A cooking and baking journal

News Flash: The Next Food Network Star Winner Wins with Popovers

3/4/10: Chicken Mole and Fool-Proof Popovers

Note: No, I didn't mix up my days of the week! I was under the weather last Sunday so wasn't able to cook until Thursday.

Meal details: For the main course I made Chicken Mole, a Mexican dish that has shredded chicken and a sauce comprised of chilies, onions, chicken stock, and chocolate. And for a side, I made popovers.

Defining moments: This would be my first time making AND tasting mole sauce and popovers. Another amazing moment (and kind of funny, too!) for this time is that I recorded both of these dishes being demonstrated on T.V. That usually doesn't happen!

Recipe sources: The mole sauce is a recipe created by Marcela Valladolid, the host of the new Food Network show, Mexican Made Easy. The mole sauce was meant to be used for enchiladas, but I decided to just use it as a sauce over chicken. Easier and faster to do!
The popover recipe is from Melissa d'Arabian, the host of Ten Dollar Dinners on Food Network. I made sure I did this recipe because I am part of the Food Network Chef Cooking Challenge that is being hosted by the writer of the I Thank My Mother blog.

What I learned: I learned from doing this popover recipe that I don't need a special popover pan. All I need is a muffin pan and those I have! The finished popover may not look as nice but my family is OK with a rustic looking popover.
When I was making the popovers I ran into a scary moment. I had to brush the muffin pans with a bit of melted butter and preheat the pans in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes. When I took out the hot pans to pour the batter in, I found the butter to be dark brown and even black in some spots!
"That isn't how it looked on T.V.," I thought. I knew there was nothing I could do at that point so I just decided to go for it. I'm glad I did because the dark butter color didn't interfere with the rising or taste of the popovers. They turned out just fine. Whew! I'm glad they did.
Oh, another little tip. Fill the muffin holes 2/3 way with batter, that's just the right amount.
I also learned about a new cheese I haven't had before. On top of the mole chicken I placed some Asiago cheese slices. Asiago cheese is made from cow's milk and can come in both fresh and aged forms; I used the fresh which melts quickly and is smooth. The fresh Asiago taste somewhat mozzarella, but a mozzarella with a bit of sharpness.

Any modifications? Yes, I made some to the chicken mole recipe.

1. First I changed the whole idea of the recipe. Instead of enchiladas I simply combined shredded chicken and mole sauce.
2. I used frozen Ancho peppers (from my family's farm) instead of dried Ancho chilies.
4. I used less peanut butter, about half the amount. I did this because when I first tasted it, I thought it was becoming too strong.
5. I used Asiago cheese on top.
6. And finally, I used a combination of semi-sweet chocolate, cinnamon, and almond extract in replace of the Mexican chocolate.

I have to point out here that I was very glad to see all the substitution suggestions Marcela has on the bottom of her recipes. It really shows that she is aware of the fact that not all grocery stores carry these over-the-border ingredients. It comes in real handy for those people (like moi) who can't find anything where I live!

How it tasted? Well, let me first begin with the good news. The popovers were GREAT. Everyone loved them. Now, about the mole sauce. Well. . . (said in an Ethel Mertz sort of way) I didn't like it much. Too extra├▒o for me and most of the family; I sort of saw that one coming, to tell you the truth! I'm glad I tried it out and who knows maybe I will find a better recipe for mole sauce, I never had it before so I'm not sure what it is suppose to be like.

How about a 2nd time? I will certainly do the popovers again, I was very pleased with them. The mole will probably not be seeing the light of day soon. ;)

You wouldn't believe the joy on my face when I turned on the oven light and saw these through the glass window. I kept on thinking, "They worked, they worked!"

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! We used tomake popovers with my mom growing up....I need to make them with my girls. I also have never tried mole sauce but just saw something on FN about it this week (and I very rarely ever watch food network these days). The pictures make me want to try the popovers NOW :) Thanks for cooking with FNCCC~