Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Holy Mole Sauce ~ Oaxaca Style with Chicken and Yellow Rice Wrap

The menu for tonight, Chicken and Yellow Rice Wraps is quite an ambitious one and not for someone who doesn't have the time on a weeknight. It would be a great weekend menu for those of you who fit this bill. But, please make sure to give this one a try. It is well worth it and your whole family will really enjoy it a lot. Also worth noting, today's menu allows for a snack later in the evening and I have also included a recipe for Cantaloupe Granita.
There are really four steps to making this dish besides roasting chicken breasts but things can cook simultaneously. The sauce can be started and then while it is cooking the chiles can be roasting in the oven and the Yellow Rice with Cilantro can be cooking. I like to keep cooked chicken breast in my freezer for a quick meal. I just roast chicken breast on the bone with salt and pepper and a touch of olive oil in a 400' oven for about 30 minutes or until done. When they are cool enough to handle, I peel off the skin and remove the chicken from the bone. I store enough for a meal in a zip top freezer bag. When these ingredients are finished it's just a matter of putting them all together to make the wrap.

Holy Mole Sauce ~ Oaxaca Style

Unique and versatile, this mild mole is perfect for any dish
with chicken, beef or pork. My interpretation of a true Mexican mole,
this mole has a depth of flavor that is
wonderfully rich and complex but it cooks in about two hours.
Though the list of ingredients seems daunting the effort is really minimal
and the results are well worth it!
The recipe can be halved but if it is too much try freezing it
in one cup portions for easy use later.


2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 large red onion, diced
3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
6 large garlic cloves, minced
5 ancho chiles, rehydrated in 2 cups water + 1 cup cooking liquid
3 - 14 ounce cans of low sodium beef stock
1 - 12 ounce can of low sodium chicken stock
1 - 28 ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes
3 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cumin
1 1/2 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. allspice
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup packed, rough chopped fresh cilantro (stems and leaves)
1 Tbsp. Mesquite liquid smoke
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. molasses
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup raisins
1 lime, zest and juice
1/4 cup walnuts, rough chopped
1 cup crushed, yellow corn tortilla chips
salt to taste

It is definitely helpful and makes things go a lot quicker if all of the ingredients and a set of measuring spoons and a measuring cup are at hand before beginning this sauce. It is also important not to add too much salt during the cooking process as the mole reduces in volume and it could become over seasoned and too salty. It is best to add the salt during the final step of cooking as described below.

To rehydrate the ancho chile peppers, first remove the stems and seeds from the dried chiles. Place the chiles in a small sauce pot and add the 2 cups of water. Cook over high heat, bringing it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium so the chiles will cook at a hard simmer. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the ancho chiles are tender. Remove from heat, set chiles aside and strain liquid reserving one cup.

Preheat a large, heavy bottom or cast iron pot and saute the red onion, jalapeno peppers and garlic in the canola oil on medium high until the onions become translucent, seasoning with a little salt. Add all of the ingredients on list beginning with rehydrated ancho chiles, the liquids and so on. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, partially cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours, stirring frequently as the ingredients tend to settle to the bottom at first.

The mole will become thickened. When done, remove from heat and carefully puree with a stick or immersion blender. The consistency will still be slightly lumpy. But don't worry if you don't have an immersion blender. Just go to the next step. Carefully ladle the mole into a blender, only filling the blender container half way at most. The mole is extremely hot and will produce a lot of steam in the blender. Remove the small insert from the blender cover and place a clean kitchen towel over the small opening in the cover. This will let the steam escape and the kitchen towel will protect you from any splashes. Begin on low and liquefy. Switch to high and continue to liquefy until smooth and silky looking. Keep working in small batches, pouring each completed batch of the mole sauce into another clean pot.

Taste for seasoning and add salt as desired. Simmer on low heat, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until the mole is thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon well. The mole will be a rich and silky, medium to dark brown color.

Yields about 12 cups of sauce.
1/2 cup serving = 90 calories, 1 carbohydrate exchange, 1 fat exchange.

Roasted Chile Peppers

Because my family has a difference of opinion about chiles and their heat, I like to roast several chiles and slice them into thin strips to add as desired rather than cook them directly in the mole sauce. Here's what I do:

5 large Pablano peppers (mild, spicy sweet heat)
4 Anaheim chile peppers (mild to medium heat)
1 Jalapeno peppers (medium to high heat)
2 Tbsp. canola oil

Preheat oven to 425'.
Place chiles on cookie sheet and toss with canola oil. Roast for about 25 minutes or until the chiles are charred and blistered, turning once during cooking. Remove to heat proof bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for about 10 minutes and let peppers steam so the skins become loosened.

