January 10, 2009

Mexican Chicken with Chile Chocolate Sauce

It must be about 15 years ago now that I tried a savory dish for the first time with chocolate as one of the ingredients. It was the tastiest chili con carne I had ever had. Expecting a sweet taste, I was a bit skeptical as I took that first bite. I was actually pleasantly surprised. The chocolate didn't add any sweetness at all, in fact in only deepened and enhanced all the flavors in the chili to make it more complex. From then on, my thoughts on chocolate changed from being that of only a sweet to an all around flavoring. Now a little bit of chocolate is always added to my chili recipes to enhance and deepen the flavors.

This is a simplified and delicious version of Chicken with Mole Negro which is a spicy sauce made with different types of chilies, spices and chocolate.
Give this a try. I think that you will really enjoy it, and this is a great way to wow your guests.

Wine Pairing: The flavors in this dish are very complex, so you want a light refreshing wine that will not over power. Try either a Sauvignon Blanc or Pouilly-Fume.

Mexican Chicken with Chile Chocolate Sauce
Serves 4

2 tbsp chili oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 skinless chicken breasts or
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 onion chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 small red chile, seeded and chopped (optional depending if you like a bit of heat)
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups chicken broth
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup pine nuts
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp brown sugar
1 3/4 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces (I like Scharffen Berger)
1/2 cup red wine
juice of 1/2 orange
Heat oil in a flameproof casserole. Add the garlic and stir over medium heat for 3 minutes. Add chicken and cook for 3 minutes on first side, turn over and cook for another 2 minutes. Take chicken out of pan and cut into bite-size chunks and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the onion, red bell pepper, tomatoes, chile, and unsweetened cocoa to the pan. Cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Then add the chicken broth, raisins, pine nuts, allspice and sugar and cook for 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the casserole. Add the chocolate and stir until melted, then add the red wine and orange juice. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 40 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from oven and serve with freshly cooked rice.

No comments: