I've missed you all! We're returning from a fabulous week celebrating all that we hold dear and all that we have to be grateful for...and YOU are among those blessings!
It's true that many of you I have never met in person, but your presence, your comments and your enthusiasm for living and eating INSPIRED continues to inspire me to keep cooking, writing and coaching - so THANK YOU!
I whipped up a few new recipes for this week's Whole Foods Market Clash of the Cooks. You want to know a secret? I truly couldn't decide which one to post...they were all so uniquely, flavorful and delicious. So over the next few days you'll see two additional recipes using this week's secret ingredients:
- Allegro Coffee Celebration Caffe (Whole Coffee Beans)
- 365 Brand Pumpkin Puree (Canned)
- Whole Foods Market Parmesan Crisps
- Forager Mike's Raw Organic Maca Hot Sauce
* Celiac or Gluten-Free? Please read labels carefully for ingredients and make sure that items are gluten-free and safe from cross-contamination before purchasing!
As soon as I picked up my goodies from Whole Foods Market I knew that I was in for a fun week of playing in the kitchen - so many delicious Fall flavors to explore!
I felt there were three direction I could go...a rich mole sauce, a decadent dessert or an Italian-inspired dish...and since I couldn't decide - I chose to make all three! Today I'll be sharing my Spiced Pumpkin Mole Sauce baked with chicken and served with a Parmesan Sour Cream sauce.
Spiced Pumpkin Mole baked chicken
Make sure to check back here for my Spiced Apple Affogato served with Pumpkin Caramel sauce. And then my rich and creamy Spicy Pumpkin Cream sauce served with Parmesan Crisp over Penne.
Can you tell I get easily distracted in the kitchen?! We call this syndrome "squirrel" - affectionately named because our big furry dog would drop everything at the first sighting of a squirrel. I should probably admit to feeling the same way about secret ingredients, dark chocolate, spices, cooking supply stores (like our new Sur la Table) ...you get the picture!
For today, let's focus on Mole (pronounced MOH- lay).
Have you heard of mole? As anew resident of San Diego, this delicious, spiced sauce was one of my favorite finds. Mole is one of Mexico's regional dishes. The word mole comes from the Nahuatl mulli, meaning sauce or potage.
Having grown up on Taco Bell and later graduated to Lucha Libre...I had no idea what to expect when I sampled my first mole years ago at El Agave restaurant. This is because there is considerable room for interpretation when it comes to mole.
I once read one popular food writer describe mole as a "thick, dark sauce" ...but the rich, complex flavors, range of colors and peepers and varying thicknesses make this sauce so much more.
This rich sauce combines flavors of dried chiles, spices, chocolate and coffee for a satisfying and flavor-packed addition to meat and vegetable dishes. I recommend making a big batch which can be easily frozen and added to enchiladas and tamales or used to create my Spicy Pumpkin Cream Sauce!
Enjoy this warming seasonal sauce - it's even a perfect way to season your leftover holiday turkey! Make sure to stop by and let us know what you think of mole.
P.S. I’m participating in the Whole Foods Market Clash of the Cooks competition. If you enjoy what you read here, please cast a vote for me by commenting on my recipe. I am so grateful for your support.
SPICED PUMPKIN MOLE SAUCE
Makes enough for smothering 4 chicken breasts or use for use in enchiladas, tamales, etc.
5 dried ancho chile peppers
1/2 cup Strongly Brewed Coffee
1 tablespoon cooking oil (we used coconut)
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup raisins (we used organic golden raisins)
1 cup pumpkin puree (we used 365 Brand canned pumpkin puree)
1 cup water (we used reserved liquid from soaking chiles)
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
- Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F if baking chicken or turkey with your mole.
- Soak chiles in hot water for 30 minutes or until soft. Use a heavy spoon or dish to hold them under water as necessary.
- Grind coffee beans. Brew coffee. Reserve 1/2 cup and enjoy the rest while you cook:-)
- In a small bowl, measure our spices and set aside.
- In a medium skillet, saute onion in vegetable oil on medium heat until translucent.
- Remove skillet from heat and add spices. Stir until well combined.
- In a high powered blender, grind almonds, sesame seeds, raisins, pumpkin puree, cooked onion mixture and coffee until you have a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Remove chiles from water. Reserve 1 cup of water. Store remaining liquid for use in cooking rice, quinoa or other grains.
- Chop off stems and remove seeds from chiles.
- Add chiles to blender and blend on high. Add 1/4 cup reserved liquid as needed until sauce is desired thickness (we prefer our mole slightly pourable).
- Add melted chocolate, once again blending until smooth and thoroughly mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- In an oiled baking dish, spread 4 uncooked chicken breasts (or layer corn tortillas and cooked left-over turkey meat).
- Set aside 1/2 cup mole for Spicy Pumpkin Cream Sauce or another recipe.
- Smother with remaining mole sauce.
- Cover and bake for 30 minutes or until meat is cooked through.
Serve over greens and quinoa. We sprinkled our with pumpkin seeds!
Add a dollup of Parmesan Cream Sauce
PARMESAN CREAM SAUCE
1/2 cup Sour Cream (we used Green Valley Organics Lactose Free)
2 -4 Whole Foods Market Parmesan Crisps, crumbled
1 bottle Hot Sauce (we used Forager Mike's)
In a small bowl, mix sour cream and parmesan crisp crumbles.
Add 2-4 Tablespoons of hot sauce to achieve your desired level of heat and flavor!
Stir together and place a dollup atop each chicken breast or enchilada.
Serve the rest table side. Enjoy!
© Copyright Clea Shannon 2009-2012
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