Chocolate Mole over Crispy Chicken Thighs

They say sauce is the test of a great chef. Master a complex sauce and you can cook anything. Moles are intricate layers of chilies, fruits, garlic, onions, nuts and fragrant spices. Traditionally they are cooked over several hours, allowing the flavors to simmer and infuse together. Well I wanted to make a great sauce but who has time for that?

My mole musings resulted in an abbreviated version of No Gluten, No Problem’s 90 Minute Mole recipeI shortened it a bit and altered the ingredients to suit my preferences. The nuts are omitted altogether since they’re a common allergen. You can read all about why I steer clear of nuts in this post. I chose ground spices rather than whole to save time. Ground tends to be just as effective when fresh. Try replacing your spices every six months and you’ll notice an extra kick, especially in that cayenne powder!

As I mulled over the intricacies of mole, I realized sauces are an optimal way to include a wide variety of plant foods into your diet. There are 13 different whole fruits and vegetables in this recipe. Talk about nutritional bang! Then by topping this off with avocado, cilantro and jalapeño, you’re already up to 16. More plant variety equals more nutrients and a healthier body.

Chocolate Mole over Crispy Chicken Thighs

Chocolate Mole over Crispy Chicken Thighs

Chocolate Mole over Crispy Chicken Thighs

Chocolate Mole over Crispy Chicken Thighs

Chocolate Mole over Crispy Chicken Thighs
Yields 4
Nut-free Chocolate Mole Sauce
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
1 min
Chilies
  1. 10 dried ancho chilies
  2. 5 dried poblano chilies
  3. 3 dried chipotle chilies
  4. warm water
Fruits and Vegetables
  1. 2 1/2 tbsp dried apricots - chopped
  2. 2 1/2 tbsp raisins
  3. 1 cup onions - chopped
  4. 2 tbsp garlic - minced
  5. 1/2 tbsp lard
  6. 1 cup chicken broth
  7. 3 ounces 70-80% dark chocolate
Spices
  1. 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  2. 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  3. 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  4. 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  5. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  6. 1 tsp salt - use 1/2 tsp if chicken broth is salted.
Chicken
  1. 2 lbs bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  2. 1 tsp salt
  3. 1 tsp pepper
  4. 2 tbsp lard
Mole
  1. Saute dried chilies over medium heat for a few minutes. Then submerge chilies in warm water for 20 minutes.
  2. Soak apricots and raisins in warm water for 20 minutes.
  3. Toast spices in a dry pan over low heat for 3-5 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Drain chilies, de-stem and remove all seeds. It helps to run water over them.
  5. Melt lard over medium high heat in your saute pan and cook onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Set aside.
  6. Place chilies, spices, drained dried fruits, onions, garlic, chicken broth, and salt in a food processor. Process until smooth, about 5 minutes.
  7. Melt chocolate in a double boiler and add to the food processor. Pulse to combine.
Chicken
  1. Generously salt and pepper the chicken on both sides.
  2. Melt 1 tbsp lard over high heat in a cast iron skillet or heavy pan.
  3. Place 1/2 the chicken thighs in the pan. Cook on each side for 4 minutes. Then turn the heat to medium low and cook an additional 4 minutes on each side. Repeat for second batch, adding more lard before placing chicken in pan.
Notes
  1. If sauce is too thick, add more chicken broth.
  2. Serve the mole over the chicken thighs with avocado, cilantro and jalapeño.
Adapted from No Gluten, No Problem 90 Minute Mole
Sparkle Kitchen http://sparklekitchen.com/
Chocolate Mole over Crispy Chicken Thighs

Chocolate Mole over Crispy Chicken Thighs

Chocolate Mole over Crispy Chicken Thighs

Pesto Change-o! Nut Free & Dairy Free Basil Pesto

This pesto is nut free, seed free and dairy free. When you remove these elements, does it still taste like pesto? Yes, very much so. Garlic and basil always star in this recipe so leaving out the cheese and pine nuts does not change much.

I must warn you. The garlic is potent. Best to enjoy in the company of fellow garlic lovers!Nut Free & Dairy Free Basil Pesto

Nut Free & Dairy Free Basil Pesto

Nut Free & Dairy Free Basil Pesto

 

Nut Free & Dairy Free Basil Pesto
Yields 6
Nut-free, seed-free and dairy free version of pesto.
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups fresh basil
  2. 1 tbsp garlic cloves - minced
  3. ½ tbsp lemon juice
  4. ¼ tsp salt
  5. ¼ cup olive oil
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse 3 minutes or until completely pureed.
Notes
  1. Add in ½ tbsp of nutritional yeast if you want a cheesy flavor.
  2. Substitute up to 1 cup of the basil with spinach or kale.
Sparkle Kitchen http://sparklekitchen.com/
Nut Free & Dairy Free Basil Pesto

Hollandaise Sauce and Cracking the Code on Eggs

Salmon Eggs Benedict

Rich, creamy hollandaise sauce. Pour it over any dish and you have something decadent. The sauce harmonizes the flavors and ties every ingredient together. But really, who am I kidding? I just want the sauce. The egg, salmon and vegetables are simply vehicles for the main attraction.

Hollandaise sauce has a secret weapon, it’s all in the quality of the eggs. Quality will always trump quantity in my book. When it comes to food, the source matters. And it matters most when you’ll be consuming it raw. The last thing you want to worry about is a contaminated egg.

Egg yolks from your local, trusted farmer are quite different from the styrofoam container you picked up at the grocery store. Chickens need a nurturing environment so they can be the best chicken they can be and in turn provide us with stellar nutrition. They need to roam free, eat from the land and get plenty of sunlight. How many grocery stores have eggs coming from this condition? Close to zero. Get to know your local farmer. Do you know where your eggs come from?

Pasture raised chickens:
-roam free on pasture outside
-eat their natural diets of green plants, insects and worms
-have higher nutrient percentages of vitamin A, vitamin K2, vitamin D, choline, sulfur, selenium and healthy cholesterol, which are primarily found in the yolk
-eggs have a longer shelf life, lasting for several weeks

Conventional chickens:
-live in cages or without access to sunlight most of their lives
-eat an unnatural diet of GMO corn, soy and cottonseed
-given antibiotics to prevent disease caused by their unnatural living conditions
-eggs are pasteurized and twice as likely to be contaminated

When conventional eggs are your only option, it is almost impossible to decipher all the marketing lingo saturating egg cartons. Companies know that consumers are looking for certain specifications. And since the companies’ goal is to turn the greatest profit, they have created new marketing tactics. Use this guide below designed by Richard Leo to steer you to the best option.

Guide to Unscrambling Egg Cartons


Salmon Eggs Benedict

Hollandaise Sauce

Makes ½ cup.

2 egg yolks
dash of salt
1 ½ tbsp of water
3 ½ tbsp of butter – I used Kerry Gold.
½ tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
tiny pinch of cayenne pepper

►Chop butter into 1 inch pieces.
In a small sauce pan, combine egg yolks, water and salt. Whisk together before placing on the heat.
►Slowly heat over low heat, stirring constantly for five minutes. The mixture will thicken so that it coats the back of your spoon. If lumps form in the eggs, move away from the heat for a minute and continue stirring. Once the consistency is smooth, place back on the heat.

►Keeping the burner on, take the pan away from the heat. Stir in the butter 1-2 pieces at a time until all is combined and melted.
If sauce begins to harden, place back on the heat for a minute until creamy again.
►Add in lemon juice and cayenne pepper, stirring to combine.
►Serve immediately or place in a double boiler over the stove for up to thirty minutes. Stir before serving.