Holy Mole it’s Cinco de Mayo
I love celebrating Cinco de Mayo.If there’s a reason to get the mariachi music playing and fire up the grill, I’m up for that. My usual menu contains some delicious chicken fajitas served with a side of guac, refrieds and cilantro lime rice. And I never forget the Margaritas—either frozen or on the rocks.
Is Cinco de Mayo Mexico’s Independence Day?
For years I innocently thought I was celebrating Mexico’s Independence Day. WRONG! Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexico’s Independence Day, which is actually occurred on September 16, 1810. Come to find out, Cinco de Mayo is NOT even a national holiday in Mexico. So while we in the USA are celebration, most folks there are actually working and probably not drinking margaritas and eating tacos and fajitas.
Cinco de Mayo actually commemorates Mexico’s Victory against the French Army in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
So if it isn’t considered a big deal by the Mexicans, why the big celebration on this side of the Rio Grande? France was considered to be the world’s most powerful military at the time. Victory by Mexico was a David over Goliath type of win. Such a feeling of pride and patriotism were felt by the people of Mexico. And that pride in Mexican culture is what we actually celebrate in the US.
And now that I know what that Chile Mole or Mole Poblano, the National Dish of Mexico, was created in this town of Puebla, I changed my menu to highlight this short-cut slow cooker version of what is usually a delicious though very labor intensive dish.
Some of the more interesting ingredients used in this recipe include Ceylon Cinnamon and Mexican Chocolate— Cacao (pronounced ka-kow) vs cocoa. Cacao is the raw version and cacoa the processed version.
Mexican chocolate has a bitter taste and gritty texture, but the Mexican chocolate disks also have plenty of sugar and Ceylon cinnamon to made your mole or hot chocolate taste delicious. I can’t wait until Fall to try out these little disks of heaven in a hot chocolate mixture.
Ancient Mayans and Aztecs used cacao as an energy booster and mood enhancer, and aphrodisiac. Scientists believe cacao is a natural anti-depressant as it boosts serotonin.
And the cinnamon, known as True Cinnamon or Ceylon Cinnamon, also boosts mood. Even just smell of cinnamon should do the trick. Cinnamon may help prevent Alzheimer’s and cancer and lower cholesterol. Even just 1/2 teaspoon is believed to help regulate blood sugar.
The only downside is the price. It is more expensive than the typical cinnamon you find on the grocer’s shelves. But with so many health benefits, I say bring on the Mexican Cinnamon!
Chicken Mole Poblano does have several ingredients that need to be prepped and measured, but they are easy to find and simple to put together in slow cooker.
Don’t wait to give this recipe a try. It’s perfect for any special occasion.
Chicken Mole Slow Cooker Style (Mole Poblano)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- ½ cup raisins don’t skip these
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds optional
- ½-1 finely chopped chipotle chile pepper from canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
- 3 Tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sugar or honey
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3-4 teaspoons chili powder to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-2 Tablespoons of cider vinegar or juice of 1 large lime
- 1½ pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts or thighs
- SAUTE onions in olive oil for 2-3 minutes until softened. PLACE sautéed onion, raisins, garlic, toasted sesame seeds (if using), chopped chipotle pepper, peanut butter and crushed tomatoes in slow cooker.
- STIR in salt sugar, oregano, cinnamon, chili powder, oregano, cumin, coriander, nutmeg, cocoa powder, cider vinegar (or lime juice). PLACE chicken in the sauce.
- COVER. COOK on low until chicken is very tender, about 4-5 hours. REMOVE chicken from the slow cooker. PLACE sauce in blender or use an immersion blender, and BLEND to a smooth consistency. RETURN chicken and sauce to the slow cooker to keep warm. TASTE. If it still tastes bitter, ADD an extra squeeze of lime or 1-2 teaspoons of cider vinegar. SERVE with a side of rice.
- Variation: In place of cocoa and sugar, you can use 1 or 2 whole Mexican chocolate disks, grated (found in the ethnic aisle or the grocery or Mexican specialty store).