Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cook the Books: Easiest Ever Chicken Mole Enchiladas


Like water for chocolate is part love story, part fantasy and a whole lot of food. It is a tale of true love, family traditions and family secrets. Tita and Pedro are madly in love, but they are forbidden to marry because Tita is bound by family tradition, as the youngest child, to take care of her mother. Tita's mother is a force to be reckoned with and forbids Tita to marry Pedro. In an act of desperation, and also to remain close to Tita, Pedro asks for the hand of her oldest sister. Heartbroken, Tita stands by as the love of her life marries her sister.

Tita, who was born into the kitchen, puts all of her love and emotions into her food, preparing elaborate meals. Her food is magical, illicting powerful emotions to those who eat her meals.

A tragic love story with magical food, Like Water For Chocolate, was a great read.

Inspired to make a recipe containing chocolate, I had my heart set on making Mole. I found the perfect recipe while watching the new Food Network show, Mexican Made Easy with Marcela Valladolid. Her Easiest Ever Chicken Mole Enchiladas looked amazing and take only one hour. I was instantly sold on making this recipe.

Marcela's Mole is about as quick and simple as they come. The sauce begins with 5 dried ancho chiles which are reconstituted in hot water for 15 minutes. While the chiles are reconstituting, grill two corn tortillas until crisp and crumble into pieces. In a saute pan, saute one and a half onions (chopped) and 2 cloves of garlic (minced) until translucent. Transfer seeded chiles, crisp corn tortillas, onions, garlic, one tablespoon of sugar, 3 tablespoons smooth peanut butter, 1-3/4 cups chicken broth, and one teaspoon oregano to a blender and blend until smooth. Add sauce back to saute pan and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in 5.5 ounces of Mexican chocolate (Ibarra preferred) and season with salt and pepper. (Here is a picture of the Ibarra Mexican chocolate. I was expecting it to be bittersweet, but you can actually see how crystallized it is with sugar. It has a cinnamony bite and is delicious all on it's own).


The enchiladas go together pretty easily. Two chicken breasts are coated in oil, salt and pepper and baked for approximately 20 minutes. When removed from the oven, shred the chicken with two forks.

Marcela suggests dipping the corn tortillas in hot oil to soften them and make them pliable. Once dipped in the oil, she dips them into the mole sauce, fills them with 1/3 cup shredded chicken and rolls them up. Extra mole is poured over the enchildas and they are topped with Queso Fresco and Mexican crema.


Disclaimer: I'm sure that this is probably the easiest mole ever, but it was still messy and quite time-consuming. I'm talking lots of pots and pans, blenders and so on. Saying that, as far as moles go, it was really easy, quick and a lot less ingredients than a traditional mole.

Notes/Results: I enjoyed making this recipe. I love the chance to cook with new ingredients and explore in the kitchen. The Mexican chocolate is literally delicious and I can see myself using it for many other recipes. The recipe was well-written and went together perfectly. The mole had a very complex flavor, a little spicy, a little sweet, a little nutty. The smell of the mole reminded me of my favorite authentic Mexican restaurant. The recipe was good, just not my personal favorite. I'm glad I had the chance to try it, but I still prefer my enchiladas with red sauce.

Queso Fresco is also my Cheese of the Month. I went to a special Mexican grocer in Lexington looking for Queso Fresco(fresh cheese) and I was very happy to find it. It has a crumbly texture and a mild flavor which paired nicely with these enchiladas. True Queso Fresco will become soft when warmed, but does not melt. It can be used as you would use any other mild crumbly cheese, but mostly is served as a topping or a garnish. Marcela suggests using Feta cheese in place of Queso Fresco. The two cheeses do have the same texture, but Feta is full of flavor whereas Queso Fresco is really mild. I'm anxious to use the Queso Fresco in a simple recipe where it can really shine as part of the meal.

This is my submission for this round of Cook the Books, hosted by Rachel of The Crispy Cook, Johanna of Food Junkie Not Junk Food, and Deb at Kahakai Kitchen.

25 comments:

  1. I have never been brave enough to try mole sauce, but I really need to get over that! I don't think I knew Like Water for Chocolate was a book...I think I saw the movie years ago. Thanks for the review!

