Mole Risotto with Chicken and Avocado Puree - Daring Cooks Mar '10

Mole Risotto Close up

The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of

MelbournefoodGeek

and Jess of

Jessthebaker

. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make

Risotto

. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the

Australian Masterchef cookbook

and the cookbook

Moorish

by Greg Malouf.

I think it's the perfect dish for a challenge! First of all, I love risotto. It is the perfect comfort food that can be so easily dressed to any occasion from the light spring provencal to pure indulgence with lobster et all. From a challenge perspective, it is indeed a fantastic choice given the attention that it requires to get it just right. And, it's versatility means there are going some incredible creations from Daring Cooks that I just cannot wait to browse through!

Mole Risotto with avocado puree + Avocado wrapped chicken

As for myself, I decided a blend of cuisines was in order... As soon as I read the challenge, chocolate came to my mind. But, chocolate risotto neither sounded innovative nor did I want a sweet risotto. So, I turned around, told Mr. FSK the month's theme and asked him what flavors he'd like. He sweetly said "You decide dear. I think of only the traditional, but you come up esoteric combinations". Now, what can I say to that?? Smooth talker, he is!

And then, out of nowhere, the thought of

Mexican Mole

floated into my mind...

Mole Risotto Close up 2

I have never made mole before and knowing how difficult it is to make, never really had the nerve to try it. Plus, Mr. FSK is super picky about his Mexican food, having been exposed to some awesome food during his stay at Austin. All very daunting... all very stimulating...

It's a challenge after all. I have made risotto before with success with rice and other grains (like the Pumpkin Barley Risotto I made for Halloween last year). So, I thought I would challenge myself with making mole. Interestingly, the web did not have any result for this combination of Mexican and Italian.. Even more incentive..

Chicken Avocado close up

The mandatory parts of this challenge included making the stock and the risotto base. The home made stock was fantastic! I used it to make the risotto base as well as the mole. This was what I call a self-sustaining recipe. I also reused the cooked chicken from making the stock for the protein element of the risotto dish. I shredded the meat and then lightly sauteed it with salt and paprika for flavor.

As to the Mole, it's a whole saga on it's own, reserved for another post. Let me just say here that all the effort to make it was totally worth it! It is rich and smooth with multiple layers of flavor which cook together into a mellow sauce over many hours. The richness of the sauce is paired beautifully with the creamy and starchy risotto. To cut in some freshness, avocado seemed perfect - Mexican, rich and creamy! Oh and the green contrasts nicely against the brown, don't you think?! Drizzled with toasted sesame seeds and grated queso, it was a truly satisfying meal!

Mole Risotto with avocado puree + Avocado wrapped chicken 2

Now, I am off to see what everyone else at

Daring Kitchen

has created for this challenge. Oh! So exciting!!

Mole Risotto with Chicken and Avocado Puree

(serves 2)

For the Risotto:

1 cup risotto rice (I used Arborio)

1/2 medium onion, finely diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup white wine

3 cup chicken stock (recipe below)

1 generous cup of Mole (

recipe

from Rick Bayless)

For the Chicken:

cooked chicken from the stock making, shredded

salt and paprika as needed

olive oil to saute

For the Avocado Puree:

1/2 ripe avocado

1 tsp lime juice

2 T heavy cream (you may need more or less depending on avocado's ripeness)

salt to taste

To make the Risotto:

Heat oil in a pan and add onion and garlic. Saute for a few minutes. Add the rice and stir for a few minutes to coat each grain of rice with oil and toast slightly. Add half the wine and let it bubble away until evaporated. Add enough stock to cover the rice by a fingerโ€™s width (about an inch or two). Don't actually stick your finger in, it will be hot. Just eye it off.

Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time, until most of the stock has been absorbed. As the liquid gets absorbed, add more stock one ladle at a time until you have used all but quarter cup of stock. Test the rice for done-ness. It should be almost cooked at this stage.

Add a cup of mole and wait for it to be absorbed. Add the rest, turn the rice a couple of times to coat nicely. Stir in the remaining stock and remove from heat. Serve immediately.

To prepare the Chicken:

Lightly saute the chicken in olive oil with salt and paprika, till golden brown and flavored well.

To make the Avocado Puree:

Blend all ingredients together to make a smooth, creamy mixture. Add more cream and lemon juice according to the consistency you want. I quennelled my puree, so it was thick.

Chicken Stock

1 large chicken 2-3 pounds about 1 kg

chicken bones 2-3 pounds 1 kg

2 onions, roughly diced

1 medium leek - white part only, roughly diced

2 sticks celery, roughly diced

2 cloves garlic, halved

1 cinnamon stick

1 tsp. white peppercorns ( Any type of whole peppercorn will do)

2 bay leaves (fresh or dried, it doesn't matter.)

peel of 1/2 lemon

1/4 tsp. allspice

Wash the chicken and bones and places in a 5 Litre pot, cover completely with water and bring to a boil. Skim away any scum as it comes to the surface. Add the vegetables and bring back to a boil. Add the rest remaining ingredients and simmer very gently, uncovered for 1.5 hours.

Carefully lift out the chicken, set aside. The chicken meat can be removed from the chicken, shredded off and used for other things like soup! Simmer the stock gently for another hour. At the end you should have around 2 Liters.

Carefully ladle the liquid into a fine sieve, the less the bones and vegetables are disturbed in this process the clearer the stock will be. โ€จThe stock is now ready for use. Freeze what you don't need for later use.