Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur
One of my favorite dishes at Mexican restaurants is mole sauce. The rich, complex combination of flavors makes it stand out, offering a unique change from regular tacos, fajitas, and burritos. I haven’t yet found any Mexican restaurants in my area that have both a good reputation and affordable menu, so I realized I would need to make my own mole sauce if I wanted to enjoy it again anytime soon.
In looking through mole recipes, I was amazed by the variety. Nearly all call for chiles, cocoa powder & chocolate, and spices, but the other ingredients vary widely. Unfortunately, most called for chiles that I had no experience working with, and that I could not find in my local grocery store. However, I did have both jalapenos and bell pepper. They’re easy to work with and their lack of intense heat, unlike some other chiles, makes them perfect for feeding my friends who don’t like spicy food.
While this recipe takes a fair amount of time, the use of a blender means you don’t need to do a ton of chopping, so it’s not too labor-intensive. Additionally, it’s an easy recipe to double, so that you have enough to feed several people.
1/4 of a red bell pepper
1/4 of a sweet onion
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz tomato sauce
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 oz dark chocolate, melted
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz of boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and shredded
4 corn tortillas
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, optional
Place the bell pepper, jalapenos, and onion on an aluminum-covered baking sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, turning over once halfway through.
While the peppers and onion cool, saute garlic in the canola oil on medium heat for a couple of minutes, until it starts to brown. Add the tomato sauce and simmer for five minutes.
Peel the bell pepper. Peel the jalapenos, cut off the stems, then cut in half and remove the seeds. Add the bell pepper, jalapenos, and onion to the blender, along with the tomato and garlic. Add the broth, seasonings, peanut butter, and chocolate. Blend into all elements are pureed. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and simmer, stirring often, for twenty to thirty minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and warm in the microwave for 45 seconds. Pour a little bit of sauce in the bottom of a baking dish. Put about half of the remaining sauce in with the chicken, mix well. Stuff each tortilla with one quarter of the chicken mixture and place overlapping sides down in the dish. Pour the rest of the sauce over the tortillas. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and increase the heat to 450 degrees. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.
Makes two servings.
Cost per serving: $2.65
Calories per serving: 594