When Hubby and I first got together, he took me to a dive of a Mexican restaurant – a real hole in the wall joint with linoleum floors that slopped toward the kitchen and rickety tables. Hubby insisted they made his all-time-favorite Mexican dish – Chicken Mole. He was right, it was very good. Because I love Hubby with all my heart, and as a blushing bride, I wanted to make his favorite Mexican dish at home. Have you seen the ingredients in authentic Mole sauce?! Oh me, oh my . . . raisins, nuts, chocolate, chilies and on and on . . . hours of simmering. Oh no!
One day, I picked up a jar of concentrated Mole Sauce in the Latin aisle at our local market. What the heck – it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. The most difficult thing to do was to get the thick (and I mean thick) concentrated base out of that little jar. (Using the handle of a wooden spoon or a teaspoon works well to break it up and pry it out). And then you need to add the liquid back into the concentrate to make it a sauce again. Let me tell you, this stuff doesn’t dissolve easily.
The first time I made it, I spent a good thirty minutes stirring the chicken broth in a large bowl with the nearly solid concentrate, and still there were clumpy lumps in the bottom of bowl. This stuff is stubborn!! But it was good, so I wasn’t willing to give up the ghost.
Round two – I had Hubby mash the heck out of the concentrate with a potato masher. Stir, mash, stir, mash – again, it took a long time and a lot of elbow grease to get the stuff smooth.
Along came my wonderful Kitchen-Aid stand up mixer. While it still took a while to get the concentrate to dissolve into the broth, at least with the stand up mixer, I could do other things – like soak the jar and wash off the label. (What can I say – these little jars are perfect orange juice glasses! I’ve got a cupboard full, and I’ve given twice that many away over the years). My stand mixer hummed away and I puttered in the kitchen. While the physical work was less strenuousness, it took time and patience to get the concentrated mole into liquid form. Then one day, a light came on – the mixture needed warmth to help the concentrate to dissolve into the broth. At last, I had a way to hurry the process along.
The directions on the jar tell you to use 3 parts chicken broth for 1 part concentrate. That’s a little on the mild side. Two parts broth to one part concentrate give you a nice, spicy mole that isn’t too hot. (If you really want to sweat while you’re eating, use equal parts – did that once, not again!)
Gosh, I made this sound like a lot of work . . . but oh so worth it! And before you say anything, I know you can buy the sauce in ready-to-use containers. Been there, done that – not nearly as tasty. So it might be a fight to get the stuff out of the jar, and another fight to get the stuff to dissolve, it is so worth it. And when you think about it – I guess you could claim you “made” the sauce. Lord knows you sure worked at it just to get the sauce out of the jar!
Cheater’s Chicken Mole
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar Dona Maria Mole sauce (concentrated)
2 (16 oz) cans Chicken Stock or Broth
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place a large casserole dish on a baking tray (to catch any spillage) and set aside.
Empty mole concentrate into a sauce pan. Pour 16 oz of chicken broth into the pan. Stirring gently from time to time, heat the mixture over medium heat until blended and dissolved, about 15 minutes.
While mole sauce is simmering, cut chicken breasts into large chunks, about 2-inch squares. (Three pieces per breast). Place chicken breasts in the casserole dish
Once the mixture has blended (a few lumps remaining is okay), remove from heat. Stir in additional 16 oz of chicken broth.
Pour the sauce over breasts. Cover with foil and bake 1 ½ – 2 hours. Chicken has reached perfection when it is fork-tender.
Serve with warm flour tortillas and your favorite sides such as refried beans and rice.