Welcome to this month’s Cook the Books Club! In CtBC, bloggers can read the selected book and then make and blog a recipe inspired by the book (plus there’s a recipe round up at the end!)
This month’s book is The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo by FG Hagenbeck and is hosted by Debra at Eliot’s Eats.
The book is a novel, which made it a bit confusing. Obviously it was historical fiction, since it was a novel based off of a real person’s life. But I kept wondering what was fact (there had to be some) and where did the fiction come into play (was it just the conversations/internal monologue or were entire parts of Frida’s “history” exaggerated? After reading this book, I got my hands on several other books chronicling Frida’s life and found out that the former was most accurate – the events/circumstances in the book were more or less factual with some embellishment, including the fictional “book” the story hinges upon.)
Despite the confusion, I loved the story and found Frida incredibly fascinating. It also got me curious about Frida Kahlo and sent me fact searching all over the internet and library (I watched the movie (recipe coming up next month), grabbed a recipe book (I made Squash Blossom Quesadillas), and picked up a copy of her biography). Fact of fiction, Frida Kahlo lead a very interesting life.
The book itself included some “fake” (?) recipes in the body of the novel (meant to enhance the book, but not be used) and just a few adapted into “real” recipes included at the end.
I’ll be honest, I have no idea why the author chose to do this. Anyhow, I ended up making a chicken mole inspired by the book, but I didn’t use the recipe from the book. Even the adapted recipe was way too overwhelming. So I went to the internet to find a recipe that was true to the story, but would still appeal to my family.
In all honesty, this is probably not the most authentic mole out there (the original recipe called for dried ancho chilis, I thought I’d replace it with ancho chili powder, but when I got home from the store it turned out that I have chipotle chili powder, not ancho, so I had to make a huge substitution). That being said, I did keep the chocolate and the cinnamon, even though it scared me (both make me think of desserts) and the mole was delicious!
It made a huge amount, so I was able to eat the mole over tortillas and rice. I preferred the tortillas (the rice made me think of chicken tikka masala) but it’s delicious either way!
Slow Cooker Chicken Mole
Adapted from ChowHound
28 oz (1 ¾ lb) boneless skinless chicken thighs
Salt & black pepper
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, smashed
2 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce + 2 tbsp sauce
½ cup almonds, chopped & toasted
1 oz bittersweet chocolate, grated
1 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp chili powder
3/8 tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Place the chicken thighs on the bottom of a slow cooker. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
Place all of the remaining ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture over the chicken thighs. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
I am also linking up to August Foodies Read, hosted by Heather at Based on a True Story.