When peppers are cool enough to handle, carefully remove the skin then split peppers open and scrape out seeds and stem with the back of a knife. Slice into 1/4" wide strips. Place in a bowl and toss the chiles gently to mix them together.

This blend of peppers is balanced nicely with mild, medium and a little high heat. But if you really like the chile heat feel free to use any combination of hot chile peppers you and your family like. Keep in mind that the heat in a chile is found in the seeds and ribs on the inside.

Tip...when handling hot chile peppers wear latex gloves if you have them. If you don't have any handy just make sure not to touch your face, etc. Chile peppers contain "Capsaicin", an irritant found in the ribs and seeds of the peppers, which causes a burning sensation that can be severe. To remove the capsaicin from your hands try rubbing your hands with milk before washing them with soap and water. Have the milk at the ready before you begin working with the chile peppers to avoid touching anything.

Yellow Rice with Cilantro

A simple staple for the traditional Mexican meal,
this rice is an accompaniment that is not highly seasoned so the main dish will stand out.


2 Tbsp. canola oil
1 tsp. annato seeds (also called achiote)
1 cup rice
2 cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Place a medium sized sauce pan on low heat and add canola oil and annato seeds. The seeds will quickly turn the oil a deep, rich orange color as it heats. Remove from heat as soon as the color changes and using a slotted spoon scoop out seeds and discard them. The seeds are the secret to yellow rices color but do not add any flavor.

Place back on medium heat and add the rice. Gently stir with a fork to coat each grain with the oil. Add the chicken stock and turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let sit uncovered, for about 5 minutes. Gently stir in the cilantro with a fork and fluff the rice.

Yields 4 cups.
1/3 cup serving = 80 calories, 1 carbohydrate exchange

Chicken and Yellow Rice Wrap

This recipe is written per serving so just make as many as you need to feed your family. A filling and very authentic tasting Mexican style wrap, this will be
enjoyed by the entire family.


2 1/2 ounces cooked and shredded chicken breast
1/2 cup mole sauce
1/3 cup yellow rice with cilantro
1 - 6" flour tortilla
1 tsp. cilantro leaves or to taste
1 Tbsp. Queso Fresco or cheddar cheese
few roasted chile peppers
l 1/2 cups lettuce, shredded
1/2 cup tomato, diced
lime wedge

Preheat oven to 350'
Prepare mole sauce, roasted chile peppers and yellow rice with cilantro per recipes.

Mix the shredded chicken with 2 tablespoons of the mole sauce to moisten and set aside.
Wrap tortilla in a damp paper towel and microwave for a few seconds to soften. Layer the yellow rice and chicken mixture in the bottom third of the tortilla and roll to close.

Top with the rest of the mole sauce and bake for about 15 minutes or so, until wrap is hot. Remove to plate and sprinkle with Queso Fresco cheese, roasted chiles and fresh cilantro. Serve with lettuce and tomato on the side and lime wedge.
Yeilds 1 serving = 435 calories, 3 carbohydrate exchanges, 3 protein exchanges, 1 fat exchange.
Tip...I will pass along some information that a nutritionist told me about having snacks. The most important part is to wait long enough after you have eaten your meal. She advised me that I should wait at least two hours after I had a meal to enjoy a snack. The snack should also be either a free food (we'll talk about that later) or no more than 1 carbohydrate exchange. So, I know the Cantaloupe Granita is a wonderful, sweet treat but it will have to wait until later this evening to enjoy.

Cantaloupe Granita

A refreshing and enjoyable snack for a warm summers evening. If you prefer, honeydew melon can be substituted in place of the cantaloupe.


2 cups cantaloupe, cut into chunks
2 Tbsp. Splenda (depending on sweetness of melon)
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 Tbsp. water

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor or a blender. Whiz until smooth. If more water is needed add by teaspoonful. Pour into a freezer safe dish and freeze uncovered. Using a fork like a rake, scrape the granita every half hour until frozen. This process will keep the granita from freezing into a solid block and make the texture like shaved ice.

Yields 2 servings = 60 calories, 1 carbohydrate exchange

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