In the Pantry Challenge video series, Lauren Braun Costello -- chef, author and food stylist -- shows busy moms how to make meals using ingredients they already have in their pantries, solving their unique cooking challenges. In this episode, Lauren shows Silu N., a mother of two, how to incorporate chocolate into a savory dish. She shows Silu how to make a flavorful mole sauce that's served over chicken. Traditional mole has a staggering amount of ingredients and can take hours to prepare, but this sauce has been streamlined, says Lauren.
To begin, Lauren sautées some diced onion in a pan, then adds whole almonds (the sauce will be puréed in a blender later, so there's no need to chop up many of the ingredients). Next, she adds pumpkin seeds, garlic cloves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, chili powder, and pieces of corn tortilla. (The tortilla adds both flavor and texture.) She drains the diced tomatoes, then adds them to the pan, along with chicken stock. She then puts the sauce over high heat to reduce it while she starts on the chicken.
After seasoning the skin-on chicken piece with salt and pepper, she puts them, skin-side down, into a hot pan with a little oil. She waits for the chicken to become golden brown on one side, then turns the chicken over. Silu's pan is ovenproof, so she puts the pan straight into the oven to finish the chicken. (If your pan isn't ovenproof, you can transfer the chicken pieces to a baking sheet at this point.)
To finish the sauce while the chicken is in the oven, Lauren ladles it into a blender and blends it until it's smooth. (Use caution when blending hot liquids.) She pours the sauce back into the pan, then adds pieces of chopped baking chocolate, which deepens the color and adds a rich, earthy flavor. She leaves the pan simmering to reduce even further.
To serve, Lauren places the chicken on a platter, then spoons the thick, brick-colored mole over the top. She suggests serving the dish with rice.
Get Lauren's Chicken Mole.