The curry of Mexico, indeed: this unexpected dish was served in the cowboy grub line and we were pleasantly surprised.
Chicken thighs with onion, tomato and bell peppers were smothered in the richest mole poblano.
The sweet and smokey sauce packed a wallop: spicy, deeply dark, and lovely. And so at home amidst the usual barbecue.
During Stampede, it’s easy to get beefed out. And this spicy dish is a welcome change from stew. The Mexican connection to the cowboy west is one we’ve overlooked with our Stampede grub, but we’re keen to round out menus to include this winner. We opted for a small spoonful of rice, but others went whole hog:
CHICKEN WITH MOLE
from The Sweet Life in Paris (Broadway Books) by David Lebovitz
Makes enough for smothering one chicken or a pork shoulder, previously cooked.
5 dried ancho dried chiles
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
¼ teaspoon each: cinnamon, ground cloves, dried oregano, powdered cumin, ground coriander, ground anise seeds
1/3 cup (55 g) sliced almonds
1-2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup (40 g) raisins or diced prunes
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper
1 cup (250 ml) water (or more, as needed)
1 oz (30 g) unsweetened chocolate, melted
Remove the seeds and stems from the chiles and soak them in very hot water until soft, about 30 minutes or so.
When softened, puree the chiles in a blender.
In a small skillet, sauté onion in vegetable oil until soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté another minute. Add spices and herbs and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds, being careful not to let them burn.
Add to the chile puree in the blender, the almonds, the cooked onions and garlic, tomatoes, raisins or prunes, sesame seeds, salt, pepper, water, and melted chocolate, then puree until smooth.
Add additional water, if necessary, until the consistency is smooth and slightly pourable.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.