Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Ulterior Motives

Company for dinner is often little more than a cover, here at Itadakimasu. I know, we look sweet and innocent, but you have no idea what's lurking once you're ensconced in a chair and well fed.... Because once you're wined and dined and unsuspecting, we pull out the big red box of Scattergories and dig in properly.

Matt introduced me to the game shortly after we got together, and I'm an unashamed convert.

That said, tonight's dinner was a pretty tasty cover for a few rounds of Scattergories with some excellent company.

We prefaced the game with what I've termed "Cheater's Chicken Mole" - a dish with the flavour of its far more complex ancestor, and an appealingly short list of ingredients, for those of us on a student budgets and jam-packed schedules. The recipe is one I tasted first at a dinner party at another friend's house, and then found in the Epicurious archives. My (current) version goes something as follows.

Cheater's Chicken Mole
adapted from Bon Appetit

2 chicken legs/thighs and 1 breast, all skinless and boneless (what I had on hand - thigh meat is best, as the original calls for)
2 tablespoons ground cumin
olive oil
1 1/2 yellow onions, one thinly sliced, the last half coarsely chopped (reserve for serving)
28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons minced chipotle chiles
1 tablespoon adobo sauce (I had chipotles in adobo, which worked perfectly)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
salt to taste
large handful cilantro, coarsely chopped
steamed rice (for serving)

Cut the chicken into large pieces (about six per piece, depending on the size, really - perhaps three-bite-sized?) and sprinkle generously with cumin.

In a large pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until it shimmers and then add the chicken, browning on all sides. Add (only!) the sliced onion and saute until just softened. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, chipotle, adobo sauce and chocolate and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer until the chicken is done.The original recipe calls for 20 minutes. I probably let mine go for closer to 45 - until we were too hungry to wait any longer. I also took the chicken pieces out to shred with a fork about halfway through. This isn't necessary, but it's how I like the dish.

Spoon the chicken and sauce over steamed rice and top with chopped onion and cilantro. Serve with warm corn tortillas, if you are a tortilla person.

We followed it up with a batch of these cookies from Orangette. They are, in a word, killer. Mine are not nearly so pretty as the originals, but I daresay they taste almost as good.

Oh, and do yourself a favour and pull out the box of Scattergories afterwards. You won't be disappointed.


dana said...

dana: hey ab, check out these sweet pics of great food
ab: wow! whose are these? this looks amazing
dana: its shannons, shes a genuis
ab: why the hell arent we doing potluck with them?
actual factual conversation as of 30 sec ago...so the gauntlet is thrown :) and we (esp. me) miss you both

Shannon said...

Dana-chan! Miss you too. And I accept the gauntlet gladly... Flattery gets you everywhere. Pick a day and I'll see what I can pull together. We have an actual table and chairs now, too!

littlebijoux said...

YAY! I'm so glad you used my recipe. Or, I mean, Bon Appetit's recipe. It's pretty easy, and really really tasty- I was super happy about that. Your presentation is super cute, too.

Your cookies look thrilling.

We should just get together and cook, I think.