reconstitute.
12. Return the pan to low heat, add the ground cinnamon, fennel, and clove and stir until toasted, about one minute.
13. Slice the tortillas into ¼ inch-wide strips and spread onto a sheet tray. Transfer to the oven to toast until brown and crunchy, about 8 minutes.
14. In a large pot over medium heat, stir together half of the remaining oil, the onions, and the remaining garlic until browned. Season with a pinch of salt.
15. Drain the chilis and add them to the pot, along with the currants and their liquid, the toasted seeds and spices, tortillas, chicken stock, remaining tomatoes, and 1 cup water. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
16. Season the chicken on all sides with salt.
17. Pour the remaining canola oil into a large pan and set to medium-high heat. When the oil begins to smoke, add the chicken and sear until golden brown, about 8 minutes.
18. Transfer to a foil-lined sheet tray and bake until cooked through, about 8 minutes.
19. Meanwhile, pick the cilantro leaves, slice the stems, and set aside for garnish. Slice the lime into wedges.
20. Transfer the mole, vinegar, and chocolate to a blender and blend until creamy.
21. Transfer the cooked chicken to a large pan, and pour the mole over top. Turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 minutes.
22. Plate the chicken alongside your rice and lime wedges. Garnish with the cilantro.