Nobody Does It Better (chicken mole)

Listen, just accept now that this post is going to be a stream of consciousness. For some reason, I’ve taken to using song titles for a lot of my post titles. Because of today’s recipe, I’ve got spies on the mind. Nobody Does It Better is a favourite James Bond theme song of mine. This in spite of the time when I exclaimed that the line “the spy who loved me” would make it an excellent theme song for that particular film and my ex-boyfriend never stopped laughing at me.

I could also be talking about the mole, the animal, because a reference just popped up on Twitter to a failed attempt to sell mole repellent in Ireland. Apparently, moles have never existed in Ireland, as they didn’t make it that far when the sea levels rose after the last ice age. That story is from 2008 (although B&Q were still flogging them by 2014) and the last ice age was 7,000 years ago, but if I don’t talk about moles today, I’m going to start on about the need to Repeal the 8th amendment. There are 7 weeks to go before the abortion referendum, so I’ll try to keep the lid on my stress levels until then. But really, if you are in doubt, remember you are a woman, you love a woman or you came from a woman. Let’s all stand in awe of all mná and get this damn amendment out of the way of making Ireland a better place.

See what I mean? Somehow, I got from James Bond to a woman’s right to choose, which is actually a perfectly rational stream of thought. Mole in this case is actually an old Spanish word for mix and traditionally is a sauce containing a fruit, chilli pepper, a nut and spices like black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, and chocolate. My recipe (which comes from a random magazine page I found in a cookbook) has all of the above bar nuts. I questioned the addition of fruit but remembered Brian O Driscoll’s line that “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad”.

Chicken Mole

Ingredients

For the chilli paste (makes about 100ml):

1 tbsp olive oil

¼ onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 chillies, finely chopped

For the rest of the dish:

Olive or coconut oil

2-4 chicken breasts

1 onion, finely chopped

Any other veg you want to add (courgette and aubergine work well)

½-1 tbsp chilli paste

1 tsp ground cumin

½ tsp cinnamon

400g tin tomatoes

2 x 400g kidney beans, drained and rinsed

400ml chicken stock

250g rice, rinsed

A few handfuls of spinach (optional)

25g dark chocolate (approx. 70% cocoa)

Method

Make the chilli paste by heating the oil in a small frying pan over a low-medium heat. Fry the onion until soft, then add the garlic and chilli and fry for 2-3 minutes more, to soften. Season with salt to taste, then allow to cool completely. When cool, blitz to a smooth paste (adding water if you want to stretch it), then set aside.

Rest of the recipe: Grill the chicken breasts for 5 minutes on each side.

In a large pan, heat the oil, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes.

Mix in the other vegetables.

When the chicken is no longer pink, add it to the pan.

Stir in the chilli paste and spices, cook for 1 minute, and then add the tomatoes, kidney beans, stock and rice.

Bring it to the boil and then simmer, covered for 30 minutes, until the rice is tender.

Remove the chicken to a board, while continuing to cook the sauce (uncovered, to reduce). If you are using spinach, now is the time to add it.

Shred the chicken breasts and then stir back into the sauce with the chocolate and any seasoning you want to add.

The recipe originally wanted me to make the rice separately, so I guess you can do that if you don’t want your rice infused in delicious mole sauce. Shrug.

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