Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Farewell to Summer

I have officially given up on summer. Usually we have hot weather well into October. But this year there was almost no hot weather at all. The mornings are already cool and crisp and you can feel the fall chill already in the air. I love fall, but I missed having a real summer. With a sigh, I cooked my first pumpkin dish for dinner and acknowledged that I don’t get to vote; autumn has arrived.

I am always reviewing my collection of old Bon Appetit magazines for recipes. This week I saw one where they listed Tom Colicchio as a rising star. I got a good chuckle from that. I found a recipe for grilled chicken with a pumpkin mole by Rick Bayless, one of my favorite celebrity chefs. He was already listed as a “legend” back in 2003 when this recipe was published. There was no canned pumpkin in the grocery stores yet, but luckily I had some in the pantry. I had also requested that Larry look for red corn this week, as I wanted to try the recipe I had seen in spcookiequeen’s post Red Corn-Wonder What It Tastes Like?

So I bowed to the changing of the seasons and made the pumpkin mole, red corn and served it with an avocado and tomato salad. I changed the corn recipe slightly to make it a little more Latin flavored and to use the peppers I already had in the frig. I used a red, rather than yellow pepper, substituted a Thai bird chili for an Anaheim pepper and added the cilantro. This turned out to be an excellent recipe.

Same for the chicken mole. My version always ends up a little different because I tend to use what I have on hand, rather than buying new ingredients. Here’s my version and we loved it:

Grilled Chicken with Creamy Pumpkin Mole Sauce

1 dried arbol chili, stemmed, seeded, torn into pieces
Vegetable oil
1 white onion sliced into rings
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 slice buttermilk bread, crust removed
¾ c canned diced tomatoes, drained
1 can low salt chicken broth
2 canned chipotle chilis
1 can pure pumpkin
1/3 c heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp dark brown sugar

4 boneless chicken breasts
Fresh cilantro sprigs
Lime wedges
Salt and pepper

Heat large pot over medium heat. Add arbol chili pieces and toast pressing and turning pieces with a potato masher about 2 minutes. Set aside one piece for garnish. Transfer remaining pieces to small bowl and cover with hot water. Soak until soft, about 20 minutes.

In the same pot, heat oil and sauté onion rings and garlic until brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Add bread slice to pot and with remaining oil, toast until golden, about 30 seconds per side. Add bread to processor (reserve pot). Add tomatoes to processor and puree mixture until smooth. Transfer mixture to bowl. Don’t clean processor yet.

Drain arbol chilis and put in food processor. Add ½ c chicken broth, 2 chipotle chilis and puree until smooth.

Add 1 Tbsp oil to reserved pot and heat over medium heat. Add arbol chili puree and cook until mixture thickens, stirring often, about 1 ½ minutes. Add tomato puree mixture. Simmer, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Whisk in pumpkin and the rest of the can of broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until thickens, 15 – 20 minutes. Whisk in cream and brown sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Grill chicken breasts. Spoon mole sauce onto chicken. Crumble reserved arbol chili on top. Garnish with cilantro sprigs and serve with lime wedge.


  1. If I lived closer I'd volunteer to eat the leftovers for lunch! That looks great!! Kate

  2. I was just stacking firewood last night so I agree, summer is over!

    I think we got all the heat in one shot during the summer. I love fall, but it seems cooler, earlier which can't be a good thing.

    I love the pumpkin mole sauce. We can get fresh pumkpins already so the lack of canned pumpkin in the stores shouldn't be a problem with some added effort. Hopefully the pumpkin crop doesn't get beat up like last year which I think is why there hasn't been much canned pumpkin yet this year.


  3. Judy,

    It makes me sad to think it, but I'm pretty sure summer has left us! Thank you so much for trying the corn and making it your own. Your pumpkin mole sounds fantastic. I adore getting all these great ideas from everyone!

  4. So sad to see summer go! But if dishes like this mole are the result, I'm okay with that! Looks great.

  5. I love a good mole. And red corn? Wow! Really a sight to behold. ;)