Frozen Overs – Smoky Almond Mole (with Chicken or Without)

27 May

This rich, flavorful recipe originated from Cooking Light (you can find the original recipe for Smokey Turkey Almond Mole at myrecipes.com).  I have adjusted it in several ways.  First, I use dried ancho chilies in place of the anaheim.  This is primarily because I stock ancho chilies in my pantry anyway, but there are some other good reasons I like them.  Anchos are a bit sweeter and typically a bit hotter than anaheim chilies.  Anaheims can range between 500-2,500 Scoville units, whereas anchos tend to stay reliably between 1,000 and 2,000, so I know what I’m getting.  Because I use a sweeter pepper and because I’m not much of a fan of adding sugar to things, I significantly reduce the sugar content in the recipe as well.  The first time I made this, I felt it was too sweet and not hot enough.  At the time, my brother-in-law was living with us and he liked it that way.  (Rude comment about brother-in-law’s palate deleted.)

A note on the heat level:  this dish is warm, not hot.  The chilies are so rich and flavorful that when you take a bite of this, you keep waiting for the afterburn and it never comes.  The heat you feel when you first taste it is exactly what you get.  It doesn’t sneak up on you.  If you are worried about the heat, leave out the chipotle pepper entirely.  Once you have completely finished the dish, you can add a bit of pureed chipotle or even just a little bit of the adobo sauce from the can, to suit your palate.

Finally, I never bother making something like this in a small batch.  If I have to pull out the food processor and make even a small mess, I’m going to make sure I have a full pot of sauce going and I will freeze some for another use.  Typically, I freeze some of this without any additions for use as a marinade/slop for grilling meats, or to offer as a condiment with any kind of Southwest meal.  The rest of it gets some poached chicken breast before it goes to the freezer.

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz sliced almonds, roasted in the oven and processed in a food processor fitted with the knife blade until smooth.  Don’t bother cleaning the food processor, we’re going to use it again.
  • 1/2 T. olive oil
  • 6 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded.  The Cooking Light recipe says to chop them, but you’re going to puree them in a few minutes, so don’t bother chopping them.
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.  The Cooking Light recipe says a can, but then in the instructions says ‘use 1/2’.
  • 4 1/2 cups of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes.  A big can + a  small can.
  • 1 tsp sugar.  Per my quantities, the Cooking Light recipe would tell you to add 3 Tablespoons.  I say – start with a bit and add just a bit more to taste after you puree if you think you need it.
  • 1/2 T (1 1/2 tsp) ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 6 corn tortillas, torn into small pieces.  Most grocery store tortillas are made with vegetable shortening, but double-check if you are planning to serve this as a vegetarian/vegan meal.
  • 42 oz unsalted vegetable broth or stock
  • 3 T. white wine vinegar
  • Optional: about 4 pounds (2 kg) of poached, chopped or shredded chicken breast or cooked, chopped turkey breast (or about 6 cups of cooked vegetables and beans) if you are planning to freeze this as a main dish.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add chiles and saute until softened.  Add onion and garlic and saute 4 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. 

Add the remaining ingredients except almonds and vinegar and optional additional ingredients.  Bring to a boil and simmer approximately 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture into the food processor and process in batches.  Return the puree to the pot, add the almonds and vinegar and simmer until slightly thickened.  Adjust to taste with salt, pepper (and sugar, if needed).

At this point, you can pack it up for the freezer.  If adding chicken, I allow this to cool to room temperature before packing.  I almost always save a bit of the sauce out before adding chicken so that I can use this yummy sauce for another purpose.  I have not tried this as a vegetarian meal, but I am anxious to do so.  I will probably add cooked black beans and an assortment of vegetables instead of the chicken.  I expect that would work beautifully.

Defrost it in the refrigerator overnight.  To reheat (if chicken or vegetables have been added), put it in a big pot with a little bit water (you can also do this while it is still frozen) and cook it over medium until it is hot.  While it is heating, I cook some rice and make a big salad to go with.

Note on Chipotle Peppers in Adobo SauceThese, smoky, wonderful peppers can be found in the Hispanic foods section of your local grocery store in little bitty cans.  They are hot (Scoville scale:  3,000 to 10,000), so go easy on them.  Because they are so hot, the issue of what to do with the rest of them comes up.  I can’t bear to waste the rest of the can.  I spoon them out, with a bit of their sauce, onto a parchment-covered cookie sheet (don’t use foil) and pop the tray in the freezer for a few hours.  When they are hard, I put them into a freezer bag and put them back in the freezer.  Then when I need one, I have one.

Husband’s Note on Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce:  No reason to leave these little beauties cooling their heels in the freezer waiting for some recipe to call for them.  Add them, chopped up, to scrambled eggs or omelettes, to canned soup, to macaroni and cheese, to chilis and other dishes like the one above, which clearly do not have enough heat to satisfy.

Reduced Quantities of This Version:

 

  • 2 oz sliced almonds, roasted in the oven and processed in a food processor fitted with the knife blade until smooth.  Don’t bother cleaning the food processor, we’re going to use it again.
  • 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 dried ancho chilies, stemmed and seeded.  The Cooking Light recipe says to chop them, but you’re going to puree them in a few minutes, so don’t bother chopping them.
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 ea. chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.  Use more for hotter, but it’s easier to add it later than take it out once it’s in. 
  • 1 1/2 cups of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes. (14 1/2 oz can).
  • 1/4 tsp sugar.  Drastically reduced from original recipe.
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 corn tortillas, torn into small pieces.
  • One 14 1/2 oz can unsalted vegetable broth or stock, or scant 2 cups if you have your own
  • 1 T. white wine vinegar
  • Optional: about 1 1/4 pounds (.75 kg) of poached, chopped or shredded chicken breast or cooked, chopped turkey breast (or about 2 cups of cooked vegetables and beans) if you are planning to freeze this as a main dish.

4 Responses to “Frozen Overs – Smoky Almond Mole (with Chicken or Without)”

  1. cgregory May 27, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    This sounds divine. I’ve never attempted mole, but your breezy instructions give me the courage to give it a try. Thank you.

    • Mrs. U. May 27, 2012 at 11:00 am #

      I’m so glad you are going to give it a try! I was lamenting my lack of beautiful photography for the blog, but my intent was to have recipes that feel accessible. I will add a reduced quantity recipe at the bottom, as this does make a huge amount.

      • cgregory May 27, 2012 at 11:13 am #

        Really, it *is accessible. I loved when you said to not both chopping the chilis, as you will process them anyway. That kind of advice is golden. Mmm: mole!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Weekly Plan – 28 May 2012 « Planned Overs - May 27, 2012

    […] week, I have some old favorites on the menu.  There is the Smoky Almond Mole that I published earlier today, my husband’s favorite Eggplant Parmesan (destined for a […]

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