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  2. Great post! I am glad you liked the book! I have only eaten mole--never tried making it before. It looks delicious. I am a big fan of Queso Fresco--we have a Latin mercantile in town that carries it and other cheeses. I love it on top of soups, black beans, etc. ;-)

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  3. I have never tried mole, but often wanted to. ONe of these days I will give it a try. Loved your post cooking and reading are two of the things I love most:) I read a book called Pomegranate Soup last year with my bookclub and I made the soup (with pomegranate juice and small meatballs in it) strange but rather tasty!

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  4. Holy Mole! (what, ya'll wuz all thinking that pun)

    I've always wanted to try a mole but haven't gotten around to it. I love enchiladas with red sauce too, so maybe I'll wait a bit;)

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  5. I loved reading Like Water For Chocolate! Kudos to you for taking the time to make mole. I should give it a go as it has my mouth watering. Yummy stuff.

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  6. I'm glad you enjoyed the book and joined us this month at Cook the Books. Bravo for the Mole~!

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  7. Oh wow, this looks fantastic, Kim! I've never made my own mole before, and this looks so yummy!

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  8. wow looks amazing your such a great cook, let me know if you would ever like to guest post on chow and chatter please!!
    love Rebecca
    rebeccasubbiah at yahoo dot com

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  9. Thank you for the book recommendation. I need to finally read something that's not about teenage vampires. The enchiladas look great!

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  10. Delicious choice! Between you and Joanne I have a serious craving for mole chicken. :)

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  11. I now am dying for mole chicken. I really appreciated the book review. You did a great job with it. Your photos are terrific and really captured the color of the mole.

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  12. That is one of my favorite movies and I made the mistake of watching the movie first. One of these days I'll get around to reading the book...
    Your chicken mole looks delicious!

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  13. I've never made a mole, its something i need to try. I love mexican food.
    My new address is the same as the old one: http://www.donutstodelirium.com Make sure to check it out and tell me what you think, plus theres a giveaway :)
    *kisses* HH

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  14. Kim, I've never made Mole and now I'm wondering why. Mexican food is one of our favorites. I loved how you tied in the story of Like Water for Chocolate into the story.
    Sam

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  15. I looved that book! I've always wanted to recreate that wedding cake. The one with the eggs, eggs, and more eggs!

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  16. I love romance books and especially ones that are tied in with food!! Looks like you did a really swell job with these, however I am such a die-hard white sauce enchilada fan, I am not sure if I could make the switch :-)

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  17. Great review, I loved that book. Many latin writer incorporate food into their stories. I'll have to see how this easy mole stackse up to my favorite.
    Mimi

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  18. I love mole and have always wanted to make it. But like you said, it's time consuming and uses a lot of dishes. It also often has a huge list of ingredients. This one doesn't look so lengthy. I'll have to give it a try. Very soon!

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  19. I love queso fresco!!! We use it in a lot of our Colombian dishes. That mole sauce looks delicious, Kim!

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  20. Great job Kim. I still haven't quite finished the book as of yet, so I won't be posting this round. You and I must be two kindred spirits. I thought I was the only one sitting in front of the tv for FN's new programs on Sat & Sun. Great review of the mole sauce.

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  21. I never had a mole that I liked - which is so strange because I love everything that goes into them and I love Mexican food. I keep trying them hoping I will find one I like. The book sounds good - I'll have to pick up a copy.

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  22. You are posting faster than I can keep up with! The mole sauce sounds delicious (even if it wasn't your favorite)...that Mexican chocolate must have been awesome. I've only had mole once that I truly loved in a restaurant in Boston. One of these days I will try to recreate it...

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  23. You're so brave to try Mole! I'm way too scared of Mole and Flan... and Yeast, oh my! It looks delicious though, you did a great job!

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  24. Mole enchiladas with queso fresco and cream... This is what heaven must look like. Making mole is a big accomplishment, even if it is the "easy" version. Congratulations! Those enchiladas look amazing.

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  25. wow, delicous food
    i'm interested to try it

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