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Pumpkin Seed Mole with Chicken

Pumpkin Seed Mole with Chicken


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Ingredients

  • 1 quart low-sodium, gluten-free chicken broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 chicken thighs, bone-in, skinless
  • 3 chicken breasts, skinless, bone-in or boneless
  • 1 1/2 Pound fresh tomatillos (about 20), papery husks removed and rinsed clean
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded
  • 1/2 onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds, more for garnish
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil

Directions

Combine chicken stock and water in a pot large enough to hold all the chicken. Add bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Sprinkle all chicken pieces with salt and pepper and add to simmering water. Bring the liquid back up to a light simmer, stir and cover pot. Continue simmering for about 5 minutes, then turn off heat and let chicken finish cooking in hot liquid, covered, about 15 minutes. Check that chicken is cooked completely before transferring to a platter while you make the sauce. Reserve the cooking liquid.

Add the tomatillos to the cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Cook for about 8 minutes or until tomatillos turn a darker shade of green. Transfer tomatillos to a blender, reserving cooking liquid. Blend tomatillos with cilantro, jalapeño, onion, garlic, and pumpkin seeds until smooth. Work in batches if necessary. Thin with cooking liquid if desired.

Heat vegetable oil over medium heat in a pot large enough to hold the mole and the chicken pieces together. When oil is hot, add tomatillo-pumpkin seed sauce. Bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper, and jalapeño. When ready to serve, add chicken pieces to the sauce and reheat. Serve immediately, spooning sauce over chicken. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and chopped cilantro.

Nutritional Facts

Servings6

Calories Per Serving661

Folate equivalent (total)30µg7%

Riboflavin (B2)0.5mg30.4%


Chicken Breasts with Green Pumpkin Seed Mole

Inspiration : My favorite cookbook is Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless. Everything that I’ve ever made with his name on it has been gold. B and I wanted to spend a whole Saturday evening making a more elaborate Mexican meal, so we knew right where to turn.

What we Loved : I don’t think that I can adequately describe how much we loved this recipe. It was one of those meals that we knew was special after taking just one bite. The chicken breasts were simply sauteed, and they really paired perfectly with the amazing mole sauce. The dominant flavor of the sauce was the nutty pumpkin seed flavor, but then there were so many other elements thrown in there, too. Fresh cilantro, hot peppers, sweet tomatillos, and the wonderful spices of cinnamon and cloves. The consistency of the sauce was creamy and buttery from the pumpkin seeds, almost reminding me of something like a pumpkin seed butter. Like every other Rick Bayless recipe that I’ve tried, this was really just perfect.

Helpful Hints : I only realized after I had already made my sauce that the directions stated to stem and seed the jalapeno peppers. I just threw the entire peppers right into the food processor. Oops. I was worried that I had ruined the sauce by turning it into something unbearably hot, but in the end it was just fine and had a perfect amount of spice. That being said, I don’t know what the sauce tastes like with seeded peppers, so I suppose whether you seed your peppers or not should depend on your preference for how spicy you’d like the sauce to be.

Chicken with Green Pumpkin Seed Mole
Source: Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless

I made a lot of adjustments to the recipe to suit my preferences. Here’s the recipe as I made it.

For the Chicken
2 chicken breasts, butterflied and cut in half
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

For the Mole
1 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups chicken broth
12 oz tomatillos, husked and washed (about 8 large)
2 jalapenos, stemmed and seeded
1 onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 handful fresh cilantro
1/8 teaspoon cumin seeds
6 black peppercorns
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground cinnamon

For Garnish
pumpkin seeds
cilantro

1. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a dry pan until browned. Add the pumpkin seeds to a mini food processor, and grind to a fine powder. Be careful not to process for too long, or the seeds will begin to form a paste. Mix the powder in a bowl with 1 cup of the chicken broth, and set aside.

2. Simmer the tomatillos and peppers in a pot of salted water for 10-12 minutes. Drain.

3. Place the cumin, peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon in a mini food processor or spice grinder, and process to a fine powder.

