Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos

Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos

There is a lot of folk lore surrounding the creation of mole poblano — the chocolate chili sauce Mexico is so known for.

One theory is that a convent of nuns invented mole for an archbishop in an effort to impress him, when no other ingredients could be found. Another story says that it was all a mistake, that a monk (rather than a nun) first made the dish for the archbishop when he accidentally knocked several stray spices into the pot. Either way, both versions tie the sauce back to over 300 years ago!

It’s no wonder there is so much speculation over the dish’s origins… mole sauce recipes typically call for a hefty list of seemingly random ingredients. But that’s part of the magic: it may not strike you that raisins and tomatoes and chili powder and cocoa will blend well together, but sure enough, the result is stellar. Spicy, tangy, with a rich backdrop, thanks to the chocolate.

Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos
Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos

Something else stays consistent across almost every origin story, and that’s that mole is for special occasions. My dad will slave over a batch of mole for Christmas dinner; and me? I usually save it for a day when I know I can sit down and really take the time to enjoy the meal.

Such a complex sauce does not need many frills. Simmer some chicken (or turkey, or pork, or black beans, or whatever you have) until tender, and then serve simply. All you need for a fancy taco is a corn tortilla, some chicken in mole sauce and a sprinkle of cilantro. A few thin slices of red onion certainly brighten it up, and why not — a few pepitas on top for crunch (you have them out from making the sauce, anyhow). Now, this isn’t the traditional way to serve mole, which is over a bed of rice, but it’s easy nonetheless, and everything is delicious as a taco.

Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos

Slow Cooker Mole Chicken Tacos

Published December 18, 2018 by
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Serves: 6-8   |    Active Time: 60 active minutes



Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder
  • 2 chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce, plus 1 teaspoon of the adobo sauce from the can (find canned chipotles in adobo in the Mexican section of your grocery store. Most canned have quite a few peppers, use a spoon to scoop out two)
  • 1 16-oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • 1/4 cup pepitas, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 2-3 inches long)
  • For serving: corn tortillas, cilantro, finely sliced red onion

  • Directions:

    1. In a skillet, or the bottom of you Instant Pot/Slow Cooker (set to the Sauté setting), heat coconut oil and sauté onion and garlic until onion is transparent. Turn off heat once onions are cooked.
    2. Transfer the onion mixture to a blender, and add cocoa, chili powder, chipotles and adobo sauce, canned tomatoes, cumin, coriander, anise, black pepper, salt, ground cloves, pepitas, sesame seeds, and raisins. Place lid on blender and purée until smooth.
    3. Place chicken in the bottom of your Instant Pot/Slow Cooker. Pour sauce over top, and add cinnamon stick. Place lid on pot and set to slow cook on “medium” for 6 hours or “high” for 4 hours.
    4. When timer goes off, cut chicken into bite-sized pieces (should fall apart easily) and serve in warm tortillas topped with fresh cilantro, red onion, and pepitas.

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    Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Creamy Wild Rice, Chicken & Mushroom Soup (Instant Pot recipe!)

    Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Creamy Wild Rice, Chicken & Mushroom Soup

    This creamy soup with wild rice, chicken, and mushrooms is comfy, cozy, homeyness in a bowl. 

    One of my favorite dishes from childhood was wild rice with a cream of chicken and mushroom. It was my dad's signature, and was super satisfying. This soup is the "grown up" version of that dish: it's made using whole, raw ingredients (no soup mix here!), which I think gives it even more flavor than the version I grew up with. And while most wild rice soups ask you to make a roux with flour, this recipes skips that step all together. I don't think you'll miss the roux... made in a slow cooker (I use the slow cooker setting on my Instant Pot (affiliate link!)), the rice in this soup gives it an extra creamy texture, and the addition of half-and-half at the end makes it stick-to-your-bones good. 

    Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Creamy Wild Rice, Chicken & Mushroom Soup

    Soup season is something I look forward to because soup is just the right sort of creative playground for trying different flavors. Specifically, creamy flavors. Yes, I have been on a bit of creamy soup kick: first this homestyle sausage & potato soup, and now this. Adding a little bit of cream to soups makes them infinitely more cozy... try coconut milk, like in this Lemongrass Chicken Soup, or cheese, like this artichoke provolone soup, or even puréed cauliflower, like this cauliflower & parsnip soup. And of course, make this wild rice concoction. This soup, I think, is one you need to make before the end of the month. Your Instant Pot is begging you. 

    Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Creamy Wild Rice, Chicken & Mushroom Soup

    Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Creamy Wild Rice, Chicken & Mushroom Soup

    Published February 6, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 30 active minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 1 onion, diced
    • 2 stalks celery, diced
    • 2 carrots, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon coconut oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 
    • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme 
    • 2 bay leaves 
    • 1 pound chicken thighs OR breasts - boneless, skinless 
    • 1 cup wild rice, uncooked
    • 1/2 c white wine
    • 6 cups chicken broth
    • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced - (crimini, baby bella, and white mushrooms all work well)
    • 1 cup half-and-half 
    • To serve: 1/4 cup minced parlsey

    Directions:

    1. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil in the bottom of your Instant Pot (affiliate link!) on the Sauté setting. Add diced onions, celery, carrots and garlic.
    2. Sauté until the onion is transparent, and then add the salt, black pepper, thyme, bay leaves, chicken, rice, white wine, and 4 cups of broth to the pot. Turn pot to “Slow Cooker” setting and cook on high for 8 hours with the vent in the sealed position.
    3. After 8 hours, release any steam and open the pot. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove chicken from soup and set in a large bowl. Use two forks to shred chicken. Then, return chicken to pot and stir.
    4. Cook the mushrooms: heat remaining 1 teaspoon coconut oil in a skillet until it glistens. Then, sauté the mushrooms until they are softened through and seared on both sides. Add cooked mushrooms to soup, along with 2 remaining cups of broth and 1 cup of half-and-half. Stir.
    5. Serve hot in bowls, topped with minced parsley.

