Chicken Enchiladas with Mole

Enchiladas de Mole is hands-down my favorite thing to order at a Mexican restaurant.  I have always been intimidated by the time-consuming and ingredient-heavy process of making mole at home, and between work and school, I knew there was no way I would ever have time to make my own mole.     However, as I was watching Food Network this past weekend, I happened to see Marcela Valladolid’s new show, Mexican Made Easy, and lo-and-behold, she was making mole!  She promised it was the easiest mole ever, so I knew I had to try it.   I made some slight variations to Marcela’s recipe and served the enchiladas de mole with a red and yellow bell pepper rice pilaf.  I served this meal to my family and they loved it – even my mom, who usually hates spicy food!  The mole has a slight kick – you can always add additional peppers if you like it spicier!

**I was able to find all of the authentic Mexican ingredients at WalMart – they have a great (and very affordable) International foods section.

Enchiladas de Mole (serves 4-6):  (as adapted from http://www.foodnetwork.com)

-2 chicken breasts

-salt, pepper

-olive oil

Mole:

-5 dried pasilla chiles, (or dried anocho chiles) stemmed and seeded

-1-2 cups hot water

-2 tostadas (you could also use a handful of tortilla chips)

-2 tablespoons olive oil

-1 1/2 medium onions, chopped

-2 garlic cloves, minced

-2 cups homemade chicken stock (can be increased or decreased for desired consistency)

-3 tablespoons peanut butter

-1 teaspoon dried oregano

-4 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped, (recommended: Ibarra*)

-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Enchiladas:

-6 flour tortillas

-Olive oil, as needed

-3/4 cup queso fresco (or mild Feta)

-fresh cilantro, to garnish

Directions

For the chicken breasts:

-Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On a baking sheet, season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and olive oil, and bake until cooked through (internal temp should be 165 degrees F), then shred into small pieces.  Set aside.

For the Mole:

-Reconstitute the dried chiles by soaking them in the hot water for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside.

-In a heavy large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, season with a little salt and saute 3 minutes, or until translucent.

-Add the minced garlic and cook 2 minutes more.

-Transfer onion and garlic mixture to blender and add chicken stock, peanut butter, and oregano and blend until very smooth.

-Transfer the sauce to a medium saute pan and bring to boil over high heat.

-Reduce the heat to medium, cover and simmer 20 minutes.

-Stir in the chocolate.

-Season the mole with salt and pepper to taste.

My finished mole:


To assemble the enchiladas:


-Heat tortillas (I used the microwave), and brush with olive oil

-Fill tortilla with chicken, roll it up like a cigar, then place in 9×13 baking dish (seam-side down)

-Continue until all tortillas are filled

-Pour half of the mole over the enchiladas and cover with foil

-Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through

-To serve, place enchiladas on plates and top with more mole, if desired

-Crumble queso fresco over top and garnish with cilantro

Rice Pilaf with Red and Yellow Bell Peppers

-1 cup long-grain rice

-2 cups chicken stock

-1/2 cup onions, small dice

-1/2 red bell pepper, small dice

-1/2 yellow bell pepper, small dice

-2-3 Tbsp. butter

Directions:

-In a small sauce pan, sweat onions in butter until translucent then add red and yellow peppers and cook for 2-3 more minutes

-Add the rice and stir until coated with butter

-Add chicken stock and bring to a boil

-Cover pot with a tight-fitting lid (*if your lid does not fit tightly, cover the pot with aluminum foil and then put the lid on)

-Place the sauce pot in a 350 degree F oven and cook for 18-20 minutes (alternative method if your sauce pot is not oven-proof:  After the stock comes to a boil, reduce the heat, cover with tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 20-25 minutes)

-When rice is ready, season with salt to taste

-To serve, fluff the rice, being careful not to mash or stir forcefully.

****Do not continually check on the rice while it is cooking – removing the lid releases the steam trapped inside and alters the cooking time***



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