I don’t like things that are called fake or imitation. Don’t feed me “vegetarian turkey” or “mock bacon”, just feed me flavored textured soy protein (or whatever) and have done with it! I’m not adverse to things that try to taste like other things, just call that spade a sharp-edged long-handled digging device, OK?
OK, rant over. And, having said all that, this week I made what I am going to call molé. I dunno what anyone else would call it, but if it has chocolate and cumin and roasted peppers and tomatoes in it, it is close enough in my book.
Now you need to understand that, at least as I understand it, “molé” is even more generic than “pesto”. I mean, if I say “pesto” you probably think “basil”, but maybe not. You might think cilantro or parsley or arugula or… and you’d be right.
Molé seems to cover any sauce that starts with roasted peppers (and apparently even canned are ok!). I had a jar of ’em, a can of fire-roasted tomatoes and an idea. It smells great, so I think it’s working!
I made mine as dry rub then sauce. And I made mine with chicken but you could absolutely leave the chicken out of it and go with the rice and beans etc etc. Its pretty easy overall, and not perhaps completely traditional but oh well.
I hope you will take the proportions of the dry rub as just a starting place. You know I don’t like “hot”, so you can go hotter if you like – this is really only barely warm (and fine by me!). Here’s what I did:
Zoom Zoom Dry Rub
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons fresh-ground coriander
1 tablespoon fresh-ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon finely ground hot red pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
Mix all in a small bowl, use as needed and store the rest in a sealed container.
Holy Olé Molé Chicken
chicken pieces (4 thighs in this case)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 cup rice (uncooked)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
1 jar roasted sweet red peppers, drained
fresh lime, quartered or in wedges
Rub the chicken pieces with the dry mix. Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy skillet. Brown the chicken on both sides and remove to a clean plate. Add the chopped onion to the skillet and sauté. When the onion is transparent, add the rice and stir to coat the rice with the oil. Then, on top of the rice, layer the beans, peppers, and tomatoes. Do not stir, you want the rice to stay on the bottom. Add (roughly) 1.5 C water, set the chicken pieces on top, cover and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Serve with lime wedges as a garnish. Mmmmmm…
All you need with this is a salad and probably a beer. For a vegetarian/vegan offering, disregard the chicken and add about 2 T of the dry rub to the onion rice mixture, stir in, then pile on the beans peppers and tomatoes. Just add water… cook as above. Mmmmmm!
I think next time I’ll add a can of drained sweet corn too…
Enjoy! (oh and olé!)