Chef Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo in Austin shares her take on the "national dish" of Mexico paired with tender grilled chicken breast. There's enough here for a party...or FIESTA!
Season the chicken breasts with salt. Heat the lard in a large sauté pan, brown the chicken pieces on all sides. Remove the chicken and set aside. Reserve the lard to fry the chiles.
Place the chicken pieces in a stockpot with onion, garlic and enough water to cover. Simmer until the chicken pieces are cooked through, about 45 minutes. Strain the broth, reserve the chicken in the warm broth.
Fry the chiles on both sides in the reserved lard over medium heat until the chiles begin to blister and change color. Remove chiles and soak in hot water for 15 minutes. Drain the chiles and transfer to a blender adding water, as needed, to form a smooth puree. Pass through a small mesh sieve and set aside.
Fry the tomatoes, tomatillos, onion and garlic in remaining lard.
Using 4 tablespoons of the lard from the chiles, sauté the raisins until plump and change color. Drain the raisins in a colander and repeat the process with the almonds, pumpkin seeds, peants, pecans, tortillas, bread, reserved chile seeds, and sesame seeds. Add lard as needed to sauté the remaining ingredients.
In a small skillet fry in lard the black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, coriander and anise seeds until fragrant over medium low heat. Remove from heat and set aside.
Blend the prepared vegetables, spices and remaining ingredients in batches adding fresh water, as needed, to form a smooth puree. Strain through a small mesh sieve and set aside.
Heat 3 tablespoons of lard in a cazuela or Dutch oven over medium heat. Fry the chile puree, stirring frequently, until it changes color, and you can see the bottom of the pan when scraped with a wooden spoon, about 15-20 minutes. Add the strained vegetable and spice mixture. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir occasionally until the mole thickens, from ½ -1 hour.
Add approximately 2 cups of chicken broth and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Repeat this operation at least one more time.The mole should coat the back of a spoon. Add the chocolate pieces and continue cooking, about 30 minutes. Season again to taste with salt and chocolate.
Remove the skin from the browned chicken pieces.
Serve the chicken with a generous amount of Mole Poblano. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and serve with warm corn tortillas and the tamales blancos.
Note: Mole Poblano will keep for up to two weeks, refrigerated, but must be re-heated and diluted with water (to prevent saltiness) every three days. Mole poblano will keep for up to two months frozen.