How to Make Pressure Cooker Chicken Mole Stew

Introduction: How to Make Pressure Cooker Chicken Mole Stew

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You won’t believe how fast and easy this chicken stew is until you try making it in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot! Traditionally, chicken mole is a slowly simmered complex dish with a long ingredient list. But cooking this dish under pressure means fewer ingredients and melds all the flavours in a fraction of the time. This easy recipe cooks up so quickly it's a mainstay in our household!

Step 1: Ingredients

You will need:

  • 3 tbsp grape seed oil divided
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (you can also use equivalent bullion cubes in a pinch)
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup nut butter we use MaraNatha coconut almond butter but peanut butter is fine too
  • 2 1/2 - 3 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (or equivalent frozen cubes if you don't have fresh cilantro on hand)
  • Rice
  • Avocado (if desired for garnish)

Our recipe is adapted from one we found in the Pressure Cooker Perfection cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen. It calls for bone in chicken, but we prefer the ease of boneless chicken thighs. It also uses peanut butter which we don’t eat. So we substitute coconut almond butter instead and it tastes delicious. Any nut butter you prefer will work. Lastly, we change the quantity of raisins. We find the amount called for is too sweet (originally 1 cup), but if you have a sweet tooth, feel free to use more!

Two more things we sometimes change for convenience sake; we use frozen cilantro cubes and stir them in at the end. When we don't have our homemade chicken soup, we sometimes substitute and equivalent amount of liquid using bullion cubes.

Step 2: Start With the Sauce

The sauce is cooked first, then cooled and pureed in a blender.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in ­pressure-­cooker pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add chili powder, cocoa, chipotle, cinnamon and cloves and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in broth, tomatoes, raisins and peanut butter, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

Let cool, then puree sauce in blender until smooth, about 30 seconds. You may need to do this in two batches. Tip: hold a folded kitchen towel over the lid of the blender to prevent hot sauce from splattering.

Set the sauce aside while you cook the onion and garlic in the next step.

Step 3: Season Chicken

Before cooking the onion and garlic, season the chicken well with salt and pepper. I usually just season one side to avoid handling the chicken. If you do choose to season both side, be sure to wash your hands after handling raw chicken.

The beauty of a pressure cooker is that you can brown right in it too before pressurizing! Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the now­ empty pressure cooker. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic for the last 30 seconds. Stir in reserved sauce, then add chicken to pot covering it with the sauce.

Lock pressure cooker lid and bring to high pressure over medium heat. As soon as high pressure is reached, lower heat to medium-low. Cook on high pressure for 25 minutes in the pressure cooker; adjust heat as necessary to maintain high pressure.

In the last few minutes, while the pressure cooker is doing its thing, it's an ideal time to start making rice. Note that the sauce gets reduced for 10 - 15 minutes so try to time it so the rice is done at the same time. Cook rice according to package directions.

When cooking time is complete, quick release the pressure. Be careful to direct steam away from when you open the lid and steam escapes.

The sauce will still be bubbling away so let it sit for a few minutes to let the bubbles subside before removing the chicken to a glass dish.

Step 4: Shred Chicken

Use tongs to transfer the chicken into a glass dish. We like to use a glass dish, instead of transferring to a cutting board. That's because a glass dish captures all the drips and sauce. It also makes it so much easier to shred the chicken when it's contained.

The chicken meat will easily shred with two forks. It’s so soft, there’s hardly any effort required.

Let cool slightly, then shred meat with two forks as shown in second pic into bite­-sized pieces.

Meanwhile, bring sauce to a simmer, stir in red pepper, and cook until pepper is tender, 10 to 15 minutes.

Stir in shredded chicken and cilantro, season with salt and pepper to taste. When we don't have fresh cilantro, we cheat and use frozen cubes.

Step 5: Serving Suggestion

Along with rice, we like to serve it with avocado (and lemon wedges when we have them).

This is also delicious served on a bun, like sloppy joes! We toast the buns and serve them open faced so we get more chickeny goodness!

If you'd like a printable recipe, click here for our easy chicken mole stew.

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    4 weeks ago

    This looks amazing! I also have the pressure cooker cookbook from ATK - it's so good :D

    Birdz of a Feather
    Birdz of a Feather

    Reply 4 weeks ago

    Thanks Jessie! That book is the best; we love our pressure cooker!