Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mash-Up: Grilled Chicken Tostado with Sweet & Sour Vegetables

We don't watch much TV round these parts, but Glee is always DVRed. Don't hate on us. We are, afterall, a theatre family and that means musical theatre. Hey - we knew who Lea Michele was even before Glee!

Of course one of the coolest things about Glee is the mash-ups, when they work. Like this:

When the mash-ups don't work (and there are some that don't) they can range from meh to stinkers.

It's with this in mind that we experimented with a little culinary mashup tonight. Our recipe of choice was Eating Well's Grilled Chicken Tostadas with Sweet-and-Sour Vegetables.

But here's the thing. This recipe called for 13 ingredients in the Mole Sauce. And Necessary Pleasures reader Stuart Oates shared his 4 ingredient Mole Sauce a couple of weeks ago and we've been waiting for a chance to try it.

And here's the other thing. We also didn't have some of the original ingredients for the Sweet-and-Sour Vegetables. And we had veggies in the fridge that needed used.

So, here's our mash-up version of Grilled Chicken Tostadas with Sweet-and-Sour Vegetables. Our substitutions are in parenthesis.

  • 4 teaspoons chili powder, preferably made with New Mexico or ancho chiles (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (we're out, so we left it out)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

MOLE SAUCE (Living Well's version)
  • 3 dried ancho or New Mexico chiles
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 3 medium tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

MOLE SAUCE (Stuart's version)
  • 8 ancho peppers
  • 2 - 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1tsp salt

  • 2 cups diced carrot (didn't have 'em)
  • 1 cup diced summer squash (didn't have 'em... used shredded bok choy instead)
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

12 tostada shells (used tortilla chips instead)


1. To prepare adobo rub and chicken: Combine chili powder, lime juice, oil, cumin, onion powder, garlic power, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub 2 tablespoons of adobo rub generously all over chicken breasts (the remaining rub can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days). Let marinate for 30 minutes or wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

2. To prepare mole sauce: Tear chiles into pieces; discard stems and seeds. Place in a bowl, add boiling water and soak until the chiles are soft, about 30 minutes. Pour the chiles and soaking liquid into a blender. Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, vinegar, flour, sugar, cumin, pepper, cayenne to taste and cloves; blend until smooth. Strain the sauce through a sieve to filter out any remaining seeds and skins, pressing out as much liquid as possible from the solids. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sauce and cook, stirring frequently, until it thickens and reduces to about 2 cups, 10 to 20 minutes. Season with 3/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

3. Stuart's version: Open, de-vein and remove seeds from the chiles. Place anchos in an empty ceramic or metal bowl. Bring two cups of water to a boil, then pour over the chiles, making sure the chiles are completely covered. Allow to soak for one hour. (Chiles can be boiled for faster softening time, but the aroma from the chiles is very strong when they are boiled. The soaking saves sensitive noses.) Take softened chiles and place in a blender along with the other ingredients.  Pour in two cups of chile soaking water. Blend to a puree.

4. To prepare sweet-&-sour vegetables: Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add carrots and cook for 7 minutes. Add squash, vinegar, oregano, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Continue cooking until the vegetables are just tender, 2 to 3 minutes more. Drain, transfer to a bowl and season with more pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

5. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to grill the chicken, preheat grill to medium. When ready to cook, oil the grill rack. Grill the chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165°F, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean cutting board, let rest for 5 minutes and slice into 1/2-inch strips. (Or, if it's not grilling season - like February! - just saute in some EVOO on the stove)

6. To assemble tostadas: Place 2 tostada shells on each plate. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of the mole sauce over each tostada, then top each with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the vegetables. Divide the chicken among the tostadas and drizzle with more mole sauce. Serve with taco garnishes as desired. (We had guacamole and salsa on hand)

One tip (errrr... or confession): When I do this mash-up stuff I rarely tell Jason about it ahead of time. He's more of a recipe kinda guy and gets a little freaked out when I go all rogue in the kitchen. Better to ask forgiveness afterwards than permission before, right?!?

So, the reviews:

Chef Tanya -- It was okay. The bok choy was too bitter, but I don't think it was the veggie so much as the sauce. I suspect carrots and zucchini cooked in vinegar would've tasted icky to me as well. The chicken was good. Stuart's Mole Sauce was spicy (!) but good.

Jason -- I thought it was pretty good. Some of the things in it were sweet, and  certainly it was spicy. The bok choy was ... was it supposed to go in it?! (I smile coyly) It wasn't supposed to go in there, was it? I loved it when Tanya just makes things up ;-) (smiley face inserted by Tanya).

Olivia -- Spicy, spicy, spicy. And the bok choy, "ew!" And that's my full review.

Hannah -- I loved the chicken. It was spicy, but it was really good.

Miranda -- (was at the theatre again tonight ... remember, theatre family.)


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