Mole Chicken recipe and cookbook review: The Whole Smiths Real Food Every Day

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Mole chicken. Did you just respond, “Yes, please!”? Mmmmm. Mole chicken is *usually* a really time consuming dish. It’s the kind of thing that makes most cooks just keep flipping through the book to something easier. This is about 1 1/2 hours start to finish, and an hour of that is the Instant Pot doing the work. This has great flavor and is comparatively very easy. Let’s do this!

The Whole Smiths Real Food Every Day. I love love love this book! Everything’s delicious, easy, and nutritious. Perfect! I’ll tell you all about the rest of the book after the recipe. Please note ~ I think the author must be using Diamond Crystal Kosher salt because the numbers are at the high end. I’m using plain old salt, so I cut the salt to 2/3 in everything which worked perfectly. Thought I’d share in case you use table salt, too.

Excerpted from THE WHOLE SMITHS REAL FOOD EVERY DAY © 2020 by Michelle Smith. Photography © 2020 by Michelle Smith and Jennifer Skog. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Chicken Mole


Dairy-Free Gluten-Free

I knew when I decided to tackle this recipe that it would be a tall order. Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce in which meat is simmered and stewed. It has a complex flavor, and it’s either right or it’s wrong. Making mole often requires a long, tedious process to get the flavors just right. But thanks to modern kitchen technology, we can make it in the comfort of our own homes with less labor, in a fraction of the time. You can serve this mole over Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice (page 73), with corn tortillas, over baked sweet potatoes, in enchiladas…the options are nearly endless!

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs   
6½ teaspoons salt, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 whole cloves
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon aniseed
¼ cup avocado oil
5 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
½ medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, smashed
¼ cup blanched raw almonds
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 whole black peppercorns
2 corn tortillas, lightly charred and torn into pieces
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce, seeded
2 ounces dark chocolate (see Tip), chopped
3 cups chicken broth
Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Season the chicken thighs with 4 teaspoons of the salt and set aside.

Set the Instant Pot to the Sauté function on Normal. When the Instant Pot is hot, add the sesame seeds. Toast the sesame seeds, stirring frequently, until they are lightly browned, about 1 minute. Add the cloves, coriander, and aniseed. Toast the seeds and spices, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove the toasted seeds and spices from the Instant Pot and set aside.

Increase the Sauté setting to More and add the avocado oil to the pot. When the oil is hot, add the pasilla and ancho chiles. Fry them in the oil until they have softened a bit, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the chiles from the Instant Pot and set them aside with the toasted seeds.

Add the onion to the hot oil and cook, stirring, until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Return the toasted seeds and fried chiles to the Instant Pot. Add the almonds, raisins, pepitas, coconut sugar, cinnamon, peppercorns, tortillas, chipotle, chocolate, broth, 2 teaspoons salt, and the chicken thighs to the pot. Set the Instant Pot to Poultry on More, lock the lid into place, and cook for 60 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally.

Carefully remove the chicken and set aside. Working in batches, if necessary, carefully transfer the sauce from the Instant Pot to a blender and add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Blend on high speed until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt, if necessary. Return the sauce to the Instant Pot and set to Sauté. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Return the chicken thighs to the Instant Pot and simmer for 5 minutes more to heat them through. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

TIP: Find the darkest chocolate possible for this recipe. I used an 86% cacao chocolate bar for this recipe and loved the results. You can also substitute 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder for the chocolate.

Drive-Through Burger Bowls. We loved these. They’re like a Big Mac without the cheese or buns, but the funny thing is, you’ll never miss those! This salad totally satisfies that craving.

Asian Chicken Patties with Braised Bok Choy and Cabbage. Yum!!!! These taste so much like Moo Shu Pork. Terrific dinner!

Chicken Mole. This is awesome. Mole normally takes forever to make. This is about an hour and a half, and 2/3 of that time is just the Instant Pot, or whatever pressure cooker you have, doing the work. Quick, delicious, and nutritious. Total keeper.

Short Rib Bolognese. This generates enough Bolognese for 2 dinners for a family of four. At least! It’s one of those laughably easy recipes. Everything goes into the Instant Pot at once, and you come back to find dinner about 2 hours later. I served it over spaghetti squash.

Creamy Mushroom Polenta with Short Rib Bolognese. This uses half that Bolognese you made before. We loved it even more over the cheesy, garlicky mushroom polenta.

The Best Damn Paleo Brownies. I am embarrassed to say that after flipping through the book flagging recipes to try, I stumbled on this little gem, and made it first. LOL! Totally worth it! Because there’s no flour, there’s nothing dulling the flavor of the chocolate. These are intensely chocolately. The flavor and texture are terrific. These are my new favorite brownies!

Apple Cinnamon Mini Frittatas. These are delicious! The apple cinnamon flavor is surprisingly strong.

Dairy-Free Cinnamon Maple Cashew Coffee Creamer. This has nice flavor and the consistency is perfect.

Sweet Potato Hash Egg Cups. These are yummy. As with all egg cups, the texture is tight. It’s all protein.

*I received a copy to explore and share my thoughts.

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10 thoughts on “Mole Chicken recipe and cookbook review: The Whole Smiths Real Food Every Day

  1. On the brownies, i think you mean “because there’s no flour”? This looks tempting, although mole at home … yeah, I trust you, but I still am not sure I’m up for that level of labor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my gosh! Thanks for fixing me error, Servetus! It’s honestly easy. I should post pics of my cookbooks, because I draw lines between series of ingredients that go into the pool together, which really simplifies everything! I’m posting that brownie next. I made them twice already. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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