Mole Chicken Enchiladas

Mole Chicken EnchiladasYesterday was Father’s Day, so Beloved got whatever he wanted to eat.  For breakfast I made him Eggs Benedict, and for dinner he got black beans, spoon bread and molé chicken enchiladas.

Molé refers to an often dissimilar group of sauces made throughout Mexico including Molé Rojo (red), Molé Amarillo (yellow), Molé Colorado (brown), Molé Verde (green) and Molé Negro (black), just to name a few.  Molé is most often used to sauce chicken and many molé recipes include nuts, while Molé Negro often includes small amounts of unsweetened Mexican chocolate.

My molé is a colorado, or brown, molé, which is really more of a deep, brick red.  It’s not hard to make, but is a bit time and labor intensive and does call for a couple of specialized ingredients, but if I can obtain them in Podunk, Ohio (not exactly a hotbed of Latin American cuisine) they shouldn’t be too terribly difficult to find in most urban or suburban areas.

The sauce uses ancho chilies, which are simply dried pablano peppers, and these are what gives it the deep, brick red color.  It is not a terribly spicy dish, but it is a wonderfully rich and complex one.  The original recipe calls for using a comal (a flat, cast-iron disk with a handle) to toast the chilies and garlic, but over the years I’ve come to handle all of the roasting, frying and cooking (in that order) in a 12-inch, well-seasoned, cast iron skillet.  It certainly helps with the time factor, and gives you a lot less to clean up afterwards.

The original recipe also called for lard; for health reasons, I’ve substituted a non-hydrogenated vegetable oil.  Also make sure you purchase the best quality corn tortillas you can find; many on the market are made with a corn powder, rather than a good stone-ground masa, and will disintegrate in the dish.

Tricia, you can leave the onions off of this.  Elaine, this is egg free!  Michele, I imagine a good TVP would make a nice, vegetarian filling for this.  Janie, I’m sorry about the list of ingredients, and Jen – oops, this one ain’t real diet friendly.  But it’s really, really good.

Molé Chicken

serves 6

12 corn tortillas

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups cooked and shredded chicken,  kept warm

3 large ancho chilies

Hot water to cover

1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided

8 raw, unskinned almonds

1/2 large, very ripe plantain

2 medium tomatoes, broiled and cored

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 whole cloves

1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

1 large clove garlic, peeled

1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided

3/4 cup queso fresco, crumbled

1/2 large red onion, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat and lightly toast the chilies, turning them from time to time so they do not burn.  While they are still pliable, slit them open and remove the stem, seeds and veins.  Cover them with hot water and let them soak for about 15 to 20 minutes.

In the same skillet, toast the clove of garlic until golden brown, taking care not to burn it.  Halve it, removing any green that may be in the center.  Set aside.

Add 1 -2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil to the skillet and fry the almonds until they are well browned, stirring freuqently so they do not burn.  Crush them slightly and set aside.  Skin the plantain, slice it lengthwise and fry it until golden on both sides.

Place the plantains, almonds and broiled tomatoes into a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth puree; add a little water if necessary.  Set aside.

Separately, blend the chilies with 1/2 cup of the water used to soak them, the spices and garlic to a smooth puree.

Heat another 2 – 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in the skillet and cook the chili puree on high heat about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat, add the tomato/plantain mixture and then return to the heat, cooking for about 5 minutes on medium heat, stirring all the time so it does not stick; be careful, it can spatter about some.

Stir 1 cup of the chicken broth gradually into the sauce and continue cooking it for a minute or so.  At this point you can strain it through a coarse sieve, but if you choose not to, that is fine; it will have a nice, rustic texture if left unstrained.  Heat the sauce over low heat, salting to taste, and cook for another 15 minutes.

In a small skillet, heat the 1/2 cup vegetable oil but do not let it get too hot; place a tortilla into it for a few seconds – you want to soften the tortilla, not fry it.  Gently remove the tortilla with a pair of tongs, letting the excess oil drop back into the pan, then lay it flat in a shallow glass baking dish.  Cover the tortilla with a thin layer of the sauce, place some of the shredded chicken down the center, and roll it up, placing it seam side down.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas, laying the enchiladas side by side, until the dish is filled.

Thin down the remainder of the sauce with the 1/2 cup of broth and pour it over the enchildadas.  Sprinkle the surface with the cheese and onion.

TURN THE OVEN OFF.  Place the dish of enchiladas in the oven, and let heat through for about 5 – 10 minutes.

Serve immediately.

9 thoughts on “Mole Chicken Enchiladas”

  1. Beloved is one lucky guy and those look absolutely delicious.

    We’re all going to drive you crazy with these special requests…and we love you for thinking for keeping track of all our taste buds.
    .-= Tricia´s last blog ..Redefining Normal =-.

  2. Oy, the long list of ingredients yelled at me, “You! You cannot make this! You’ll even READ it wrong! Do not attempt!” Although my MIL served a yucca casserole kinda bread thing yesterday that OH MY HEAVENS, was so good. It was so good, it attached itself to my thighs so I get to enjoy it for a whole week!
    .-= Sprite’s Keeper´s last blog ..HASAY: Looking for another way =-.

  3. You spoil Beloved. Isn’t he a lucky guy? I had the kids cook for Briefcase yesterday. it was … interesting. First time they’ve done it entirely on their own – both breakfast and dinner. (A great start to my diet?) : )
    .-= Twenty Four At Heart´s last blog ..Mr. Bad Ass =-.

  4. This is one of my favorite dishes and yes I was spoiled. I don’t get this very often because it is time consuming. Poor Jan hid in the kitchen all day! Thanks dear!

  5. This is absolutely one of my favorites of Jan’s dishes. I know it takes a long time to make, but we REALLY appreciate it when you make it, because it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good.

Comments are closed.