This dish is also known as Mole Poblano, or Mole in short, is a Mexican ‘national’ dish made from variety of spices, nuts, chilli peppers, and most importantly, dark bitter chocolate. The dark chocolate is not overwhelming but it gives a lovely shiny dark colour to the sauce, with a slight hint of bitterness and sweetness.
Chef Dennis Lai is the chef de cuisine at The Deck Kitchen, Weil Hotel in Ipoh.
Score the chicken, two cuts across the bone on the thigh, and two on the drumstick. Season with kosher salt, crushed black pepper, cumin, smoke paprika, coriander seed, and cayenne pepper. Rub thoroughly and let it marinade for at least 30 minutes.
Take a dry pan and heat it up on medium high heat. Roughly chop up the poblano and chipotle peppers into big chunks (if you wish the dish to be just mild on spiciness, remove the seeds from the peppers). Dry toast till lightly charred and soften a little. Set aside.
Place a casserole or a heavy duty flat pot on the stove and turn on high to medium high heat, pour in some olive oil, covering the surface of the pot. Once smoke starts to arise from the pot, place the chicken, skin side down, turn heat down from medium high to medium heat. Sear the chicken till golden brown, turn and sear the other side. Once the chicken has been seared on both sides, remove and set aside.
Using the same pot with the oil used for chicken, turn heat down to medium, add onion, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks into the pot and saute (fry) till it is lightly caramelised. Next add in garlic, dry toasted peppers, and the dry spices into the pot, saute till fragrant.
Next, add tomatoes and thyme into the pot, saute till it has a light paste consistency. Then add raisins and chicken stock into the pot. Bring it to a boil and turn the heat to a simmer.
Place the chicken skin side up into the simmering liquid, cover with lid or aluminum foil, while leaving a small gap, and let it braise for 2 hours. It’s done when the meat falls off the bone.
Remove the chicken, place on a plate and cover with aluminum foil.
Remove bay leaves and cinnamon sticks from the pot. Skim any excess fat off the surface, and bring it up to boil.
Once boiled, remove from heat, and blend it in a blender or food processor (be extra careful when blending hot liquid, always leave a small gap for the steam to escape).
Pour the liquid back into the pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Add in dark chocolate, peanut butter, juice and zest from the orange, whisk till everything is melted. Season with kosher salt, crushed black pepper and sugar.
Scoop the sauce over the chicken, serve with basmati rice, roasted or mashed potato.