Variation on a theme of Poblano Mole

Mole_IbarraI got it stuck in my mind and couldn’t shake it free. Chocolate sauce. Not just any chocolate sauce, It had to be a specific kind of chocolate whipped into a special kind of sauce that involved chilis. What does one do with this sauce once it’s prepared? Spoon it over chicken, of course!

I surfed the interwebs for recipes. I figured I could find a standard recipe on the Ibarra website. No such luck. However, I found four recipes I thought were interesting, so I combined them, morphing them into the one I figured would come out similar to what I had envisioned.

Mole_PanMost of the recipes called for using dried chilis, and I wanted to use fresh. I wanted to focus on mild chilis so my kids wouldn’t be put off by the heat.

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I am pretty pleased with how it came out, and

I will definitely try this recipe again, modifying it a bit based on what I learned today.

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Kat’s Chicken Mole

3-5 lbs chicken Smoke for about an hour
5 Anaheim chilis and 6 pasilla chilis, Roast over flame, remove seeds and stems, chop and set aside


1-3 tablespoons olive oil, heat in large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat
1 large onion, chopped, add onions and sauté until golden brown, about 18 minutes


Add the following, sauté until nuts and garlic begin to color, about 2 minutes
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1½  teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
½ cup slivered almonds, heaping
One ½ -inch cinnamon stick
2 cloves
12 black peppercorns


Reduce heat to medium and add chiles. Stir until they begin to soften, about 2 minutes


3-5 cups Chicken broth, gradually whisk in and simmer until hot


1 disk Mexican chocolate, chopped, add to pan and stir until dissolved.
Let simmer for 20 minutes


Working in small batches, transfer sauce mixture to blender and puree until smooth; pour into crock pot. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.


Coarsely shred chicken and add to crock pot; stir to coat. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

Garnish

  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sesame Seeds

Can be made 3 days ahead. Rewarm over low heat before serving.

Quintessentially Québecois: Wednesday

Previous: Quintessentially Québecois: Tuesday
From the beginning: Quintessentially Québecois: Sunday

Wednesday we took a ferry across the river and walked around Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu. There are many independently owned ferries dotting the Richelieu River shoreline.

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The capitan encouraged us to exit the car to better enjoy the view.  A fellow traveler asked me if I wanted him to take my photo. Well, I guessed he said that from his actions, as he was speaking in French.

IMG_0684The village is charming, and we lucked out because there was a fiber artist working in one of the shops in which we had wandered.  It looked like she was weaving, but she explained that she was braiding. We learned fingerbraiding or finger weaving a Ceinture fléchée, a traditional French-Canadian “arrow sash.” From Wikipedia:

In Quebec, this wool sash was used by men to tie jackets around their waists to prevent the cold from creeping in.

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Our docent spent quite a while chatting with us about the history of  Ceinture fléchée. She spoke only French, and I was glad my host was a willing and deft translator.

Her fingers swiftly worked the fibers and the design unfolding did, indeed, have an arrowesque design. Apparently, French Canadian traders learned finger weaving from the Native Americans.

Okay, so I must confess that for a moment there, I really wanted to learn how to make one of the beautiful creations. My fingers itched to figure out how she was fingerbraiding, yet somehow I managed to refrain from indulging my desire to buy yarn, dash back to the house, and then begin to make my very own L’Assomption sash. Somehow, I kept myself in check.

Debeur_BistroDeLaRive-600Wandering lovely villages is thirsty work. We wandered into the Bistro bar de la Rive to rest our tired feet and quench our dry throats. Wow, that was poetic, wasn’t it? Truth is, I was enchanted with the idea of sitting on a terrace with a scenic view of the river and sipping something a tad bit stronger than lemonade or tea.

BistroSaintLaurantRiver_kHappily, Bistro bar de la Rive made real my picturesque fantasy. I would like to relate how I spent time leisurely sipping my amber ale. Nope, I sucked my beer down like there was no tomorrow. I can’t say I was in any way bothered by this because before I reached the bottom of my glass, it began to sprinkle. We moved from our spot to one better sheltered from the elements, where we could watch the scenery change from realism to impressionism. The warm, rainy interlude lasted until we were ready to mosey.

By the time we returned home, I was well and truly tired. Maybe it was jet lag, who knows? Happily, I was able to vege on the couch while my host made dinner.

Ever have one of the meals where the sauce is so amazing, you want to smother it all over you body? How does bell peppers, onions, tofu, and coconut milk go from ordinary to abso-freakin’-lutely amazing? Clearly, there was wizardry at play. Ask me if I had seconds. G’ahead, ask. Yes, yes I did.

Next: Quintessentially Québecois: Thursday

Pink Slip

I thought it odd when I got a call from my manager on my cell phone requesting my presence in one of the small conference rooms on our floor. HR_Solutions_Layoff

I pick up my notebook, pen, and water bottle, and then made my way down the hall toward the meeting room she had indicated. About half-way there, I felt a squeezing sensation in my chest. I knew, at that moment, why I had been called to the conference room, and I knew, before I opened the door, who would be sitting in the room besides my immediate manager. I could see by the looks on their faces that theirs wasn’t a happy task.

While not a complete surprise, a change in leadership, cutbacks, poor stock performance, and the pulling of all contractor assignments, it is still a bit of a shock to be laid off.

Thankfully, I was given time to say goodbye to those who remain employed, and to the other co-workers in my department who were also let go.

I am sad I will no longer enjoy the camaraderie, challenges, laughter, and friendships, I had found in this department staffed with intelligent, witty, and gifted people. We all said in parting keep in touch. I am thankful for social media, so we can, indeed, remain connected.