I told you a while back that my friend, Kimberly Edwards, had the brilliant idea to start a cookbook club. We call ourselves the "Mixing Bowls Cookbook Club". Our first meeting was at her house back in December, and we all cooked a dish from one of The Pioneer Woman's cookbooks. I made Chocolate Mint Shooters for dessert. You can get that recipe here and see what everyone else brought.
Our second meeting was held in February at the home of my friend, Mallory Baker. The theme was Mexican. I love Mexican. We eat it out or at home at least one a week. But...
I've watched enough cooking shows to know that what passed for Mexican around here really isn't, but this is! I know a good Mexican cook is known for their mole, so that's what I set out to learn how to make. Mole just means sauce, and good ones often take an entire weekend to make! I didn't have that much time, so this recipe caught my attention.
I found this recipe at Dandelion Mama. For once, I followed a recipe exactly according to directions. I didn't have any experience with moles, so I figured I needed to stick to the basics. It was delicious. You can get a link to an easy to print recipe at the bottom.
Now, be warned! This recipe has some weird sounding ingredients. Nothing you can't find or probably don't even have on hand...just weird combinations. But trust me - they each have their purpose, and they combine to make such a depth of flavor. It's unbelievable how good this smells...and tastes!
Here we go!
Begin with two medium onions.
Peel and chop.
Heat EVOO in a Dutch oven.
Saute onions until translucent.
In the meantime, chop your garlic. A LOT of garlic! Add garlic when the onions are translucent. Cook for another 30 seconds or until fragrant.
TIP - most sources say spices are only good for about six months after opening. 1) I can't afford to replace my spices every six months, and 2) I don't think it's necessary! I keep my spices in a dark, dry cabinet, and I find they usually last about two years before losing their potency. When I open a new jar, I use a Sharpie and write the month and year. After two years, I will replace as needed. This has worked for me so far!
OK - first weird ingredient...Hershey's cocoa.
I have really been trying to buy low sodium products whenever possible. It just allows me to be in control of our salt intake.
Add cocoa, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and chili powder to onions. Stir well.
Add chicken broth. Stir well.
Next group of weird ingredients...chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, raisins, creamy peanut butter and tomato paste! Hang in there...it will be worth it!
Add one chili pepper to the pot.
TIP - For years, when I would buy a can of these peppers, the recipe usually only called for one, and I had no idea what to do with the rest of the can. Problem solved! Finely chop one and add it to your favorite chili recipe for extra flavor. Or mince and add to store-bought barbecue sauce for smokiness and an extra kick!
and tomato paste and peanut butter...
Mix well and simmer covered for about 20 minutes.
It's a deep, rich, red color before you blend it. Using a stick blender, puree until smooth.
It becomes this beautiful brick color.
I picked up a rotisserie chicken from our Tallassee Walmart. We don't have a deli, but they bring these in and keep them in the refrigerated deli section.
In my opinion, it's easier to pick a warm chicken than after it's been in the fridge. I let it come to room temp and then shredded it while my sauce simmered.
Add chicken to the mole sauce...
This cheese is available at grocery stores everywhere. It's a soft, fresh cheese. Tastes and feels sort of like goat's milk cheese.
I usually prefer flour tortillas, but it called for white corn. I liked them with this dish. I think the texture and the flavor was strong enough to stand up to this sauce.
Jewell and I "road tested" these before I took them that night. Don't know what I would have done if they weren't good! But they were. Man, were they! Here's how I made them at home.
Sprinkle the tortilla with crumbled cheese. Bake at 300 degrees until cheese begins to melt.
Remove from oven.
Add chicken mole.
Add a little sour cream and sprinkle with torn cilantro.
I used my Oneida "La Fiesta" serving pieces for the party that night. You last saw these on New Year's Eve. They were perfect!
I went ahead and crumbled the cheese and had fresh sour cream.
I tore my cilantro ahead of time instead of cutting it so it wouldn't turn brown and get all wilty. That's an appetizer spoon I used to serve it with.
I warmed the tortillas in the microwave at the last minute since we couldn't each warm ours in the oven. It worked fine. I kept the chicken mole in my crock pot on the warm setting until we were ready to eat, so it all stayed hot!
Imagine if your favorite local Mexican restaurant had a buffet. That's what this was like!
It was all so good!
Since we have so many in our group, we all make a regular-sized recipe of our dish. We all get a taste of everything, not a huge serving.
Isn't that an impressive spread?
I'm not the least bit embarrassed to show you my (first) plate! And yes, I did go back for seconds. It was delicious, and the company was equally delightful!
You can print the recipe here.
We meet again in April for Italian night! I can't wait. I'm already planning what I'll take...
I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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