Ah! This is good! I’m a big fan of Jamie Oliver and his recipes usually become instant favorites. His unusual take on various regions of the United States is a thrill to read in Jamie’s America and I’m sure will continue to be a joy to cook from.
I simplified the chicken to gorgeously cooked thighs and amplified the mole sauce with some honey and tomato paste to bring some more sweetness to what turned out to be a complex, spicy sauce. It came together rather quickly but has the depth of a dish that took forever to simmer and develop.
I hope you love it as much as I did! I only made 2 pounds of chicken thighs and saved half the sauce for the freezer. What a great back up meal to look forward to some tired night! Win win.
Adapted from Jamie’s America
For the chicken
4 pounds chicken thighs
2 Tbs bacon fat or coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste
For the chocolate mole
5 large dried red chiles, such as New Mexico chiles
2 Tbs olive oil
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely sliced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbs sesame seeds
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 Tbs cocoa powder
Salt and pepper
3.5 oz good quality dark chocolate, broken into chunks (I used 85% cocoa)
2 Tbs red or white wine vinegar
1 Tbs almond butter
3 oz (half a small can) tomato paste
1 Tbs honey
To make the chicken, simply melt the bacon fat or oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron is perfect here) over medium heat. Generously season both sides of all the chicken thighs, and cook them slowly, so they develop a lovely crisp crust and remain juicy inside. This took about 5 minutes a side. Work in batches until all the chicken is cooked and set aside.
While your chicken is cooking, get your mole sauce going. Wash the dried chiles and cut them roughly. Discard the stems and any big pieces of seeds and membranes. Put the chile pieces in a bowl and cover them with 3 1/2 cups of boiling water. Let them soak in this for 20 mins until they soften.
Get a large pan on a medium heat and add olive oil, onions, sliced garlic, soaked chiles (save the soaking water), cumin and ground cinnamon. Slowly cook everything for about 15 to 20 mins, until the vegetables have softened and sweetened.
Stir in the sesame seeds and tomatoes, then fill the empty tin with some of the water (about 1/2 can) you soaked your chiles in and add this too. Bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add your cocoa powder and a good pinch of salt and pepper, stir really well and cook for another 5 minutes.
At this point, add the chunks of chocolate, honey, almond butter, and tomato paste and stir gently until the chocolate is melted, then pour the sauce into a food processor or blender for a minute or two. Taste and add the red wine vinegar a tablespoon at a time and more salt and pepper if necessary, until it tastes amazing. The sauce should have a loose consistency, so add a splash of chili water if it looks too thick.
To serve, transfer the chicken to a plate, and pour the mole sauce over. Top with avocado or more sesame seeds. Yum!