4. Add the tomatillos, peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro, and spice mixture to a large food processor, and process until smooth.

5. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the pumpkin seed mixture to the pan, and stir constantly for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is thickened.

6. Add the tomatillo mixture to the pan. Stir to incorporate, and cook for 4-5 minutes to thicken.

7. Add the remaining 1 cup of chicken broth to the pan. Stir, and simmer partially covered for 30 minutes.

8. Salt and pepper the chicken breasts. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a second saute pan, and saute the chicken until cooked through.

9. Serve the chicken with the sauce. Garnish with pumpkin seeds and cilantro.


Recipe: Pumpkin Seed Mole

This vibrant mole bursts with fresh, herby flavor and can be prepared in less than 30 minutes. Serve it with roasted chicken, sauteed shrimp or any other seafood. Swap the chicken stock for vegetable stock to make this a vegan accompaniment to your favorite vegetables.

1 cup shelled pumpkin seeds

1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

1 white onion, cut into wedges

5 tomatillos, husked and halved

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup packed coarsely chopped cilantro leaves

1 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves

Instructions: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, toast the pumpkin seeds, cumin seeds and oregano until fragrant, 3-4 minutes. Toss frequently to make sure they don&rsquot burn. Transfer the seed mixture to a spice grinder or a blender and process until finely ground.

In the same skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, tomatillos, garlic and jalapeños and cook until slightly browned, 4-5 minutes, tossing a couple of times. Place the vegetables in a blender or food processor, then add the broth, cilantro, parsley and salt, and process until pureed.

Pour the mixture back into the skillet and add the ground pumpkin seed mixture. Let simmer gently until the flavors are melded, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately with chicken, seafood or vegetables.

Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 224 calories, 10 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 54 cholesterol, 847 mg sodium, 11 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar, 25 g protein

Adapted from &ldquoQuick & Easy Mexican Cooking&ldquo by Cecilia Hae Jin Lee


Chicken in Easy Green Pumpkin Seed Sauce

Poaching the chicken. If the chicken breast halves still have their wings attached, cut the final two joints off the wings (this makes for a nicer-looking presentation). Into a large (6- to 8-quart) pot, measure 10 cups of water. Add half of the onion, half of the garlic, the marjoram, thyme, bay and 1 ½ teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, then add the chicken breasts and simmer, uncovered, over medium heat for 10 minutes. Cover the pot and let stand off the heat for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot. Strain the broth and skim off any fat that rises to the top.

The sauce. In a heavy medium-size (4-quart) pot, Dutch oven or Mexican cazuela, dry-toast the pumpkin seeds: Set the pot over medium heat, add the pumpkin seeds and, when the first one pops, stir constantly until all have popped from flat to round, about 5 minutes. Don’t let them darken past golden (usually caused by too high a heat or not enough stirring) or the sauce will be brownish and slightly bitter. Cool the pumpkin seeds, set aside 3 tablespoons for garnish and transfer the rest to a blender.

Add the remaining half of the onion and garlic to the blender along with the tomatillos, lettuce, chiles, epazote and cilantro. Pour in ­­­1 cup of the strained broth and blend to a smooth puree.

In the pumpkin seed-toasting pot, heat the oil over medium-high. When hot enough to make a drop of the puree sizzle sharply, add it all at once. Stir as the mixture darkens slightly and thickens considerably, about 10 minutes. Stir in 2 cups more of the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer about 20 minutes for the flavors to mellow and the sauce to thicken to a medium consistency (it should coat a spoon nicely).

Finishing the dish. While the sauce is simmering, steam the chayote in a vegetable steamer for 3 minutes. Then add the zucchini and steam 2 to 3 minutes more, stirring everything several times to ensure even cooking. (If you find it easier you can blanch the vegetables in salted boiling water—cook the chayote for 3 minutes, then add the zucchini for a final minute of boiling). Drain and spread out the vegetables on a plate to stop the cooking.

