Tag Archives: sauce

Chicken Mole Tacos

One of the many things I miss about living in California is the Mexican food. Sure we have Mexican restaurants here in Richmond, but none that measure up to the ones I left behind, like Tony’s Jacal in Solana Beach.  Around since 1946, they are a  family  business offering up home cooked specialties like Pulled Turkey Tacos, Chile Rellenos,  and some of the best Chicken Mole I have ever had.  –Their margaritas are pretty good too…

Tony’s is far far away from here, and the visits back to California don’t come often enough for me, so when I am craving Mexican, I do my best to recapture those flavors by cooking my favorites at home. Not the same, and I don’t have Solana Beach out my back door, but I do manage to come close, and Jeff”s margaritas are pretty killer.

Mole  is made with a combination of  chilies, spices, nuts, and chocolate; ingredients that are simmered together to produce a sauce that is rich, complex, and velvety smooth. Chicken and turkey are natural partners for mole sauce, and pretty amazing when shredded and wrapped up together in a warm tortilla.

My labradoodle Lilly thinks Chicken Mole Tacos are pretty special too; ( notice her nose in the upper right of this photo? ha ha ) she was really interested in what I was doing while shooting the pics for this post.

Mole freezes very well, so I like to make a big batch. When I have a busy day and need a quick dinner, I will pull some of that mole out of the freezer and pick up a store bought rotisserie chicken to shred. Though they aren’t Tony’s Jacal tacos, they are a family favorite around here, and help satisfy my craving for authentic Mexican cooking.

Chicken Mole Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 6
  • 3 tablespoons (or more) peanut oil (preferably unrefined), divided
  • 2½ pounds skinless boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1½ cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • 4 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 2 ounces dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed
  • 1 ounce dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed
  • ⅛ cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ of a 3.1-ounce disk Mexican chocolate, chopped
  • Warm flour tortillas
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, chopped
  • 2 cups thinly sliced romaine leaves
  • ½ of a small red onion, finely chopped
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add chicken to pot; sauté until lightly browned, adding more oil by tablespoonfuls as needed, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to large bowl.
  2. Return chicken and any juices to pot. Add broth and orange juice; bring just to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until chicken is tender and just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Transfer chicken to platter, reserving cooking liquid until cool enough to handle. Coarsely shred chicken.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown, about 18 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add almonds, garlic, cumin, and coriander. Sauté until nuts and garlic begin to color, about 2 minutes. Add chiles and stir until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour reserved chicken cooking liquid into saucepan with onion mixture (reserve pot). Add raisins, and oregano to saucepan. Cover and simmer until chiles are very soft, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat; add chocolate. Let stand until chocolate melts and sauce mixture cools slightly, about 15 minutes.
  5. Working in small batches, transfer sauce mixture to blender and puree until smooth; return to reserved pot. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Chill until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm over low heat before serving.
  6. Assembly:
  7. Place 2 tortillas on each plate. Spoon shredded chicken in the center of each tortilla. Spoon desired amount of mole sauce over chicken. Top with romaine lettuce, avocado, and red onion



Pan Seared Black Grouper with Meyer Lemon Mojo Sauce

Just a short time ago, trying to find a Meyer lemon in Richmond would be pretty tricky, if not impossible.

Thankfully times have changed around here, and you can even find them at our local Costco, who sells them in bulk, at a very attractive price, making them irresistible to me as I walk through the produce section of the store.

Also irresistible to me, is the complex flavor and aromatic hints of sweet lime, lemon and mandarin you find in a Meyer lemon; truly a unique flavor.

When they are in season (November through late March/early April), I grab them up and make all kinds of things: preserved Meyer lemons, Meyer lemon vinaigrette, Meyer lemon dust as used in this house favorite Pan Seared Scallops with Meyer Lemon Dust and Chipotle Beurre Blanc .

This year, in addition to my past Meyer lemon recipes, I came across a recipe for a Meyer Lemon Drop Martini from @BunkyCooks, that is really fantastic.

I also got to thinking about using the Meyer lemons in a Cuban mojo sauce, which turned out to be a really good idea.

Begin by assembling your ingredients. You’ll want them all ready to go when it’s time to put the mojo sauce together.

Garlic is gently cooked in olive oil until just golden brown. Then you add the remaining sauce ingredients, including a little soy sauce. (I like the umami flavor the soy brings to the sauce.) Bring the sauce to a boil and finish with fresh cilantro.

I like to use the mojo  within a few hours of making to truly enjoy the fresh flavors as a sauce.   As a marinade, the mojo will keep in the fridge for about 4 days and makes an excellent grilling marinade for poultry and shrimp.

I used the Meyer lemon mojo with some really beautiful black grouper that I picked up from my favorite local fish shop Yellow Umbrella Seafood. The mild and delicate flavor of of group is similar to what you would find in halibut or sea bass, which would make good substitutes for this dish if black grouper were unavailable.

