Ancho-Crusted Chicken in Yellow Pepper Mole

BY ROBIN BARR SUSSMAN — Fall 2014

Executive chef Alex Kelly of Texas’ Houston City Club serves this complex and soulful chili-crusted chicken in a thick, fragrant yellow mole sauce that will knock your socks off.

1 dried ancho chili pepper
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
2-1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons ground oregano
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dry mustard
8 pieces organic chicken legs and thighs
1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups Yellow Pepper Mole (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. On a large baking pan, toast the chili, cumin, fennel, and coriander seeds until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Place the mixture in a spice grinder and add peppercorns, thyme, and oregano. Grind the spices to a powder and place the mixture in a large bowl. Add salt and dry mustard, and combine. Coat the chicken evenly with the spice rub and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees. 

On the stove, heat the oil in a large, deep ovenproof saute pan over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Place the pan of chicken in the oven to finish cooking for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve the chicken over the Yellow Pepper Mole.

Yield: 6 servings

 

YELLOW PEPPER MOLE

2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 cups white onion, sliced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
5 cups yellow bell pepper, diced
1 cup fennel, diced
1 stick cinnamon
1/4  teaspoon allspice
1-1/2 teaspoons dried epazote
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup water
3 tomatillos, peeled and quartered
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt 

Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until tender and translucent. Add yellow bell pepper, fennel, cinnamon, allspice, epazote, sugar, and water, and combine. Cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

Blend the mixture in a food processor. Add tomatillos to the processor and puree until smooth. Strain the mixture and add it back to the saucepan.

Stir in the juices and the salt to taste. Reheat and serve with the chicken.

CHEF’S TIP: “When cooking chicken, beginner cooks should try Orgreenic nonstick pots and pans with a nontoxic releasing coating and cool-touch handles. You can cook safely, and cleanup is a snap.” 

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