When the sauce has simmered 20 minutes it will likely look coarse I prefer to smooth it to a velvety texture by re-blending it in small batches (loosely covered to avoid blender explosions). Return the sauce to the pan, taste it and season with salt, usually about ¾ teaspoon. If the sauce has thickened beyond a light cream-sauce consistency, thin it with a little of the remaining broth. Slip the cooked chicken breasts into the sauce, then add the cooked vegetables. Simmer over medium heat just long enough to heat everything through (about 5 minutes), then spoon chicken, vegetables and sauce out onto a warm serving platter. Sprinkle with the reserved pumpkin seeds (you may want to roughly crush them), decorate with epazote or cilantro sprigs, and you’re ready to offer a unique experience to your guests.

Working Ahead: The chicken may be poached and the sauce made a day ahead store them separately, covered, in the refrigerator. Let the chicken warm to room temperature before heating it in the sauce. The vegetables are best cooked shortly before you serve them.


Steamed Chicken with Pumpkin Seed Mole

Nutrient-rich pumpkin seeds are an ideal thickener for this bright sauce. Extra sauce can be frozen for up to three months. If your chicken is thick, try pounding it flatter with a kitchen mallet to speed cooking. Consider serving with steamed greens. Canned tomatillos are available in the Latin section of grocers.

6 fresh or canned tomatillos, husked
1 cup (250 mL) fresh cilantro
2 inner leaves of romaine lettuce
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried oregano
1 shallot, chopped
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded and diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt, divided
2/3 cup (160 mL) shelled pumpkin seeds
1 tsp (2 mL) cumin seeds
2 cups (500 mL) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 lb (750 g) skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
4 sprigs fresh rosemary

In bowl of food processor, add tomatillos, cilantro, lettuce leaves, oregano, shallot, jalapeno or serrano pepper, garlic, lime juice, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt process until smooth.

In skillet over medium heat, toast pumpkin and cumin seeds until pumpkin seeds are golden and begin to pop, about 3 minutes, shaking pan often. Remove from stove and place seeds in bowl to cool down.

Add tomatillo mixture to skillet and cook for 3 minutes.

Grind toasted seeds in spice grinder or food processor until finely ground.

Stir broth and ground seeds into tomatillo mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, season chicken with pepper and remaining salt. Add rosemary sprigs to steamer tray and place chicken breasts directly on top of rosemary. Steam, covered, over 2 in (5 cm) of water for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Slice chicken into 1 in (2.5 cm) strips, place on serving plates, and top with pumpkin seed mole.

Each serving contains: 351 calories 48 g protein 14 g total fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat) 10 g total carbohydrates (3 g sugars, 2 g fibre) 443 mg sodium


Preparation

Preheat your broiler with a rack 6 inches below the heat source. Alternatively, you may place a metal grate directly atop a gas burner on medium-high heat. Char the tomatillos and peppers, turning occasionally, until they're partially blackened all over. This will take 12 to 15 minutes, check them halfway through.

Meanwhile, coat the bottom of a large skillet with a thin layer of oil and get it sizzling hot over medium-high heat.

Cook the salmon, skin side up, until you start to see a golden color along the bottom edge of the fillets, 3 to 4 minutes the fish should release easily from the pan. Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the skin has begun to crisp up. Remove from the pan so it doesn’t continue to cook but remains warm.

In a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, finely grind the pumpkin seeds and cumin together, then set aside.

Remove charred vegetables from the oven. When they're cool enough to handle, stem the peppers and cut out the seeds and membranes (or leave several seeds in for a spicier sauce). In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatillos and peppers with the onion, the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and 1 cup chicken stock. Stir in the ground pumpkin seeds and cumin.

In a deep skillet or large saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Add the sauce and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until it’s slightly thicker and the onion no longer tastes raw, 5 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, bring a pot of gently salted water to a boil have a sieve at the ready and set up an ice bath beside it. Cook the spinach, cilantro, parsley, and oregano for about 20 to 30 seconds, just until they turn a more vibrant green, then drain the herbs and quickly plunge into the ice bath to halt cooking. Wring herbs dry in a clean dish towel and finely chop them. In a blender, puree with ½ cup of the stock and the lime juice season with salt.

