Slow Cooker Chocolate Chicken Mole
8 minute read
Today’s taste buds are going crazy for that sweet and savory mix. While some people may be skeptical about adding a traditionally sweet food to their dinner, it needs to be noted that they are potentially missing out on unique tastes and health benefits.
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For example, how many people would consider adding chocolate to their evening meal? Adding dark chocolate specifically to a dinner dish not only enhances flavor but can even be good for you.
The Healthy Sweet
As it happens, not every sweet treat is bad for you. While you do want to watch your sugar intake in general, there are some sweets that are good for you, at least partially.
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Dark chocolate has been found to be beneficial to your health, so long as you choose the right foods. By simply changing milk chocolate to dark chocolate in your baking and cooking, you can benefit your health in several important ways.
Fights free radicals: Dark chocolate possesses the ability to fight free radicals, which are unbalanced compounds created by cellular processes. It is the high antioxidant content in dark chocolate that is responsible for this, as they neutralize free radicals, thereby protecting the body from any oxidative damage.
Prevents cancer: The flavonoid content in cocoa is thought to be linked to the potential prevention of cancer. While the studies are limited, the results have been very suggestive and more rigorous testing continues.
Improves heart health: Flavanols present in dark chocolate have a positive effect on your heart health in that they lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to both the heart and the brain.
Flavanols also make blood platelets less sticky and able to clot which reduces your risk of blood clots and stroke. A study conducted with flavonoid-rich dark chocolate and white chocolate (which contains no flavonoids) found that dark chocolate intake significantly improved heart circulation.
The non-flavonoid white chocolate had no positive health effects on any of the individuals.
Improves cholesterol profile: The cocoa butter found in dark chocolate contains oleic acid, which is a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. It has been shown that the polyphenols in cocoa may be involved in cholesterol control because three weeks of consumption increased HDL (good) cholesterol.
Enhances cognitive function: Regular ingestion of dark chocolate, specifically the flavanols it contains, has been linked to increased blood flow to the cerebral gray matter. This means it may be helpful for lowering the risk of conditions with reduced cerebral blood flow, such as dementia and stroke.
Helps blood pressure and blood sugar: Consumption of dark chocolate has been found to lower blood pressure in hypertensive diabetics as well as decrease their fasting blood sugar. For diabetics, and for everyone else as well, the higher the cocoa content and lower the sugar content, the better.
Shopping for Dark Chocolate
When it comes to buying chocolate, be it for a snack or for cooking, the healthiest versions to buy are those containing a cocoa content of 70% or higher. The higher the percentage is, the greater the potential health benefits will be.
The addition of almonds to dark chocolate makes for a powerful combination and delicious snack. You want to avoid dark chocolate snacks that contain sugary or unhealthy additions like marshmallow or caramel, as these will mitigate the health benefits of the cocoa.
Buy a dark chocolate that has been created from organic cocoa beans. Cocoa can be minimally processed and still be effective, but if you are looking for maximum benefits, then you want cocoa to be the main ingredient listed in the dark chocolate.
Be sure to watch out for hydrogenated oils on the ingredients list and know that just because it is labeled “dark chocolate” does not automatically make it healthy. The best dark chocolate will be made from organic cocoa or cocoa that has been minimally processed.
Dark chocolate can add just the right flavor and all the right health benefits to your meal. The recipe below is a perfect example of how to incorporate the healthy dark chocolate into your daily diet.
Slow Cooker Chocolate Chicken Mole
Cooking Time: 4 to 6 hours
2 pounds of chicken (bone in) pieces, skins removed. Breasts and legs typically work best
Salt and pepper
2 Tablespoons ghee
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
6–7 whole tomatoes, peeled and chopped
5 dried New Mexico chili peppers, rehydrated and chopped
1/4 cup almond butter
2-1/2 ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa at least)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon guajillo chili powder
Avocado, cilantro and jalapeño, all chopped (to be used for garnish)
1. Generously salt and pepper the chicken.
2. Place a pan over medium heat and add ghee. Once this has warmed, add the chicken and brown on all sides. This may need to be done in batches depending on the size of the pan. Move chicken to the slow cooker.
3. Add onion to the same pan and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer onion and garlic to slow cooker.
4. Add the tomatoes, chili peppers, almond butter, dark chocolate, salt and spices (cumin, cinnamon, chili powder) to the slow cooker.
5. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until the chicken is tender and pulls apart easily. If you can, lift the lid once and give it a stir to make sure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Remove chicken bones. Garnish the mole with avocado, cilantro, and jalapeño and serve!
The Bottom Line
It is important to limit sugar content, especially for diabetics. However, there is much to be said for adding dark chocolate or cocoa powder (70% or higher) to your meals.
Not all sweets are bad for you. This one