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Reach into cupboards for quick mole sauce

February 2, 2015

Shredded chicken is simmered in a quick mole sauce, then served with polenta. For a fancier look, pack polenta into a small ramekin, then unmold onto the dinner plates.

Most of us have kitchen cupboards stocked with obscure jars or cans of this and that, items that speed preparation of our particular favorite dishes. For me, one constant is a jar of mole paste.

Though Ive enjoyed many delicious, complex from-scratch versions of this Mexican sauce in restaurants, Ive been content to let accomplished chefs grind the peppers and mix the spices. Im not saying I will never attempt an authentic, homemade version. Just that when I want a quick version at home, I reach for that jar.

It takes just chicken broth and peanut butter to turn that thick paste into a sauce (and the extra keeps forever in the fridge). I like to stir in more broth than the package directions suggest, for a sauce that gilds pieces of roast shredded chicken instead of merely resting atop.

In a nonauthentic twist, instead of serving the chicken mole with tortillas, I spoon it over corn in another form: polenta instant, in this case, another vital item in the pantry.

TIPS

Pick up a rotisserie chicken to shred for the recipe. Save the rest for other meals and the carcass for broth.

For the peanut butter, choose a natural brand that is all peanuts, with maybe a little salt, but no added sugar. Use creamy for a smoother sauce.

CHICKEN MOLE

Prep: 5 minutes

Cook: 25 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

3 cups water

1 cup instant polenta

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups chicken broth

1/4 cup jarred dark mole paste

3 tablespoons peanut butter

2 cooked chicken breast halves, shredded in long strips

Chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. Heat the water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add the polenta and salt. Reduce heat to a simmer; cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Cover saucepan and keep warm.

2. Heat the broth to a simmer in a separate saucepan; add the mole paste, breaking it up with a wooden spoon and stirring it into the broth until it is dissolved to form a sauce. Stir in the peanut butter until it dissolves. The sauce should thicken but still be pretty liquid. Taste for flavor; the sauce should not taste bitter. Add more peanut butter if you like.

3. Stir in the chicken to coat the pieces; simmer on low so the sauce permeates the meat, 10 minutes. Serve the chicken and sauce over the polenta, garnished with chopped cilantro.

Nutrition information per serving: 445 calories, 16 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 37 mg cholesterol, 47 g carbohydrates, 25 g protein, 952 mg sodium, 6 g fiber

 

 


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