Instant pot chicken mole

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That's right. Mole. In an instant pot.

Now, hear me out. I don't claim that this mole is in ANY WAY authentic, but what is an authentic mole anyway? It seems to me that there are characteristics that qualify a sauce as mole, but that there is no one recipe to rule them all.

Now, I also realize that this dish is usually made with a huge list of spices and chiles, most of which you have to toast or hydrate, and that traditionally, these spices are ground by hand with a mortar and pestle.

But, WHO HAS THAT KIND OF TIME? Surely not parents of toddlers. 

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Instead, you can toss everything into an instant pot and have a really complex dinner on the table in about an hour (with most of that time being hands off).

The most time consuming part of the process here is reducing the sauce after the chicken has been pressure cooked. You'll want to saute the liquid until it reduces by about half and when you scrape the bottom of the pot, the sauce doesn't re-cover the metal right away. That will be a good indication that the sauce is thick enough.

The sauce before thickening.

The sauce before thickening.

The sauce after being reduced. See how the sauce doesn't cover the metal right away?

The sauce after being reduced. See how the sauce doesn't cover the metal right away?

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This dish is great over white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice, in a taco, in a lettuce cup: you get the picture. The ingredients all comply with Whole 30, which means it's gluten, dairy, and refined-sugar free. You can also swap in seed butter for the almond butter if you need to avoid nuts.

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Instant pot chicken mole

1 cup chicken stock
1 cup chopped tomatoes in liquid
1 Tbsp chili powder
1.5 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
½ red onion, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp chipotle in adobo
¼ cup golden raisins
2 Tbsp almond butter
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Place all of the sauce ingredients in your instant pot and whisk to combine. Add the chicken breasts and scrunch them around to make sure that there is liquid surrounding the pieces.

Close the instant pot and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Release the steam manually and remove the chicken. Check the doneness of the chicken with a thermometer (it should read at least 165).

Turn the Instant pot off and then back on with the sauté function on medium. Saute until the remaining liquid has reduced by half and thickened significantly, about 20 minutes (you should be able to scrape the bottom of the pot and see the metal for a second before the sauce covers over it). Let cool slightly.

Add the liquid to a blender and blend until smooth.

Serve the chicken with 1/4 of the sauce and any other garnishes and accessories that you want.

Yield: 4 grown-up servings

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15-minute chicken

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

Ooof. This is the part of Whole 30 in which I just want to take a LOOOOOONG nap. I think my intense holiday cookies-for-breakfast habit is making this first week tougher than any of my other rounds. I haven't wanted to cheat...actually, I totally wanted a slice of pizza yesterday. Nevermind. So, I've wanted to cheat, but haven't because I have the vision of how great I'll feel in a few days dancing in my head.

What helps during these tired, saggy days at the beginning is having a few really fast recipes ready. We also bought a pressure cooker last year, which has been incredible during Whole 30 because we don't even have to "set it and forget it." We can literally forget it and then do it when we panic that there's nothing for dinner. Not that we ever do that.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

This recipe is based on a classic from Gourmet that I found via Smitten Kitchen. We've made the original and it is stupidly easy and GLORIOUS. But it requires a few hours of cooking time and I lack the mental energy for that at the moment. Also, we OD'd on red meat at the end of the year, so we decided to try this with a whole chicken in the pressure cooker. You could definitely make this with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, breasts, or a combination of both, but I wouldn't do boneless, skinless anything because the fat from the skin and bones is what gives the sauce its richness. Also, 3-4 lbs of chicken may seem like a lot, but the chicken, like the meat in the original recipe, is slightly more delicious the next day. I do recommend straining the fat after cooking because there's quite a bit of it. Also, don't skimp on the garlic. You may balk at the idea of feeding a head of garlic to a toddler, but leaving the skin means that the cloves get all mellow and buttery without disintegrating in the sauce and making the whole thing taste overwhelmingly garlicky.  

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

We served this with some smashed potatoes that we just chopped, placed in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and microwaved for 8 minutes until fork tender and then smashed with a few Tbsp of clarified butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

We bought our chicken pre-cut at the grocery store, but you could get your butcher to cut a whole chicken for you or do it yourself at home.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes

Pressure cooked chicken with garlic and tomatoes

1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces, about 4 lbs
1 box/large can of San Marzano crushed tomatoes, about 28 oz
1 head of garlic
S/P

Season the chicken with salt and pepper and place in the pressure cooker, largest pieces on the bottom. Take apart the bulb of garlic and remove only the flaky outer skin that comes off easily, leaving on the layer of skin around each clove. Add the garlic to the pressure cooker and space out the cloves to avoid any clumps of garlic. Pour the tomatoes over the chicken and garlic and close the pressure cooker. Set to high pressure and poultry, or 15 minutes. Cook. Let the pressure release on its own once cooking is over.

To crisp the chicken skin slightly, place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until you’ve reached your desired crispness. The skin won’t get CRISPY since the chicken is already cooked, but it will firm up a bit. If you plan to remove the skin, skip this step and eat immediately. 

Yield: 2 hearty meals for a family of 2 adults and a toddler, plus extra sauce to strain and use in other recipes, if desired.

15-minute chicken | Me & The Moose. This Whole 30-compliant chicken is made with an instant pot or other pressure cooker and is ready sooo fast. It’s full of garlic and tomatoes and is incredibly savory and rich, but is also clean and simple. #meandthemoose #cleaneating #whole30 #whole30recipes #chickenrecipes #instantpot #instantpotrecipes #quickdinnerrecipes