February 21, 2012
Chocolate - Recipe Redux Challenge February 2012
I recently ran into a site that hosts a challenge, near and dear to my heart (literally). The Recipe Redux Challenge is held once a month using a designated ingredient, sometimes having a 'bad for you reputation', and the challenge is to take that ingredient and make it fit into a healthy, whole foods way of life. Now this was something I could dig my knife and fork into. Inspiration for this month’s theme is courtesy of the Meal Makeover Moms @JaniceBissex and @LizWeiss.
Today debuts my first submission. The theme, chocolate. The dish, mole.
Don't turn your nose up yet. You think mole is not creative enough, try this one on for size....a Middle Eastern Mole. Yes, I took ingredients from two different cultures and made one sauce.
We know two things about chocolate, the Mexicans have been eating it for thousands of years and it has recently been deemed as a "GOOD" food. Everything old is new again.
There is in fact a growing body of credible scientific evidence that chocolate contains a host of heart-healthy and mood-enhancing phytochemicals, with benefits to both body and mind. For more information read this article over at the Huffington Post.
You see, asking me to create a dessert using chocolate is like asking a cat to sit. I leave delicious chocolate desserts for the ones who love to eat it. Yes, I am afraid so, I don't have that chocolate gene. If I ate no chocolate for years I would not crave it.
I had to find a dish that uses chocolate in a savory way. I think I got it very right.
After marinating dark meat poultry pieces in this magical marinade roast them in a 325° oven for 40 minutes, turn and roast 15 minutes more.
Serve with Mexican Corn (recipe to follow) and spoon the sauce over the chicken. A little goes a long way, and our dishes were shy of licked clean.
I never saw The Nudge pick the bones on dark meat chicken. He wanted to know if I could freeze it for another meal (it freezes well) and started telling me what he thought it would work well with. When he gets this excited about something I have cooked, I know I hit a Grand Slam.
It meets all the requisitions....has easy to find ingredients, an easy preparation, totally healthy (see nutritionals), uses whole foods (all the way) and perfect for a romantic dinner for two or a family of six.
I am very proud of this recipe. Extremely complex, you can taste all the different components but not one comes to the foreground. I know you will not find this sauce anywhere else in the world but on my blog.
Middle Eastern Mole Sauce
Makes 24 (2 tablespoon) servings (can be doubled)
* 1 tablespoon shelled pistachio nuts, (unsalted if available)
* 5 hazelnuts, chopped
* 5 whole almonds, chopped
* 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, shelled
* 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
* 1/4 teaspoon each, cumin, ground coriander
* pinch each salt, pepper, cayenne
* 1 (2") cinnamon stick or pinch cinnamon
* 1/2 oz grated baking chocolate
* 1 Pasilla pepper, seeded and stemmed
* 1/2 chopped sweet onion
* 3 roasted garlic cloves (regular will work also)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 2 teaspoon ancho powder
* 2 tablespoon tomato paste
* 2 cups chicken stock
* 2 tablespoons agave nectar
* 1 tablespoon grated hard cheese (Parmesan, Romano, Cojito), optional
Heat oven to 350°. Arrange the nuts and the pasilla pepper on a baking sheet and roast for 8 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and roast for 3 more minutes. Remove to bowl and add all the spices (cinnamon, coriander, ancho powder, cayenne, cumin and pepper).
In a saucepan heat olive oil. Add onions and saute until translucent. Add roasted garlic and the nut/spice mixture. Add chocolate and tomato paste and stir till blended. Add chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat and cool completely, remove cinnamon stick.
Process mixture in a mini processor or blender until smooth. Press through a mesh strainer. Add agave and more stock if desired.
One serving is 2 tablespoons.
Mexican Corn and Rice
Makes 4 servings
* 1 tablespoon canola oil
* 1/2 small sweet onion, chopped
* 2 small cloves garlic, minced
* 1/2 cup Uncle Ben's Converted Rice (Diabetic Friendly)
* 1 cup corn
* 1 cup chicken stock
* Pinch Goya Sazon with azafran (for that lovely color)
* 1/2 can chopped green chilies
* 1 roasted red pepper (pimenton), chopped (jarred or hommemade)
* salt & pepper to taste
Saute onion in oil, add garlic and rice. Toast until rice turns a nutty color. Add white wine and cook until it evaporates. Add chicken stock, and Sazon, bring to a simmer, cover and cook 20 minutes. Add red and green peppers, check for seasoning, cover and serve.
Every thumbnail below is a link to other members participating this month. Click to see how healthy they made, maybe your favorite, chocolate recipe. I guarantee there will be sweet confections.