After pan searing the black grouper, I finished it in the oven. I drizzled some of the freshly made Meyer lemon mojo over the top of the fish. The mojo was really nicely balanced and added a wonderful accent to the fresh fish, without being too heavy or overpowering.

So if you have any Meyer lemons at home and are wondering what to do with them, I hope you will give this one a try. We enjoyed the bright, citrusy flavors in this light entree, and hope you will too.

Pan Seared Black Grouper with Meyer Lemon Mojo Sauce

Meyer Lemon Mojo Sauce:

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic

Juice of 1 grapefruit

Juice of 2 oranges

Zest and juice of 3 Meyer lemons

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3/4 cup chopped cilantro

Make the mojo:

Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook until garlic begins to turn golden brown. Add grapefruit juice and next 5 ingredients to pan (be careful, mixture may splatter); increase heat to medium high; bring to boil. When mixture comes to a boil, turn off heat and stir in cilantro.

Makes 2 cups

4 6-ounce black grouper (other other firm white fish) fillets, skinned

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Season the fillets with the salt and pepper. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over a high flame, not quite to smoking point. Add in the butter, then quickly, just as the butter begins to melt and bubble,  place the fillets in the hot oil. Allow the fish to brown well before turning it over, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn the fillets and brown the other side. Once the fish is browned, place the pan in the oven to finish cooking,  about 3 to 4 more minutes.

Transfer fish to plates and drizzle with Meyer Lemon Mojo Sauce.

4 servings


Beef Braciole with Meat Sauce Recipe

Growing up in a family with Italian immigrant roots meant that gathering around the table  for a big meal was a pretty regular occurrence.  Whether it was my dad’s famous lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, eggplant parmigiana, or any other number of Italian dishes,  preparing for this family gathering meant the whole house would first be filled with the intoxicating smell of Sunday  tomato sauce or “gravy”  that simmered away on the stove for hours and hours.

I remember sneaking into the kitchen throughout the day, where I would tear off a little piece of bread and dunk it into the large pot of warm sauce. It was my way of testing the sauce’s progress, and to tell you the truth, I don’t think I was the only one in the house  who did this. I think we all found ourselves wandering in and out of the kitchen; it was just too hard to resist.

One of my favorites from  these family dinner gatherings is Braciole (pronounced bra’zhul).  You might even call it a roulade, or involtini, depending on where you are from.  Braciole  is a southern Italian dish, with many variations, based upon the family that is cooking.  For most, flank steak is  pounded thin, stuffed with a pesto like filling, rolled, tied and simmered in sauce until fall apart tender.

I have enjoyed braciole made a million different ways, but always seem come back to the way my family makes it. Maybe because of the flavor, but maybe too, because of the familiarity and comfort it brings.

I  love to serve this entree as part of a family style Italian themed dinner party with friends.

I find it’s casual entertaining like this, that  conjeur ups old family memories and laughter around the table. It’s also a great way to discover new recipes, especially if you have your guests share in the food prep, bringing with them a favorite dish from their family cookbooks.

If you take advantage of the make-ahead steps in this recipe, and  prepare the Braciole 1 day ahead, you will  simply need to reheat before serving, ensuring you will be free to relax and have fun with your friends!

Have a look~

You will begin by preparing the sauce (see recipe below).

Next, you will make a pesto filling

Pound flank steak thin, then spread with the pesto filling

Roll up jelly-roll style, tie with butcher’s twine, then slice into 3-inch-thick slices

Brown the little bundles on both sides

Into the pot with sauce they go, and simmer away until melt in your mouth tender

Braciole with Meat Sauce

Serve the Braciole with a side of polenta, pasta, or potatoes.

Meat sauce:

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 country style bone-in pork ribs

2 (28-ounce) cans diced plum tomatoes

½ cup fresh basil leaves

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 (12-ounce) can tomato paste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add pork ribs, sprinkle with salt, and brown on both sides. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juice, tomato paste, and basil to a blender. Pulse to puree. Add pureed tomato mixture to pork. Simmer 2 hours, covered. Remove pork ribs from sauce. Shred the pork, discarding the bones. Mix shredded pork into sauce.


3 pounds ½-inch-thick flank steak

1 cup Romano cheese

¼ cup minced garlic

1 cup golden raisins

½ cup pine nuts

½ cup chopped Italian parsley

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

Butcher’s twine

Pound flank steak with mallet or heavy pan to ¼-inch-thickness. Trim off any fat. Season with salt and pepper.

In a food processor, pulse the cheese, garlic, raisins, pine nuts, and parsley to form a coarse paste. Spread paste evenly over flank steak. Starting at one long end, roll meat up jelly roll style and tie with butcher’s twine in 2-inch intervals to secure.  Slice into 3-inch-thick slices.

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add braciole slice to oil and brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add meat sauce to pan, cover, and simmer over very low heat for 3 hours.

8 servings