One thing we've discovered during our ten years in Tucson is that Mexican cuisine is a lot more than tacos and burritos. I've learned a tremendous amount about the diversity of the food thanks to the internet, some fabulous local restaurants as well as books by Rick Bayless and Diana Kennedy; however, we can thank Marcela Valladolid of Food Network's Mexican Made Easy for introducing us to a green pipian sauce also known as green mole. Watching her make it on her show made me really anxious to give it a try.
Of course, I'm never satisfied unless I do a ton of exploring before I try a new recipe and my research brought me to a recipe from New Mexico Magazine, so I combined Marcela's and Chef Fernando Olea's from Epazote in Santa Fe to come up with my version.
I seasoned skinless boneless chicken thighs with sea salt, pepper and chipotle chile powder then dusted them lightly in flour before they hit my favorite cast iron Dutch oven and came out golden brown and glistening. Onions and garlic got a quick saute in all those lovely chicken juices before they hit the food processor along with par boiled tomatillos, a serrano pepper and unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds (pipian), that were lightly toasted until golden brown. Joined by a little chicken stock, I whizzed the ingredients resulting in a sauce with a relatively coarse texture.
The sauce returned to the pot along with the chicken and more chicken broth and simmered slowly for 45 minutes until the chicken was tender. Finished with chopped cilantro and served with rice, tortillas and a squeeze of lime, the end result is absolutely not to be believed.
The flavors are rich and nutty with a very subtle hint of heat from the serrano that just hits the back of your throat and says howdy...I'm here. It's so good, I can't wait to make it again... maybe with pork next time and I might even add some Hatch green chile to the mix! Man, don't ya' just love cooking?
Chicken with Green Mole (from JBug’s Kitchen Antics inspired by Chef Marcela Valladolid, Food Network and Chef Fernando Olea of Epazote in Santa Fe via New Mexico Magazine)
2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs
Salt & coarse ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Chipotle chile powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound tomatillos
1-1/2 cups unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
4 cloves garlic
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
1 Serrano pepper, with seeds (stem removed)
1-1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth or more as needed
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Fill a medium sized pot with water and heat until boiling. Meanwhile remove papery outer husk of tomatillos and wash tomatillos well until no longer sticky. Add to pot of boiling water, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until color changes to a deep olive green and they are soft. Remove from pot and drain well. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile in a large nonstick skillet, toast pumpkin seeds over medium heat, stirring constantly until lightly browned. Remove to a plate and set aside.
Wash and dry chicken thighs. Cut each thigh in half and place into a large bowl. Season well with salt, pepper and chipotle chile powder and toss to coat. Sprinkle in flour and toss again so that chicken pieces are evenly coated.
Heat oil in heavy Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add chicken pieces and cook until browned on all sides. Remove from pot and set aside.
Add onion and garlic to pot and sauté until onion is softened. Remove to a food processor. Remove cores from prepared tomatillos and add to food processor along with Serrano pepper, toasted pumpkin seeds and a half cup of chicken broth. Process until sauce is fairly smooth (it will be slightly coarse because of the pumpkin seeds).
Return chicken to the pot and pour sauce over top. Add an additional cup of chicken stock, then season sauce with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook, slightly covered for 40 minutes or until chicken is very tender. Add chopped cilantro during last 5 minutes of cooking. Serve with rice and garnish with lime wedges. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
A year ago - Homemade Hamburger Buns & Leftover Pork
Two year's ago - Peach Crumble Pie