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    Slow Cooker Chili con Carne

    Chile con Carne
    Slow Cooker Chili con Carne

    It is 5am but I have given up on sleep. I awoke from a nightmare at 4am, and have been up since. Writing this post seemed like the thing to do when I finally gave up on sleeping, because in the quiet it's easy to write, and because the warmth of my own kitchen was exactly the comfort I needed in that moment. It is a bit to early to eat Chili con Carne, so I'm drinking coffee as I write this instead, and it'll do. 

    I knew it was a dream, because I wasn't me, and I didn't know the people I was with. Still, it was vivid. I drove down the highway, with a passenger--a man- in the seat to my right, and two people in the back. I saw it as it happened, some twenty cars ahead of me: a collision. And then before I even had time to blink an eye, the car in front of me had halted. It seemed bigger than it had before. Is that possible? Either way, the vehicle in front of us was closer to my windshield than felt possible, and even though I was already braking it was too late. I felt myself flying forward, now in slow motion, and wondered for a split second if the airbags would go off, and what they would feel like. 

    I woke then, with a start. My heart racing, panic in my breath, and a scream in my throat. For a few minutes, I could still picture it perfectly, and wondered their fate. But I knew. It seemed an odd dream to me: I had no idea who the people were, and for the life of me I couldn't remember the beginning of the dream, the part that gave some context. I hardly ever remember my dreams, once a year at most. 

    And there I was, back in my own room, under the covers (which were much too warm), with no sounds but the wind lapping the window and my own elevated heart rate. I rolled over and checked the time: 4am. I knew I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep, but I tried anyways. For an hour I laid there, thinking first of the dream and then letting my mind wander. It stumbled straight to this chili con carne. Perhaps it was just the growing anxiety that I needed to write this post and was procrastinating, or perhaps I was seeking comfort. The kitchen--cooking- has always been comfort to me. And what is more comforting that a steaming bowl of spicy stew? Plus, my tummy rumbled.

    My mind hovered there for several minutes: guajillo chilis aren't very spicy but they have solid flavor, especially when turned into a sauce. This particular slow cooked chili con carne also calls for a tablespoon of cocoa powder--something my roommate was skeptical of- but it lends a smooth, rich note that you wouldn't otherwise get. There's no taste of chocolate, just an added richness that provides the chilis with a backdrop. 

    Sauce aside this stew is simple, and exactly what it sounds like. Meat in chili sauce. You put beef chuck in your Instant Pot/Slow Cooker (affiliate link), and you add the sauce. That's it! I also like to add some red kidney beans, but this is completely optional (skip them for Paleo). And since the stew is so simple, it gives you time and room to play with toppings. Fresh cilantro, avocado, slices of lime, or minced red onion. Cheese is pretty good too (duh). 

    Slow Cooker Chili con Carne
    Slow Cooker Chili con Carne

    Slow Cooker Chili con Carne

    Published January 9, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 12.5 hrs



    Ingredients:

    • 4 dried guajillo chiles (find them in the ethnic food isle, or online here (affiliate link))
    • 3 cups broth (beef or chicken)
    • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
    • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional, adds spice)
    • 1 teaspoon salt 
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper 
    • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes 
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 
    • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice 
    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil 
    • 2 pounds beef chuck, cubed
    • 1 onion, diced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 bay leaves 
    • Optional: 1 14-ounce can red kidney beans, strained and rinsed (skip for Paleo-friendly)
    • For serving: cilantro, red onion, avocado, limes

    Directions:

    1. Heat a skillet over medium heat, and toast the chiles until they are fragrant. Then, carefully remove the stems and place the chiles in a blender jar along with the broth, chipotle chiles, chili powder, optional cayenne, salt, black pepper, can of tomatoes, cumin, oregano, coriander, allspice, cocoa powder, and lime juice. Blender until smooth, and set aside.
    2. Set your Instant Pot or Slow Cooker to the Sauté setting, and heat the coconut oil. Once it glistens, add the beef chuck, browning the pieces on all sides (about 3 minutes each side). Add the onion and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until fragrant. (Note: if your slow cooker does not have this setting, use a skillet on the stove over medium heat, and then transfer meat, garlic and onions to your slow cooker).
    3. Pour sauce into slow cooker over meat, and add two bay leaves. Add red kidney beans at this time if using. Stir and then secure lid on pot. Set to medium heat and cook for 12 hours.
    4. When ready to serve, garnish with cilantro, red onion, and lime wedges.

    2 Comments