Manageable Mole with Chicken
This recipe is easily doubled. Four chicken thighs fit comfortably in a 3-quart nonstick saucepan, but if you’re making more, use a nonstick high-sided skillet with a lid. If you happen to have chocolate milk at home, you can use it in place of the milk, cocoa, and sugar. But be sure to taste it – if it’s only mildly chocolaty, you may want to stir in ½ teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa after you add and cook the tomato paste and tahini.
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, patted dry
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chili powder (I use medium-hot)
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon tahini or walnut butter
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup whole milk (unsweetened oat or almond milk would also work well)
1 jalapeño chile, stemmed, and cut lengthwise in quarters (use 2 if you like it really spicy)
Salt and pepper the chicken thighs on both sides. Put them skin-side down in a 3-quart nonstick saucepan and set over medium heat. Brown the chicken on the skin side, about 8 minutes. Then turn the pieces over and brown on the other side, about 5 minutes. Take the chicken thighs out of the pot and set them aside on a plate.
Add the chili powder and ¼ teaspoon salt to the chicken fat and stir for about 20 seconds. You should start to smell the chili powder. Add in the tahini and tomato paste and stir for another 20 to 30 seconds. Make sure nothing’s burning – you just want to smell the ingredients, that way they’re releasing some flavor into the chicken fat.
Stir in the cocoa powder, then whisk in the milk and stir in the sugar. Add the browned chicken thighs back to the pan along with the jalapeño quarters. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmering and cover the saucepan. Simmer for 35 minutes, until the chicken thighs are cooked through. Serve hot with plenty of sauce.