Ancho Mole Chicken Cups

A great 4th of July in the San Diego Bay.
Shot by my friend, Ed Frey

Happy 4th of July! I love this holiday. It carries so many good memories for me. Growing up, my family had a crazy HUGE 4th of July bash every year. From invitations to food to fireworks… it was amazing. We called it the ORTH of July (my maiden name) and it was held at our 1 acre property on top of a hill in the Conejo Valley. Perfect fireworks view.

My mom would go all out with the invitations. One year, she handmade “firecracker” invitations. You had to pull the sides to open the invitation. Each year it got bigger and bigger and we probably averaged 150-175 people. I’m telling you… EPIC. There was a pool, ping-pong tables, shaved ice, glow necklaces, ribs, burgers, hot dogs; everything a 4th of July should be. People still talk about them and it’s been about 8 or 9 years since we stopped having them.

So all this to say, the 4th holds a place deep in my heart and I can’t wait until I have a place big enough (and a larger bank account balance) to host my own ORTH of July party. Today it will just be me, the hubs, and another couple. Yay for a day off, the pool, and a BBQ. It’s a good day.

Onto the recipe. I made this ancho mole sauce for a meatloaf recipe, but it works just as well mixed in with some pulled chicken or pork. Here’s the mole post.

Ready for it’s close-up

For the cups, I used steamed cabbage. Cabbage is pretty difficult to eat raw, and for those with digestive “problems” it can be tough on the GI tract. Cabbage makes a great wrap when it’s softened. To soften the cabbage leaves, just place the whole head in a steamer basket and steam covered for 5 mins or so. The leaves are pretty resilient so it’s hard to over-steam them. Once you pull a few leaves off, you may find the interior leaves didn’t get cooked enough. In that case, just put it back in the steamer. Do this ahead of time because it’s hard and slightly dangerous to handle a boiling lava hot head of cabbage and trying to peel off the layers without suffering 3rd degree burns on your hands.


Ancho Mole Chicken Cups

1 recipe Ancho Mole Sauce
1 whole chicken or 4 breasts
1 head of cabbage, green or red, steamed
parsley or cilantro to garnish

  1. To make the shredded chicken, Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add some spices and herbs like pepper corns, bay leaf, red pepper flakes, salt, maybe some lemon slices.
  2. Add chicken and simmer until the meat separates easily from the bones.
  3. Drain the water from the chicken and let it cool down a bit. Once cooled begin to shred it and remove any ligaments or small bones (if using bone-in chicken).
  4. Mix in ancho mole sauce.
  5. Pull some leaves off the steamed cabbage and fill them with the chicken mixture. 
  6. Garnish with some green herbs.
  7. Can be served with  side of grilled or roasted vegetables.

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