Swirl this into the pan with the pumpkin seed mole and keep warm on low heat. Cook until the flavors come together.

To serve, line bowls or a serving platter with the sauce and nestle the fillets on top. Top with cilantro, toasted pumpkin seeds and cracked black pepper.


Pumpkin Seed Mole with Chicken - Recipes

A chicken mole recipe that doesn’t intimidate.

Los Angeles’ food scene has definitely got it going on these days — from the opening of Eataly and Dominique Ansel Bakery, as well as Ansel’s first restaurant, 189, to the jaw-dropping, mind-blowing Vespertine.

Before any of them, though, there was — and still is — one of the most dynamic landscapes for Mexican cuisine in the United States. From taco stands to food trucks to mom-and-pop restaurants to celebrity chef-run fine-dining establishments, Los Angeles has a wealth of places to experience thoughtful, authentic, and cutting-edge food that takes influence and inspiration from every region in Mexico.

One couldn’t ask for a better culinary guide to all of that than Bill Esparza, a Mexican food expert who won a James Beard Award for his exhaustive and exhilarating coverage of the taco scene in Los Angeles.

His cookbook, “L.A. Mexicano: Recipes, People & Places” (Prospect Park Books, 2017), of which I received a review copy, is filled with profiles and stories of the Mexican chefs and restaurateurs who have made Los Angeles their home and their livelihood, and along the way, made the region all the more delectable.

There’s everyone from Ray Garcia, the award-winning chef of Broken Spanish, who shares his recipe for “Corn & Summer Squash Tamales” and celeb Chef Josef Centeno of Baco Mercat, who offers up his take on “Steak Fajitas” to Maria Ramos of Gish Bac, a third-generation barbacoa master form Oaxaca, whose “Enfrijoladas,” a black bean sauce, is second to none, Esparza says.

“Chicken with Pipian Rojo (Chicken with Red Pumpkin Seed Mole)” is from Ramiro Arvizu and Jaime Martin del Campo of La Casita Mexicana and Mexicano. The two dared to bring authentic Mexican cuisine to the tiny city of Bell, where residents originally were only interested in burritos, but eventually came around to embracing its regional moles and pipianes.

To entice locals with their moles, Arvizu and del Campo first served them on chips. With this pumpkin seed mole, there’s no need for such baby steps. You’ll want to dive into this spicy, earthy, and nutting tasting sauce.

Esparza calls it a gateway mole, and it is definitely less intimidating to make than many others. The list of ingredients is more concise, with most items are available at any well-stocked supermarket.

The backbone of this mole is a blend of pumpkin seeds, peanuts and sesame seeds that get blitzed with charred tomato, onion and chile peppers.

The chicken is first poached in water, which creates a pure tasting chicken stock. You’ll end up with leftover stock. Do save it to make a restorative soup later in the week. I added more chicken pieces, sliced bok choy, ginger and noodles to it for chicken udon a few nights later.

The chicken finishes cooking in the deeply flavored sauce that boasts a brick-brown color, even though the photo in the book shows a more golden brown hue.

Serve with rice and tortillas to mop up all that satisfying sauce.

It’s a taste of soulfulness from a city more known for glitz.

Chicken with Pipian Rojo (Chicken with Red Pumpkin Seed Mole)


Pumpkin seed mole (pipián verde)

I realized a few days ago that over the span of my cooking years (the last ten years or so) I’ve inadvertently drifted toward simplicity. I love vegetables, I love eggs, I love simple braises and pasta dishes. I love simple desserts that feature fruits, good dairy, or nice chocolate. I’d generally choose a simple stew and a hand-torn hunk of bread over a meticulously-plated meal of dozens of components, and if a meal is going to take hours to prepare I’d rather it be because it’s braising or roasting away in the oven while I’m comfortably enjoying happy hour or socializing or reading a book or otherwise enjoying myself outside of the kitchen. I can’t imagine my life without the significant time I invest in food – writing, talking, planning, shopping, preparing – but over the years my feeling about cooking and food seem to have clarified around trying to appreciate and focus on the simple things. The beauty of a poached egg broken open on a pile of perfectly cooked greens the brightening power of a huge handful of fresh herbs the allure of caramelized edges the power of a bit of acid, fat, or salt in transforming something humble into something revelatory. Much of the time, the joy of cooking is about finding opportunities to turn something simple into something really spectacular without adding complicated technique, expense, or effort-intensive time (and that’s exactly what I love to share with students when I teach).

