For some time now, I’ve been thinking about cooking a mole poblano – a Mexican dish that features lots of different spices and some very dark chocolate. Then Lindt sent me a box of chocolate for me to cook with, and mole (pronounced molay, not mole, like the animal) went straight to the top of my ‘recipes to cook soon’ list. She sent me a few different varieties of their chocolate, but I opted to use the incredible 99% dark chocolate bar for this. It’s almost pure cocoa, which I thought would work really well. And boy, it really did.
I lived in Mexico when I was a kid, and the idea of mole was a bit bizarre to me. Chicken with a chocolate sauce? What? I don’t think I actually ate it the whole time I lived there! Clearly I didn’t like to experiment too much with food as a child. So, sadly, I can’t tell you how close this is to the ‘real thing’. But as an adult living in London, I’ve become a huge fan of mole, and often order it in Mexican restaurants. Traditional mole involves up to 30 ingredients and hours and hours of cooking, so this is definitely a less elaborate version than that! But I think this is is as good, or better, than any of the moles I’ve had out and about. I think this is one of the best things I’ve ever cooked. Bold statement, I know, but true! It was so good. Peter and I fought over the leftovers (I won).
This is a slow cooked meal, and although it takes a while to cook (it involves 90 minutes of simmering), it doesn’t involve too much actual work. I made it using leftovers from a roast chicken. I stripped the chicken and pulled the meat, and used the bones to make some stock. If you don’t happen to have 300g of pulled chicken meat in your fridge (and why not?), roast a few chicken thighs with olive oil, salt and a squeeze of lemon juice at 180′ for around 30 minutes. Then cool down and pull the meat. You’ll probably need to do 8 thighs to get enough meat for 4.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 small cinnamon stick
- 2 dried chipotle chillies
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4-5 cloves
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 3-4 ladles chicken stock
- 1/2 lime
- 300g cooked and pulled chicken meat
- 1 tsp muscovado sugar
- 50g Lindt Excellence 99% dark chocolate
Step one: On a gentle heat, heat the olive oil and fry the onion until soft. Then add the cinnamon, chipotle, cumin, thyme and cloves. Cook for around 5 minutes on a low heat.
Step two: Turn the temperature up and add the tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, then cover.
Step three: After 30 minutes, add in the juice of 1/2 a lime and the chicken. Cover again.
Step four: After another 30 minutes, stir in the chocolate and sugar. If it has reduced down too much, add another ladle of stock or water. Cover again.
Step five: After another 30 minutes, your incredible mole poblano is almost ready. The final step is to remove the cinnamon stick, thyme sprigs and the chillies! As lovely and smokey as chipotle chillies are, you probably don’t want to bite into one…
Serve with corn tortillas, guacamole, coriander (unless you’re one of those weirdos who hates it), sour cream and very hot sauce. I use Trinidadian hot sauce that is basically entirely made of scotch bonnets, and it kind of blows your head off, while still having a really good flavour. This. Was. Delicious.
Thanks so much to Lindt for sending me my amazing chocolate parcel. Their chocolate really is so good. I have loved cooking with it and you know, just, like, eating it out of the cupboard. It’s a bit dangerous having 10 bars of chocolate on hand!