According to our friends over at Wikipedia, "Mole is a traditional marinade and sauce originally used in Mexican cuisine. In contemporary Mexico the term is used for a number of sauces, some quite dissimilar, including black, red / Colorado, yellow, green, almendrado, de olla, huaxmole, guacamole, and pipián. Generally, a mole sauce contains a fruit, chili pepper, nut, and such spices as black pepper, cinnamon, cumin. Outside of Mexico, it typically refers to mole poblano."
I used to feel so intimidated by Mole! It seemed so complicated and unattainable, that I figured I'd rather leave it to the professionals. After all, there are so many ingredients that go into this sauce... and some are admittedly difficult to find (especially during a global Pandemic...). Hopefully this recipe can leave you feeling that delicious mole poblano is, in fact!, possible at home!
I watched a ton of Youtube videos to learn the processes behind this sauce and am going to link a bunch of them at the bottom of this recipe. A visual is always what I gravitate towards when learning something new!
Makes 2 Quarts of Mole Sauce
2 poblano peppers 4 dried guajillo chiles, dry toasted 4 dried pasilla chiles, dry toasted
4 cups chicken stock (can also be veggie!)
1/4 cup raisins
2 Tbsp vegetable oil 1 onion, chopped 5-6 cloves of garlic, smashed 2 corn tortillas, torn into small pieces (can substitute 2 slices of bread) 2 Tbsp sesame seeds 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2 Tbsp raw, unsalted peanut butter
1/4 cup honey 1/4 cup tomato paste 2 Tbsp chipotle chilis in adobo 2.7 oz Taza Cacao Puro, chopped (or 80% dark chocolate) Salt & pepper to taste
1. Begin by placing your poblano peppers over an open flame on your gas stove and cook until blackened on all sides, about 10-12 minutes. The peppers can also be broiled in an oven (same amount of time). Be cautious and turn your peppers often to insure even blackening. Place blackened peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to cool before peeling off the blackened skin. Remove the stem and seeds from the peppers and place in a large pot. Set aside.
2. In a separate medium sized pot, add the whole, dry toasted guajillo chiles, pasilla chiles and chicken stock. Cover the pot with a lid and allow the stock to come to a simmer. Turn off the heat, add the raisins to the stock and allow the chile mixture to soak until soft (20 minutes or so).
3. Meanwhile, in a (yes.. sorry) third pan (large skillet) add the vegetable oil and heat over a medium-high flame. Add the onion and sautee until transparent. Then add the crushed garlic cloves and tortillas. Cook this strange blend of ingredients until a little brown and toasty and then add them to the large pot with the seeded poblano peppers.
4. In the same skillet over medium heat, add the sesame seeds and pepitas and cook just until fragrant and slightly toasty, 5-8 minutes. Add the seeds to the large pot with the poblano etc.
5. Add the cocoa powder, ground cloves, cinnamon stick, peanut butter, honey, tomato paste and chipotles in adobo to the large pot with the poblano mixture. Then pour the stock with the chiles and raisins over that medley of ingredients.
6. Put the large pot over a medium-low burner and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. We are allowing all of the flavors to meld as well as softening up the ingredients.
7. Turn off the heat and add the chopped discs of chocolate. Using a hand-held immersion blender (a regular blender or food processor works as well), blend the sauce until smooth, about 5 minutes or more. There will likely still be a few lumps, but that's alright! Taste your sauce for seasoning, adding salt, black pepper and more honey as desired. I don't like my mole to be too sweet, so season as desired.
8. If needed, run the sauce through a medium mesh strainer to get out those remaining lumps and bumps. Taste your mole again to make sure it is to your liking and....PHEW!! YOU DID IT! Mole at home!!
See my notes below for proteins, rice & toppings.
Although, this mole sauce is delicious over plain rice and topped with a few toasted sesame seeds, I cooked a few chicken thighs (pictured above) and braised them in my finished sauce. Traditionally, a whole chicken is quartered and boiled and then finished in the mole (videos below).
I cooked a batch of short-grain rice with a bit of turmeric and whole cumin seeds for both color and flavor. Again, plain rice will suffice.
Ripe slices of avocado are always a good idea - they'll give you some relief from the spice! Toasted sesame seeds, lime wedges and a little sour cream are also great accompaniments.
The Leading Ladies Who Made this Possible
Simply Mamá Cooks - How to Make Mole Sauce from Scratch
De mi Rancho a Tu Cocina - Mole de Rancho
Wall Street Journal - Making Mole in Mexico City