I have been missing for almost two weeks. It's the same reasons all over again- work, busy, nasty cold that refuses to go away. But I have also been spending my evenings mostly watching film and docs, making comments and comparing notes with fellow screeners. Finally, having watched the last batch, I emerge from my hibernation!
In the midst of all this, we celebrated our anniversary. We went to Zingerman's Roadhouse for this year's dinner. For those who don't know, Zingermans is a legend around here with a deli, creamery, and bakery along with the restaurant. The story goes that whenever Mario Batali is going to his Michigan lakeside house, he stops at Zingerman's deli to stock up. Coming back to our anniversary dinner, we had some fabulous crabcakes for starters. Aswin opted for grilled fish and I got some gumbo for our entrees. The food was fantastic, but the highlight was donut sundae, which we licked clean.
For our special dinner at home, I decided to make chicken mole. Pretty adventurous your say! It probably was, considering it was a weeknight, but I did some prep work before. Still I took some shortcuts (didn't leave the seeds out of all chilies) and then paid for it by adding more brown sugar. I also left it little chunky, not pureeing the sauce completely.
Inspite of all the shortcuts, and omitted steps, the result was unlike anything I have eaten before. It's bitter, sweet, hot, smoky, almost velvety all at once, and absolutely fabulous! We had ours with beans, rice and cucumber salad.
This is probably one of the most complex recipes I have ever tried. I used the recipe by Rick Bayless and modified it to our quantities.
(Source: Turkey mole by Rick Bayless, jugalbandi's recommendation)
4 chilies mulatos
2 medium dried chilies anchos
The nuts, seeds:
2 tbspoon cup sesame seeds
1/2 tspoon coriander seeds
1/3 cup unskinned almonds
1/2 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
1 can of chopped tomatoes, well drained
1/2 tablet 100% chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon aniseed
1 inch cinnamon stick
5-6 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 pack chicken thighs and breasts
(cumin seed and chillie powder to season the chicken pieces)
Salt to taste
1/3 cup sugar
The key to making this recipe is following the steps, grouping the ingredients and proceeding with it step by step.
Season the chicken with salt, dry red chilli powder and cumin powder. Saute it till it turns brown. Drain and keep it aside.
Then stem and deseed the chilies. I omitted the step and as a result the sauce was much hotter. Fry the chilli , soak it in hot water bowl for 30 minutes, then take the chillies an add it to a mixer. Puree it and keep it aside.
Next toast the almonds, coriander and seasame seeds, then add it to the tomato mixture. Fry the garlic, onions, till they are starting to brown and raisins till they are plump. Add it to the blender. To this, add the chocolate which is already roughly chopped. I omitted the bread/tortilla from the recipe and didn't miss it either. But I think it would have soaked some of the heat from the chillies!
Puree it together adding chicken broth if necessary.
Pour the tomato and chocolate mixture to a thick bottomed pan. Add the chilies puree to this and simmer it on medium low heat. Once the sauce starts to come together, mix in 4-5 cups of chicken broth, salt and simmer on medium low heat. Finally season it with jaggery or brown sugar. If the sauce is thicker than heavy cream, thin it with a little broth. I added the chicken pieces and let it cook together for the last 20-25 minutes.
Serve with rice and beans.
I had the added incentive of making this great dish because a friend (N.A.) gifted me some authentic Peruvian chocolate. Thanks N, next time you are in town, we have to make this together!
Previous anniversary dinners:
Poached Seabass an Quinoa Pilaf