Ever since I was a kid I’ve had a hard time falling asleep at night. Thoughts from the day would crowd my mind, elbowing me awake with memories. Just as I’d start to drift to sleep I’d suddenly awaken with a jolt to the words “Your Algebra test is 3 days away!” or “How are you going to get your final paper written when you have to work both Wednesday and Thursday night this week?” Now that the days of pop-quizzes and final exams are a thing of the past, the only “elbows” keeping me awake now are the constant reminders going off in my head about items on my TO DO LIST. Bills I have to pay. Birthday cards that need to be sent. Customers that have to be reminded that they still have outstanding invoices. Apples in the fridge that need to be eaten… Counting sheep never helped. If anything, it just frustrated me. For some reason I could never get my sheep to actually jump the fence I pictured in my mind. They’d run around the fence, run up to the fence and then stop, or sometimes they’d just stand at the starting line looking at me as if to say, “Nope. Not doing it,”. Over the years I’ve come up with a few strategies that have helped me chase all of my nighttime thoughts away. 1). I sleep with a notebook and pencil next to my bed so that if something does pop into my head that I need to add to my TO DO LIST I can go ahead and jot it down, rather than worry that I’ll forget it in the morning. 2). I play the alphabet game. What is the alphabet game? Only the best sleepy game ever invented. By who? I don’t know. I think we’ve all invented our own version at some point in our lives. I made this one up when I was fourteen years old. And then when I got to college I learned a few more versions that involved a deck of cards and case of beer. CAN’T SLEEP AT NIGHT ALPHABET GAME 1. Pick a topic – names you’d pick for your daughter, favorite bands, colors, favorite sweet treat… 2. Starting with the letter “A” come up with a name or word for the topic you picked – Agnes, Aerosmith, aqua, apple bread… 3. Decide how many free passes you’ll allow yourself. I usually only give myself two. “X” is hard. And there might be another letter you get hung up on. 4. If you get through the alphabet without falling asleep, start over with a new subject. I don’t know that I’ve ever gotten through two rounds of the alphabet game without falling asleep. I suppose if that doesn’t work for you, you could always get up out of bed and go to the kitchen to “Whoop somethin’ up”, as my husband loves to say. My suggestion? Chicken and mole (that’s pronounced “mō-lay”). Pair it with my husbands black beans and you’ll wonder why you ever wanted to go to sleep in the first place.
Now, before we get to the recipe, I absolutely must share this with you. Did you know that there are ten different definitions of the four letter word M-O-L-E? Ten!
1). one who works in the dark
2). any of numerous burrowing insectivores (especially family Talpidae) with tiny eyes, concealed ears, and soft fur
3). an abnormal mass in the uterus especially when containing fetal tissues (WHAT??)
4). a massive work formed of masonry and large stones or earth laid in the sea as a pier or breakwater
5). the base unit of amount of pure substance in the International System of Units that contains the same number of elementary entities as there are atoms in exactly 12 grams of the isotope carbon 12
6). a machine for tunneling
7). a spy (as a double agent) who establishes a cover long before beginning espionage; broadly : one within an organization who passes on information
8). a pigmented spot, mark, or small permanent protuberance on the human body
9). the harbor formed by a mole
10). a spicy sauce made with chilies and usually chocolate and served with meat
Clearly the dish in which I’m talking about uses the 10th definition of the word. Mole sauce is a very complex and time consuming thing to create. Some recipes use more than 20 ingredients! That is why we bought ours already made.
CHICKEN MOLE with JEFF’S BLACK BEANS
Ingredients for chicken mole:
- 2 seasoned chicken breasts that have been baked, broiled, grilled or boiled
- 1/8 cup prepared mole
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- sugar and salt to taste, if you like (we added a little less than 1/8 tsp salt to our pot)
Directions for chicken mole:
- In a small pot over medium heat combine prepared mole with chicken stock and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside until your chicken is ready.
- Before serving bring sauce back to the stove and warm up. Taste and decide if you want to add any salt or sugar.
- Spoon over chicken and enjoy!
Ingredients for Jeff’s black beans:
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 red onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup + 2 TBSP chicken stock
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 TBSP oregano
- 1/2 TBSP cumin
- 1/2 TBSP your favorite hot sauce
Directions for Jeff’s Black Beans:
- In a medium pan saute onions and garlic until translucent.
- Add the chicken stock and stir to scrape up any bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Add salt, oregano, cumin and beans and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add hot sauce.
- Decide if you want to eat the beans as they are or if you’d like to mash or blend them to any degree. Serve with chicken and mole.