I have made many versions of mole since I left Mexico, but none are as easy and tasty as this recipe. The dried plums may seem unlikely, but they give the sauce its necessary body and note of sweetness. There will be generous amount of the thick, beautifully seasoned mole, so serve the chicken with rice or lots of corn or flour tortillas to soak it up. Reserve any remaining mole for another meal—it is great on soft tacos, in impromptu casseroles, or as a sauce for grilled meats.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken all over with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Place the chicken, skin side down, in the skillet and cook until the underside is browned, about 3 minutes. Flip the chicken and brown the other side, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter.
- Add the remaining tablespoon oil to the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until it is fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they soften and give off some juices, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the ground ancho and cinnamon and stir well. Add the broth and stir to scrape up the browned bits in the pan. Add the prunes and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with the lid ajar. Simmer, stirring occasionally, to blend the flavors but barely reducing the liquid, about 15 minutes. During the last minute, whisk in the peanut butter. Whisk in 1 cup water and remove from the heat.
- In batches, puree the mixture in a blender, being sure to have the lid ajar to allow the steam to escape, and transferring the puree to a bowl. Return to the skillet and add the chicken, skin side up. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. The sauce will be thick. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally and adding water if the sauce is too thick and threatens to burn, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken not touching a bone reads 165ºF, about 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Sprinkle the chocolate into the sauce and stir until it melts. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
- For each serving, transfer a breast half to a shallow, wide soup bowl, and add about ⅓ cup of sauce to each bowl. (Save the remaining sauce for another use. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.) Sprinkle with the cheese and sesame seeds and serve hot.
Rick Rodgers is an award-winning cooking teacher and the author of over 40 cookbooks on a wide range of subjects, including The Big Book of Sides (Ballantine). In addition to writing the TasteBook.com column ‘”Tips from the Test Kitchen,” Rick works with entertainment figures, corporations, and celebrity chefs on their cookbooks. His clients include Tommy Bahama, Frankie Avalon, Patti LaBelle, and Williams-Sonoma. See more of his work on www.RickRodgers.com.