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Chicken with Mock Mole Sauce of Almonds, Orange, Chocolate and Sherry

Chicken with Mock Mole Sauce of Almonds, Orange, Chocolate and Sherry

Adapted from Victoria Wise and Susanna Hoffman
Course Entree
Cuisine Mexican
Author TheSpicedLife


  • 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3-4 lbs chicken pieces (I used a mix of breast and thigh, bone in and boneless)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup all natural almond butter
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (for me 4 oranges)
  • 1/2 cup Amontillado dry sherry
  • 2 T tomato paste (I prefer double strength)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 T ancho chile powder
  • 1 cup freshly chopped cilantro, including stems
  • 1 t red wine vinegar
  • 1 t cider vinegar
  • 1 bar (about 3.5 oz) 85% cacao chocolate
  • 1/2 t Ceylon cinnamon
  • cilantro-lime rice to serve


  1. Sprinkle salt and pepper over your chicken pieces.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large heavy pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium heat. When it is shimmering, add the chicken pieces. You may want to add them in batches to prevent steaming depending on the size of your pan. Brown on both sides, about 6-8 minutes, total.
  3. Remove the chicken to a large bowl and set aside.
  4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil with the star anise. When it is roasted and fragrant, but not burned (watch it), add the chopped onion with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and mix it in. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add the almond butter, chicken stock, orange juice, sherry, tomato paste and bay leaf. Mix to incorporate. Mix in the ancho powder with a decent pinch of salt, about half teaspoon.
  7. Add the chicken with accumulated juices back into the pan. Cover tightly and place on the lowest heat to maintain a very gentle simmer.
  8. Cook for 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  9. In the meantime, toss the chopped cilantro with the 2 different kinds of vinegar.
  10. When the chicken is cooked through, remove it to a (new, clean) bowl. Add the chocolate and cinnamon to the sauce and increase the heat to medium high. Stir as the chocolate melts and the sauce simmers.
  11. Let it simmer briskly for 15 minutes, until it has thickened.
  12. Stir the chicken (once again, with accumulated juices) back into the sauce. Stir in the vinegar cilantro mixture. Taste for more salt.
  13. Serve with cilantro lime rice (see below for recipe).