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24 Sep 2017

Toronto

By Gracie Carroll

The Dinner Party: Tacocaine

By Gracie Carroll

Last week, I mentioned having hosted quite a crazy New Year’s Eve-Eve dinner party while a bunch of my besties were still in town. The theme was Thai, and there were twelve of us. The dinner was a hit, and since then, the core Toronto-based group of friends vowed to take turns hosting a themed dinner party every other Friday night. Usually this sort of enthusiastic commitment wears off once the hangover disappears, but credit must be given to Steph who stuck to her guns and hosted dinner party #2, two Fridays later.

Since this was to be her first time hosting a dinner party, she and I collaborated to make things a bit easier. Steph was/is my little dinner party grasshopper! She came up with a theme: Mexican. I came up with a name: Tacocaine. It was perfect! Because we love tacos and margaritas so much (who doesn’t?) I got SO excited that I created a collage invite that very night. View it HERE. I mean, who would say no to an invite like that, right?

In the lead up to the party, I researched recipes and came up with the perfect menu – then passed the very long list of groceries over to Steph. Good deal, non? I thought so. We were to make a pineapple salsa from scratch, then stuffed Jalapenos and shrimp ceviche to start. For the main, green chicken mole and spiced chorizo with potato wrapped up in soft tortillas, along with garnish and a side of black bean and corn salad. It sure was a feast, and a delicious one at that!

To be honest, I’ve never really attempted to cook authentic Mexican food before, and Steph has never really attempted to cook anything at all. Saying that, she was the most incredible kitchen helper and even made the salsa and salad ALL. BY. HER. SELF! Yay Steph! What I was really impressed with (and I think is safe to say it was the dinner winner that night) was the recipe for the green chicken mole that I had found through Saveur magazine. It was straightforward, fairly easy to make, and didn’t require any very hard-to-get ingredients – it was also so good that I highly recommend you try it out at home! So here you go…

Recipe: Saveur’s Mole Verde Zacatecano  

SERVES 6

FOR THE CHICKEN:

1 3–4-lb. whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

1/2 cup chopped cilantro stems

2 tbsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. whole black peppercorns

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 bay leaf

 

FOR THE MOLE:

8 oz. tomatillos, peeled and chopped

2 jalapeños, stemmed and chopped

1/2 cup cilantro leaves

2 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 cloves garlic, chopped

2 8? flour tortillas, toasted

3 tbsp. canola oil

 

Cook the chicken: Place chicken, cilantro, salt, peppercorns, garlic, onion, bay leaf, and 12 cups water in a 6-qt. saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from saucepan and strain liquid through a fine strainer; reserve 4 cups, and save remaining liquid for another use. Set chicken and liquid aside.

Heat tomatillos and jalapeños in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until darkened and thick, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a blender with cilantro, salt, garlic, tortillas, and 1 cup reserved cooking liquid; puree.

Heat oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; add tomatillo sauce and fry, stirring constantly, until it thickens into a paste, about 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining cooking liquid and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, until reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes.

Add chicken pieces and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes. Serve with Mexican rice and tortillas.

**Note that I used chicken breasts instead and cut them up into small chunks once cooked, removed from liquid and cooled. This made it much easier for tacos! However, this made SO much that it was hard for 9 people to finish… although we did have a lot of other food too.
(Mole Verde recipe & image via Saveur)
Check out more pictures from Tacocaine below!

 

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