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Holy Mole! Chocolate for Chickens

chocolocateteam — 40 weeks ago

mole

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A chocolate meal is my ideal dinner, but let’s face it, if you care in the least bit about a balanced lifestyle this probably only happens once in a blue moon. So when I discovered a dish that is both hearty, nutritious and features chocolate for breakfast you bet I was game! Mole- pronounced mó-lay- is simply chocolate chicken. But this isn’t just your ordinary chicken. This chocolate trail starts in Mexico.

Often the staple meal at weddings, Mole is not as simple as it sounds. It is VERY rarely just quickly thrown together. Sometimes taking a few days, family and friends come together to chop, stir and stew on this delightful dish. Everyone helps out to share the labour, gossip and create the dish in a very social environment. Mole holds strong traditions but many argue on its true origins.

Mayan Calendar
The most widely accepted legend will take you to a convent in Puebla, eighty miles southeast of Mexico City. As the tale goes the nuns of the Santa Rosa Convent were creating a dish for the visit of an archbishop. Some slippery fingers and/or one loose elbow knocked over a tray of spices and some chocolate into the meat and ta-da mole was born. Others believe more simply, the Nahautl word for sauce is mōlli.
cacao
But since the first published recipes of mole did not appear until 1810, no one will truly be able to know how or when mole was first created with any accuracy. You can however visit the famous Santa Rosa convent in Puebla (for a small tourist fee) to see the kitchen for yourself where it may have or may have not all started.
chilies
If you are curious to try the dish yourself or want to become a true 'Mole Mama' the meat does not have to be chicken. Mole Poblano was first eaten with wild Turkey, which people had to hunt with their muskets (this part is optional). Some people demand only Turkey for Mole but chicken is simply easier to handle and thus, more often used today.

Now comes something nice, the spice! Chili is a deadly weapon when used in Mexican food. As a contact wearing individual I must say for the record BEWARE the chili, I sadly learned this from a tearful experience. If you have an itch, do not scratch it for heavens sakes- those eyes water- just don’t touch! Some traditional recipes will use OVER 20 peppers, even for what is considered to be a small batch. Those who like the heat will often use 20 poblanos (considered a mild pepper), a handful of guajillos (holy mole) and four red pasillas (pronounced pah-SEE-yah, literally 'little raisin') in total. Several other spices are thrown into the mix: almonds, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, raisins, black pepper. Sometimes up to 27 ingredients are thrown into the pot before the chocolate is even added.

Each cook has their own charm or additional spice as there are various versions of mole sauce. Of course you can’t just use any old chocolate, chocolate for cooking is very different from the truffle or usual bar source. Experiment on your own, but if you are in the Toronto area ChocoSol offers an ‘Aztec’ unsweetened chocolate puck specifically for chocolate foods and chocolate cooking.

yum
There are many misconceptions about mole or the chocolate sauce itself. Popular food writers have described it as a ‘thick, dark sauce’ which is far from the traditional truth. Mole is quite often neither dark nor particularly that thick. Again, it’s the cook in the kitchen! And I dare you to ask a traditional Mole Mama from Mexico how much of that spice or chocolate she just threw in. If anyone has cooked with their Grandmother or Nona then they are more than aware of the 'throw in, toss and sprinkle', NEVER measured, method that is used. Mole can be MANY things! Dark, thick or bright green, yellow and soup-like depending on the cook and region or origin of the dish. And if your not a cook in the kitchen, swing on by Art Square Gallery and Café, across from the AGO for their mole meal featured on the menu weekly.
chocolate
Below is a BASIC beginner mole recipe to try at home, whether celebrating Cinco de Mayo, a family occasion, or the company of good friends. Tell us your FAV or traditional mole recipe on FB and Twitter @ChocoLocate

Ingredients: 3/4 cup Mole Sauce 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 3/4 pounds boneless, skinless turkey breast Coarse salt and ground pepper 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together mole sauce and 1/2 cup water until smooth.

In a large heavy-bottom saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high. Season turkey with salt and pepper; cook, rounded side down, until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn breast; pour mole mixture over turkey.

Cover tightly; bake until turkey is no longer pink in the middle (an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part should register 165 degrees), about 40 minutes. Transfer turkey to a cutting board; let rest 10 minutes before thinly slicing.

Stir sauce in pan to combine; serve with turkey. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.

Want more featured chocolate destinations? Be sure to check out our previous blog here

BuyChocolate, ChocolateHistory, ChocolateInfo, FineChocolate, HotChoco, LeChocolat

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