Chicken With Almond-Hazelnut Mole

“Mole is one of my favorite sauces to prepare,” says James Muir, chef of Órale Mexican Kitchen in Jersey City. “Something about toasting and roasting all the ingredients separately relaxes me. You have to nurse this delicious sauce, but once you get into the rhythm, time flies.”

“This recipe will make more mole than you need for this dish. But don’t worry, it freezes well, and will be ready next time you need it.”

Yield: 6 qts

Ingredients
10 oz Ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded, do not toast
5 oz Pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded, do not toast
2 large Garlic cloves, peeled
12 oz White onion, diced
8 oz Vegetable oil (and a large, additional quantity for deep frying)
8 oz Whole almonds
8 oz Hazelnuts
3 oz Pine nuts
2 oz Pecans
1.5 oz Sesame seeds, unhulled
4 oz Raisins
2 oz Plantains, raw
5 oz Prunes, pitted
4 oz Bread
1 oz Dried white tortillas
5 qts Chicken stock
4 oz Tomatoes, boiled and peeled
0.2 oz Black pepper, toasted and cracked
0.5 oz Mexican cinnamon sticks
8 oz Piloncillo, grated
2 oz Mexican chocolate, grated
1 oz Kosher salt

Method:

For the Mole Sauce
1. Place the cleaned chiles in a pot of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes. Then remove the pot from the fire and let soak 10 minutes. Remove the chiles from the water.
2. In a heavy bottomed pan, sauté the onion and whole garlic cloves, unsliced, until the onion is translucent.
3. In a blender, purée the chiles, cooked onion and garlic, and 6 quarts of chicken stock until smooth, then strain through a small-hole china cap.
4. Heat all 8 ounces of oil and fry the chile purée, scraping the bottom often. Cook until the chile loses its raw flavor, about 30 minutes.
5. Fill a deep fryer with sufficient oil and heat to 350 degrees. If you don’t have a deep fryer, use a deep, heavy-bottomed pot and heat to same temperature.
6. Fry each of the following SEPARATELY in the hot oil: almonds, hazelnuts, pine nuts, pecans, raisins, plantains, prunes, bread and tortillas. Remove each when it turns golden brown. Don’t overfry or the ingredient will quickly burn. The frying time for each ingredient will vary, so watch them closely. The prunes may not actually brown. Don’t overcook them.
7. Lightly toast the sesame seeds.
8. Purée all the ingredients in steps 6 and 7 in the blender with the remaining 4 quarts of chicken stock. Then strain through the small-hole china cap.
9. Add the nut purée to the chile purée and cook until the sauce loses its raw nut flavor. About 2 hours.
10. Purée the tomatoes and spices in the blender and add to the sauce. Continue to cook until the sauce has the desired thickness, an even shine, and a cooked flavor.
11. Add the grated chocolate and piloncillo and continue to cook for 10 minutes, then season with salt.

For the chicken:

1. Truss a 3.5 lb organic chicken and season with salt and pepper.
2. Roast at 425F for the first 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 375F and roast for 30 to 40 minutes more.
3. Serve the sliced chicken with the almond-hazelnut mole.

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