528 Chicken Sope w/Ancho Chile Mole
First on menu: 3/15
Created by: Soa Davies
Braised Free-Range Chicken, Ancho Chile Mole on Masa Corn Cake. Crumbles of Cotija Cheese, Cabbage, Cilantro. With Sautéed Brussels Sprouts & Lime.
Maple’s Chicken Sope with Ancho Chile Mole is a customer favorite on our menu. Executive chef Soa Davies tells us how the people she’s met in the kitchen and the travels she’s taken have influenced her take on this authentic Mexican dish.
We have a couple of sope dishes on Maple’s menu. Was this one of the first?
Soa: It was. It was inspired by sopes in Oaxaca. They serve these delicious little corn griddle cakes and they pile them with chicken, and smother it with mole sauce and that’s kind of a whole meal. During my cooking tenure, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of people from Mexico. Over the years I’ve gotten to know them and know their regional cuisine. I was cooking in Colorado for almost nine years, and roughly my entire kitchen staff was from Puebla, Mexico. And so, I went down there, and learned how to make mole. Mexican is so hard to get for delivery in NY, so I wanted to develop something with really authentic flavor.
Why use a baked corn cake versus a traditional fried sope?
Soa: That evolved from ease of production. Sopes didn’t hold up to re-heating as nicely as these grit cakes and the corn cake gave us an option that felt similar in taste and texture to the sope, while taking out the fried aspect. It’s a healthier version of the sope, really.
How did you land on which mole you wanted to use?
Soa: We wanted this to be a traditional mole. It wasn’t a long testing period because I had a good recipe from my trip to Mexico. The base is made up of the aromatics and spices. Then we toast our spices and use both ancho and chipotle chilis, and finish it with cocoa powder. It’s just a hint of chocolate, enough to give you a taste of it being nice and rich, more than it being overwhelming. Think of it more as a spiced chili sauce.
Why Brussels sprouts for the side dish?
Soa: We wanted it to be paired with something similar to shredded cabbage w/ cotija & lime, which is a traditional topping to the sope. The Brussels sprouts were just a natural fit, because they compliment the texture of the sope and its traditional topping.