As you have been reading this week, our Mexican dinner for our friends was a success. This dish would seem to be a simple version of a mole sauce. A traditional mole takes many hours and has lots of ingredients. This was way easier. One of the approaches that I have learned to making main courses have greater complexity is to spice it and then finish it off with a sauce. The chicken was marinated in oil and spices, grilled, finished in the oven then thrown into a pan with the sauce to complete. This might sound like a lot of work but it really wasn’t. While the chicken cooks, prepare your sauce. That’s it.
10 pieces of chicken quarters
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon dried, crumbled Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
5 dried chiles, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and drained
One 3.2-ounce chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
Directions (adapted from Marcela Valladolid):
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Rinse the chicken and pat dry. In a medium bowl, mix the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, cinnamon, salt, pepper and oil. Stir to combine.
Rub the spice mixture all over. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and overnight if you have time.
Remove from fridge and bring back to room temperature. Place on your outdoor grill and cook 2 minutes on each side on medium high.
Transfer to a 325 degree oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and chicken broth and cook over medium-high heat until the flavors incorporate, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool slightly. Transfer the mixture to your Cuisinart with the soaked pasilla chiles and puree until smooth. Return to the same saucepan and add the chopped chocolate, stirring over medium heat until fully melted, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Transfer the chicken to the pan and spoon the sauce over the chicken for a couple of minutes. Move the chicken to a platter and put the extra sauce in a bowl enabling your guests to add more sauce. Enjoy!