Recipe of the Week: A quick chicken mole that will impress your guests

Jenn De La Vega, author of “Showdown Comfort Food, Chili & BBQ: Bold Flavors from Wild Cooking Contests” (Page Street Publishing, $22.99), has written a whole cookbook of competition-worthy dishes, and I wanted to share her technique for making pulled chicken mole.

Traditional mole takes hours to make, but this version comes together quickly. De La Vega packs a ton of flavor into the sauce with nut butter, tahni, a chipotle pepper, dates and chocolate. That might sound weird if you’ve never had mole, but give it a try. Feel free to double this recipe if you’re feeding a crowd.

Pulled Chicken Mole

4 bone-in skin-on chicken breasts

3 cups chicken stock

2 dried ancho chilies

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 cup chunky nut butter

1/4 cup dates

2 tablespoons tahini

3 medium shallots, minced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained

2 1/2 tablespoons dark chocolate, chopped

Salt and pepper

Tortillas or slider buns, for serving

Place the chicken in a pot and cover with the stock; bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until the meat is tender and has an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Drain and save the stock; set the chicken aside.

Using about 1 cup of the reserved stock, reconstitute the dried chili peppers in the pot. (You’ll have to reheat the stock if it has cooled.) Carefully fish them out with tongs when they are soft. Remove the stems and place in the bowl of a food processor with the chipotle, cinnamon, clove, nut butter, dates and tahini. Pulse until the larger pieces are broken and blend on low until it forms a smooth paste.

In a large pan, sauté the shallots in vegetable oil until they soften for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a minute more before adding the tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon and add the spiced paste from the food processor.

Cook for 15 minutes on medium, until the liquid cooks off. Strain 1 cup of the chicken stock cooking liquid into the sauce and stir. Just like risotto, as the liquid cooks off, add another cup of the chicken broth, until you have one left. At that point, take it off the heat and stir in the chocolate. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

As the sauce cooks, cool the chicken and debone it. Pull the chicken apart, making sure no pieces are bigger than the width of your thumb.

Fold the meat into the sauce and serve immediately, or if you’re not eating just yet, add the last of the broth and cover. Keep warm in the oven at 200 degrees until you’re ready to eat.

If you’re eating later, cool the mixture down and store in the fridge overnight. An hour before serving, add the remaining chicken broth before heating it back up. Serve with tortillas or slider buns. Serves 4 to 8.

— From “Showdown Comfort Food, Chili & BBQ: Bold Flavors from Wild Cooking Contests” by Jenn De La Vega (Page Street Publishing, $22.99)

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Austin360 Eats

Straight from frozen: A rock-solid plan for your rock-solid Thanksgiving bird
Straight from frozen: A rock-solid plan for your rock-solid Thanksgiving bird

When producing a Thanksgiving meal becomes a last-minute affair - and there are plenty of reasons that happens, no judging - you might think getting a bronzed bird on the table presents the toughest challenge.  Nah, you've got this. Cooking a whole turkey from a rock-solid, frozen state can yield respectable results. If you stick it in the oven...
This comfort food leads a double life, but only some of us know the secret.
This comfort food leads a double life, but only some of us know the secret.

It was one of those volunteer duties, the one where you agree to talk to your kid’s class about your job. I figured it would be easy: I’d ask the kids what their family eats at Thanksgiving and we’d do a middle-school version of Brillat-Savarin’s old saw, “Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you who you are.&rdquo...
Asian-American chefs are changing our palate
Asian-American chefs are changing our palate

As an Asian-American born in Los Angeles and raised in Honolulu, I’ve thought a lot about what it means to grow up in multiple cultures at once — my Filipino mother’s, my British father’s, and my America. For a recent piece on how Asian-American chefs are changing the American palate, I spoke with some two dozen chefs and restaurateurs...
These five wines will see you through the holidays
These five wines will see you through the holidays

Here are five delicious wines that will complement your Thanksgiving feast - or any dinner party for that matter: We have two outstanding sparkling wines from Oregon, a delightful pinot blanc from Michigan's Old Mission Peninsula, a surprising pinotage from Mendocino and a rich syrah from California's Central Coast. 3 stars Willamette Valley, Oregon...
Austin360 arts list, Nov. 24-30
Austin360 arts list, Nov. 24-30

Theater & dance “Annie.” This feel-good rags-to-riches musical brings a headstrong redhead, an irresistible dog named Sandy, fellow orphans, mean ole Miss Hannigan and the heaven-sent Daddy Warbucks to the Georgetown Palace Theatre stage. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $15-$32. 810 South Austin Ave., Georgetown. 512-869-7469...
More Stories