On November 18, I had the incredible opportunity to attend an Agri Tour hosted by California Grown. You wouldn’t believe the vast array of crops produced in the beautiful state of California! Plus we learned the personal stories of many of the folks who work so hard to feed us. And by us, I mean California, the United States and beyond. California truly is the breadbasket of the world! And I was inspired to make the Pomegranate Salsa and Instant Pot Chicken Mole Tacos (recipe below).Jump to Recipe
Here are the amazing farms and ranches we visited (virtually) on our tour:
- First we heard from Cher Watte Angulo, ED of California Grown, where we learned all about the leafy green farms in the Imperial Valley.
- Next we visited a sweet potato farm in Atwater, CA to learn all about why the San Juaquin Valley has the perfect sweet potato growing conditions. While they were at it, we got schooled on the nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes. Plus, we learned some great recipes too.
- Our next stop was at the Home Farm of K.C. the G Free Foodie in Madera where we learned how the San Juaquin Valley feeds the world, plus we learned about the amazing California specialty crops like pomegranates, DOV (dried on vine) raisins, prunes, grapes (table and wine), olive oil, citrus and MORE. The variety is mind blowing.
- Next, we visited the Fiscalini Farmstead in Modesto to learn all about cheese. What impressed me most is their total commitment to animal husbandry, environmental stewardship and making AMAZING cheese. (We got to try some). Truly inspiring story. Did you know that 99% of California Dairies are family owned? Me either.
- Next, we headed over to Rosenthal Olive Ranch in Madera where they are deep into harvest. We learned all about how olives are grown (in hedges) and the very strenuous process of vetting EVOO. For olive oil to be deemed “extra virgin” in California, it must meet precise chemical standards and pass a sensory/tasting panel test, (called an organoleptic test). Wow.
- Finally, we traveled by map to wine country and learned about California wine, with Nancy White, and California Sustainable Wine Alliance‘s Alison Jordan. Yes we got to taste the wine, and yes it was delicious.
California farmers are committed to sustainable practices
Though I grew up in the middle of California farm country, I still learned so much about farming practices. I was wowed by the technological advances in farming, their commitment to sustainability, safety, and green growing practices, and the wonderful sense of community California farmers feel. It was truly an inspiring experience and made me proud to be a Californian.
I was also blown away at the generosity of farmers. Each year, California farmers donate over 160 MILLION pounds of fresh food to food banks. This year, due to COVID they are donating even more. California Grown has pledged to donate 1 pound of food for every social post that uses the hashtag “CAGrown” for the rest of the year. Don’t forget to tag them when you post on social media.
California specialty crops are where its at
So that finally brings me to my recipe inspired by California Grown specialty crops. Chicken Mole Tacos with Pomegranate Salsa.
While there are many variations of mole, the “classic” version is dark brown, rich and very complex. It takes hours to make and has many, many ingredients like roasted chiles and tomatoes, toasted spices, and bitter chocolate. This is why it is not practical at all on a weeknight, and why I decided to try to make a cheater version in my instant pot.
Often times you’ll see mole poblano topped with a sprinkling of cotija cheese, and pomegranate seeds. Because California Grown was kind enough to send me a massive pomegranate, I decided to see if if the lovely garnet arils (AKA seeds) would be good in salsa. Spoiler alert – this is an AMAZING salsa that I want to put on everything. In fact, the pomegranate salsa tastes as bright and sunny as the beautiful state of California!
These Mole Tacos with Pomegranate Salsa are:
- Quick & easy
- Flavorful & delicious
- A unique way to mix up your (boring???) taco Tuesdays
My take on chicken mole is much easier than traditional mole. Most importantly, it still packs a punch in the flavor department thanks to roasted tomatoes, spices, raisins, nuts, and yes, chocolate. The pomegranate salsa tastes as bright as it looks and is the perfect accompaniment to the rich mole sauce. We are lucky to have so much beautiful produce in California (which I obviously used). In addition, this recipe also features California grown almonds, raisins, olive oil, honey and chicken! These tacos are rich and flavorful, with just the right amount of spices to make them smell absolutely fragrant and delicious. How do you taco Tuesday?
Love tacos? You’ll love these other recipes!
- Instant Pot Chicken Mole Tacos with Pomegranate Salsa
- Classic Carnitas Recipe
- Seafood and Chorizo Tacos
Did you make this recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and star rating below (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) and post a picture and tag us on Instagram using the hashtags #agirldefloured #deflouredrecipes! Thank you!
Instant Pot Chicken Mole Tacos with Pomegranate Salsa
- Instant Pot
For the Chicken Mole
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 1 yellow onion roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- ¼ cup raisins
- 2 canned chipotle chiles *2 chiles NOT 2 cans
- 1 tablespoon sauce from said canned chiles
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons salt
For the Pomegranate Salsa
- 1 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 orange cut into supremes and roughly chopped
- 4 radishes quartered and very thinly sliced
- zest and juice from one lime
- ¼ cup cilantro roughly chopped
- 3 green onions thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper seeded and minced
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil EVOO
- pinch of salt
- Preheat the broiler in your oven. Place the tomatoes (keep whole) and onions on a baking sheet in the oven about 6 inches from the broiler. Broil until the tomato skin is blackened on one side, then flip tomatoes to char second side. This whole process takes just a few minutes, so don’t walk away from your oven.
- Put the tomatoes, onions, garlic, almonds, raisins, chiles and sauce, spices and salt in a blender. Blitz until totally pureed and smooth.
- Put the chicken thighs in a 6+ quart instant pot. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Quick vent the steam.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and shred with two forks. Set the instant pot to “saute” and simmer the sauce for 10 more minutes to thicken it. Return the chicken to the pot and toss to coat with the sauce.
- While the chicken is cooking in the instant pot, make the salsa. Put the pomegranate arils, orange, lime zest and juice, cilantro, green onions, radishes and chiles into a bowl and toss. Drizzle the top with honey and EVOO and sprinkle with salt and toss again to coat. Set aside.
- Serve the mole in warmed corn tortillas and topped with slivered purple cabbage, the pomegranate salsa and some fresh (California obviously) cheese. Enjoy!