But sometimes, simplicity simply doesn’t cut it. There are worlds of dishes and cuisines that require more complication – even if only because they’re unfamiliar – and those recipes provide opportunities to learn something new, to invest a bit more in a meal to make it special, or to provide yourself with something you can’t otherwise access.

This recipe is one of those. There’s nothing inherently complicated about it, aside from a decent number of ingredients, but if you’re not regularly making mole sauces at home or don’t generally have a good stock of Mexican ingredients (and especially if they’re hard to find), it presents itself as more of an investment. An investment solidly worth it, I might add, but an investment nonetheless.

Particularly worth it for me because my nut allergy puts many moles into forbidden territory for me, making it almost impossible for me to eat them at restaurants unless I can really trust they know the ingredients. (And don’t even get me started on the nuts vs. seeds conversation – even I don’t know how to explain why I can eat some and not others.)

Pipián sauces, however, are generally safe. Pipiáns are a category of moles that generally utilize squash or pumpkin seeds instead of other nuts and seeds and that usually rely on herbs and other fresh ingredients, making them a slightly fresher and lighter alternative to heavier, darker moles. This one uses a huge range of flavorful ingredients including tomatillos, onions and hot chiles, cilantro, and even romaine or another flavorful lettuce, if you want. It’s perfect for simply-cooked chicken or flavorful, hearty fish like salmon or trout, and is particularly great with peas, fresh cilantro, and crispy toasted pumpkin seeds as garnish. It would also make a great sauce for enchiladas, and leftovers go particularly well with omelets or other egg dishes.

We served this at a dinner party earlier this week, and it was a great choice for a day when Brett had some time at home in the afternoon to get it started. It might be a little hard to get on the table after a day of work, otherwise, but some of the prep work could be done the night before if you wanted to spread out the process (alternatively, you can make it up to two days ahead of time and combine it with the meat/fish/etc. before serving). We served it with some arroz verde and corn tortillas, all preceded by a simple black bean soup garnished with crema and avocado. And margaritas, of course, with tequila and controy straight from the Yucatan.


Tools and Appliances

  • 1 cup pepitas
  • 1 28-ounce can tomatillos
  • 2 small fresh green serrano chile peppers
  • ½ medium onion
  • 2 cloves large garlic
  • 3 cups bagged romaine, torn lettuce
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • sprinkle ground cloves
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 handful fresh leaves and stems cilantro
  • ¾ cup homemade chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 cups boxed chicken stock
  • ¾ large roasted chicken

We open the can of tomatillos and remove 6 of them to a freezer safe plastic bag for another use. We drain the rest of the can over the sink and pour into our food processor. We carefully split our rinsed serranos and remove the stems and most of the seeds. We add these to the processor. We peel and then coarsely chop our onion and garlic and add as well. We add the lettuce, cumin, cinnamon, and cloves, and freshly grate in some black pepper. We take a handful of cilantro from the fridge and wash it well. We add to the processor and puree until well mixed.

Our immersion blender came with a mini-chop attachment. We use this to grind the cooled-off toasted pepitas. When finely ground, we pour into a bowl. We microwave our homemade stock until hot and pour over the ground pepitas. We stir well.

To our pan, we add the oil and start heating over medium heat. When hot, we add the pepita-stock mixture and “fry”, stirring constantly for a few minutes. The mixture gets a darker color and thickens quickly. Next, we add the contents of the food processor, some salt, and continue to cook for a few more minutes.

We add the canned chicken stock (boxed actually), and stir well. We lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce thickens and the flavors meld. We taste for salt.

We add the chicken when the sauce is a good consistency and heat through.



Comments:

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  2. Rosco

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