I love trying new recipes and am intrigued by “twists” on classic dishes. For this reason, I wanted to try out this recipe for Spicy Grilled Chicken with Creamy Pumpkin Mole Sauce. Mole (pronounced mō-lā) is a type of sauce (or dish based on these sauces) that uses chili peppers as the common ingredient. Many moles are made up of over 20 ingredients. This simplified mole recipe is from award-winning chef Rick Bayless, who specializes in modern interpretations of traditional Mexican cuisine.
I really liked this mole. The pumpkin adds texture and creaminess without adding “pumpkin” flavor. I didn’t think it was that spicy, either, so don’t be afraid to try the recipe if you prefer mild foods (just use less chipotle chile). I used 1 large chipotle chile to make the mole and 2 chipotle chiles to make the glaze. Next time I’d use 2 large chiptotles for the mole sauce. I served the dish with a mixture of steamed rice and corn. Yumm!
You could also turn this dish into really good enchiladas: corn tortillas, shredded chicken, jack cheese and the pumpkin mole sauce (instead of enchilada sauce).
Spicy Grilled Chicken with Creamy Pumpkin Mole Sauce
– recipe by Rick Bayless, Bon Appétit Magazine
Yield: Makes 8 servings
2 dried ancho chiles,* stemmed, seeded, torn into large pieces
4 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 3-inch-diameter slice white onion (1/2 inch thick), separated into rings
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 5x3x1/2-inch-thick slice country white bread, crust trimmed
3/4 cup drained canned diced tomatoes
3 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
4 canned chipotle chiles*
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
8 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
Fresh cilantro sprigs
Heat heavy large pot over medium heat. Add chile pieces; toast until aromatic and lighter in color around edges, pressing with potato masher or back of fork and turning pieces, about 2 minutes. Set aside one 2-inch piece of chile for garnish; transfer remaining pieces to medium bowl. Cover chiles in bowl with hot water; soak until soft, about 30 minutes.
In same large pot, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add onion rings and garlic. Sauté until brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to processor, leaving oil in pot. Add bread slice to pot; cook until golden, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer bread to processor (reserve pot). Add tomatoes to processor. Puree mixture until smooth. Transfer tomato puree to small bowl (do not clean processor).
Drain ancho chiles and place in processor. Add 1/2 cup broth and 2 chipotle chiles. Puree until smooth.
Add 1 tablespoon oil to reserved pot. Heat over medium-high heat. Add ancho chile puree; cook until puree thickens and darkens, stirring often, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add tomato puree. Simmer until thick, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Whisk in pumpkin and 3 cups broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until mole thickens and reduces to 3 1/3 cups, about 30 minutes. Whisk in cream and sugar. Season to taste with salt.
Puree 2 tablespoons oil and 2 chipotle chiles in small processor or force through sieve to make thick glaze. Transfer to bowl. (Mole and glaze can be made 3 days ahead. Cover separately and chill.)
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Rewarm mole. Spread chipotle glaze thinly over both sides of chicken breasts. Sprinkle chicken generously with salt. Grill until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon mole over each. Crumble reserved ancho chile piece; sprinkle over chicken. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and lime.
*Dried ancho chiles and chipotle chiles canned in a spicy tomato sauce, sometimes called adobo, are available at Latin American markets, specialty foods stores, and some supermarkets.
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