Chicken en Mole Poblano

MoleWhen I was growing up in Texas, many years ago, my favorite cuisine was Tex-Mex, and we had many different Tex-Mex restaurants to choose from.  One of the more popular venues was El Chico, a family-owned establishment that started in Dallas in 1940 and has since expanded to almost 100 restaurants across the country, and even to Cairo, Riyadh, and Dubai.  Mariano Martinez, the owner of Mariano’s Mexican Cuisine in Dallas and Arlington, learned Mexican cooking from his grandmother, Gabina Cueller Gamez, one of El Chico’s founders. According to the January 1993 issue of Texas Highways magazine:

Mariano’s favorite family Christmas dish is Chicken en Mole Poblano, a variation of the national dish of Mexico. Chocolate provides the special ingredient of the spicy sauce. Mole recipes abound, but Mariano’s wife, Wanda, likes to flavor her sauce with chili powder, dried red pepper, and sesame seeds. The Martinezes serve the dish with rice, homemade pork tamales, picadillo, flour tortillas, and a salad of tossed greens and tomatoes. Fruitcake and buñuelos complete the feast.

8 to 12 chicken pieces
Vegetable oil
2 cups pear-shaped tomatoes
¾ cup chopped green or red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sesame seeds
1½ tsp. chili powder
1½ tbsp. light Karo syrup
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup raisins
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
A pinch of ground cloves
1 bay leaf

Heat a shallow layer of oil in a very large skillet, or use two skillets.  Brown chicken in oil on both sides.  Then add water to cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.  While chicken is cooking, make the sauce by placing all remaining ingredients (except bay leaf) in a blender and processing until smooth.  When chicken is done, drain broth and add 1½ cups of broth to sauce.  Blend over chicken in skillet, add bay leaf, and cook on low heat for 35 more minutes.  Serve with rice.

8 Servings


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