In the food world you hear terms thrown around so casually. Words like confit, reduction, braise, semifreddo. I even see those words being used wrong so often, their meanings seem to change as more and more people republish inaccurate content. Braise is one of those terms.
Maybe it’s ignorance, maybe it’s an attempt to fancy-up boiled chicken to make it sound more impressive or maybe it’s just the result of blindly believing everything that’s posted online. As I post the definition of braise, I hope an inherent skepticism creeps into you, it should. Anyone can post anything online and hit "Publish". I have no editor, or fact checker, I don’t even have any consequences if I publish inaccurate content. Just the reputation as a reliable, solid source of information that is important to me, an integrity in writing that I hope to keep in tact. And for that, I’ll give you three sources, that you are free to check at your leisure.
A cooking method by which food (usually meat or vegetables)
is first browned in fat, then cooked, tightly covered,
in a small amount of liquid at low heat for a lengthy period of time.
For this recipe I chose Allagash Black, one of my favorite beers of all time. It’s a stout that has notes of caramel, chocolate, coffee and roasted malt and such well-balanced flavors it not only incredibly perfect for mole, it’s a beer I will always list in among my Top 5 of All Time. It’s a beer that I urge you to seek out, whether you decided to make this recipe or not.
If you can’t find Allagash Black, look for a Stout with coffee and chocolate notes. This is a recipe that is on the difficult side and the flavors are in a delicate balance. Choosing the right beer will make all the difference.
Beer Braised Enchiladas with Beer Mole
6 boneless chicken thigh fillets
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 to 2/3 cup Stout Beer such as Allagash Black
2/3 cup mozzarella cheese
For the Mole:
2 dried ancho chilies, stem and seeds removed
2 dried anaheim chilies, stem and seeds removed
2 dried guajillo chilies, stem and seeds removed
1 stick mexican cinnamon
1 cup Stout Beer such as Allagash Black
1/2 cup of water
1/4 cup dry roasted almonds
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate
3/4 cup Stout Beer such as Allagash Black
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tsp sesame oil
1/4 cup tomato puree
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbs sugar
1 tbs creamy peanut butter
Toppings (if desired):
1/2 cup mexican crema
2 tbs chopped green onions
In a pot over medium heat, at the 3 types of dried chilies, the prunes, cinnamon stick, 1 cup beer and enough water to submerge the chilies. Bring to a boil, cover and remove from heat. Allow to soak, covered for 20 minutes.
In a skillet, add the almonds and toast over high heat, tossing frequently until toasted, about 5 minutes, remove from skillet and add to a food processor. In the same skillet, add the olive oil and allow to get hot but not smoking. Add the onions and sauté until translucent, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add to the food processor.
In a pot over medium high heat, add the 3/4 cup beer, 3/4 cup chicken broth and chocolate. Cook until the chocolate has melted, stirring frequently. Once the chocolate has melted, add the contents of the pot to the food processor along with the sesame oil, tomato puree, smoked paprika, sugar and peanut butter. Removed the chilies and the prunes that have been soaking from the pot and add to the food processor, discard the cinnamon stick. Turn the food processor on and puree until smooth, about five minutes. Add a bit of the soaking liquid from the chilies pot to achieve the right consistency. Return the mole to a pot on the stove to keep warm, adding more soaking liquid or hot water to thin if mole starts to thicken.
To make the chicken:
Sprinkle each side of the chicken thigh fillets with salt. Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium high heat. Add the chicken thighs and cook on each side until slightly browned. Add enough beer to barely cover the chicken, cover and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Allow to simmer until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and shred with two forks.
Fill warm tortillas with shredded chicken, and cheese, roll and place 3 or four on each plate. Top with mole sauce, mexican crema and green onions.