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Chef Johan van Schalkwyk’s chicken mole nachos

Compared to most chefs, Johan may have had a bit of a late start, only entering the industry when he was 28. He started out as a chef at a chateau in France, where he fondly remembers the time spent wandering through the kitchen garden, a basket of vegetables and herbs on his forearm, carefully picking fresh produce for the day. These days, Johan heads up the kitchen at Vrede en Lust’s Lust Bistro & Bakery, cooking and baking (make sure that you taste the sourdough!) fresh and fuss-free fare at one of the most renowned eateries in the foodie centre of Franschhoek. We visited his kitchen and he cooked us a delicious chocolatey treat with a bite, chicken mole nachos!

SERVES 6 // COOKING TIME 1 hour 10 min

For the chicken mole
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
5 chicken breasts, chopped
2 cups chicken stock
410 g tin chopped tomatoes
½ cup ground almonds
¼ cup sesame seeds, plus extra to garnish
2 red chillies
1 tbsp origanum
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp allspice
1 bay leaf
100 g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), chopped
Salt and pepper
For the nachos
1 packet tortilla chips
300 g mozzarella, grated
Guacamole, to serve

For the chicken mole
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil over high heat. Fry 1 onion and the garlic until soft, 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook until browned.
2. Add enough stock to cover the chicken. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Skim the scum from the surface, remove the chicken and set aside.
3. Strain any solids from the poaching liquid. Place 1 cup liquid in a blender with the tomatoes, almonds, sesame seeds, chillies, origanum, paprika, cumin, cloves and allspice. Blend until smooth.
4. Heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil and cook the other onion over low heat until softened, 1–2 minutes.
5. Add the bay leaf and blended spice mixture, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chocolate, stirring until melted, then set aside to cool.
6. Shred the chicken, season with salt and pepper and coat in the sauce.
For the nachos
1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Place the tortilla chips in an ovenproof dish. Top with the chicken and then cover with a layer of mozzarella.
3. Bake for 5 minutes, until the cheese has melted.
4. Serve topped with guacamole, sprinkled with sesame seeds.

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