Grilled Lime Chicken with Mole Sauce and Saffron Rice

Lime_Chicken_Mole3 (1 of 1)This dish features mole (pronounced something like “molay”), which is prepared throughout Mexico, but it is especially popular in the central and southern regions of Puebla and Oaxaca. It is made with a variety of interesting ingredients, such as chile peppers, spices, chocolate, and the list goes on. This version is spicy and delicious, and goes very will with the marinated, grilled lime chicken and the saffron rice. I hope you’ll try it!

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 large), pounded to an even thickness (1/2 inch)
Juice of 3 limes
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or finely grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 pepper

2 dried ancho chile peppers
1/2 cup diced onions
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup raw, hulled sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp ground allspice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 slices day-old bread, torn into pieces
2 chipotle chiles from canned chipotles in adobo sauce
1/2 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp saffron threads, crushed
1/2 diced onions
1/2 diced red bell pepper
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup long-grain rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Garnish: shredded lettuce, cilantro leaves, sour cream

Prepare the marinade for the chicken by whisking together the lime juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Place the chicken and marinade in a large, zip-lock plastic bag, mixing well. Let sit (turning from time to time) in the fridge for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the mole sauce by toasting the ancho chiles in a very hot, dry skillet just until they crackle (about 2 minutes each side). Be sure not to burn them, or they’ll ruin the mole. Place chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 30 minutes to revive them. Drain and discard water. Remove stems and seeds, and coarsely chop. Set aside

Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the skillet. Add onions and garlic, and cook over medium to low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the sunflower seeds, cinnamon, cumin seeds and allspice. Stir for and additional 4 minutes, until mixture is fragrant. Transfer to a food processor.

Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth, tomato, bread, ancho chiles and chipotle peppers to the spice mixture in the food processor. Process until very smooth.

Transfer mixture to a large sauce pan. Stir in remaining broth, chocolate, sugar, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer uncovered very gently for 30 minutes. Cover and remove from heat.

For the saffron rice, bring broth and water to a boil, then remove from heat. Add the saffron, stir and set aside.

Saute the onions and red bell peppers in 1 Tbsp butter in a medium sauce pan for about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes. Stir in saffron broth, salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 18 minutes. Remove from heat, and fluff with a fork. Cover and let stand for at least 5 minutes.

Prepare grill.

Remove chicken from fridge, and discard marinade. Grill chicken breasts for 9 minutes on one side. Flip, then grill for an additional 4 minutes, or until done. Cut crosswise into 1-inch slices.

Place the chicken over the rice and top with the mole. Garnish with cilantro, and serve with shredded lettuce and a dollop of sour cream

Serves 6.

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