RECIPE

Joly Mole-Rubbed Chicken or Beef Tacos and Mean Green Rice

Chocolate is the surprise ingredient in these tasty tacos. Olé!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups chicken stock, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 cup packed spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 4 scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 ancho pepper, seeded and stem removed
  • 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes (15 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (half a palmful)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast (6 ounces) or 4 flat-iron steaks
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup hot pickled vegetables (giardiniera salad), drained and chopped
  • 1 Haas avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime

Preparation

Bring 1 1/2 cups chicken stock and butter to a boil. Stir in the rice and cover, reducing the heat to a simmer.

In a food processor, process 1/4 cup chicken stock along with the spinach, cilantro, jalapeño or serrano pepper and scallions into a thick paste. Scrape into a bowl, then rinse out the processor bowl and return it to the base.

Combine the ancho and the remaining 1 1/4 cups stock in small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer to soften the pepper. When soft, process the pepper and stock with the fire-roasted tomatoes. Place the tomato paste in the pot the ancho and stock were cooked in and stir for 30 seconds over medium heat. Stir in the ancho-tomato sauce, season with pepper and simmer and thicken 12-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and pre-heat the oven to 300˚F. Combine the chili powder, cocoa powder and cinnamon in a small bowl. Season the chicken or beef with salt and pepper, then rub the mole spice blend into meat. Add the oil to pan and wipe it around the entire pan. Add the meat and cook 12 minutes for chicken and 8-9 minutes for flat-iron steaks, turning once halfway through.

Wrap the tortillas in foil and place in oven to warm through.

Add the reserved spinach mixture to rice, stir to combine. Cover the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.

Remove the meat to a cutting board. Let the meat rest under a loose foil tent and add another tablespoon of oil to skillet. Add the onion and pepper and season with salt and pepper. Cook the onion and pepper for 7-8 minutes to soften, then place on a serving platter or divide among dinner plates. Slice the meat and add to platter or plate alongside onion and pepper. Place the giardiniera in small bowl as well as the ancho-tomato sauce. Arrange the slices of avocado on a plate and dress with lime juice.

Fluff the green rice with a fork and place in a serving dish. To make the tacos, pile the sliced meat in the flour tortillas and top with a little ancho-tomato sauce, some onion, pepper, hot relish and a slice or two of avocado. Serve with the green rice alongside.

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Rachael Ray