Mole Poblano

To my mind and palate, one of the great cuisines of the world is Mexican.  Not the cheese-laden standards topped with canned sauces and accompanied by runny, tasteless refried beans and white rice found at many “Mexican” restaurants outside the country.  Rather, the incredible, regional dishes found throughout Mexico which incorporate local ingredients combined to produce a delicious complexity of flavors not found elsewhere in the world.  Exploring this cuisine and sharing what I have learned at large dinner parties with friends is one of my great joys, especially when I am told they had no idea what this amazing cuisine has to offer.  I love cooking 15 to 20 dishes and giving guests elaborate explanations of ingredients and origins.

I make several varieties of mole (sauce) but Mole Poblano (also sometimes called Mole Negro) is my favorite. There are many versions of this seed- and nut-thickened mole.  Mine uses dried ancho, pasilla and mulato chiles, sesame seeds, almonds, pecans, tomatoes, raisins for sweetening, allspice, cinnamon, thyme, oregano, onion and, for an added a depth of flavor, dark chocolate (or Mexican chocolate discs).  Once the numerous steps to complete this sauce are done, I add either turkey or chicken pieces and cook the meat until is seasoned through and deliciously drop-off-the-bone tender.  a printable recipe can be found at the bottom of the post.

Mole is a lot of work, but well worth it.  Begin by stemming the chiles and pulling out the veins.

Rip the seeded chilies into large pieces.  Discard the stems and veins.  Reserve a tablespoon of the seeds.

Heat a heavy, dry skillet to searing hot.  Add chiles in one layer (may need to do this step in two batches).

Cook about 2 minutes on each side.  Be sure to turn on the exhaust fan or open the window!

Immediately place the seared chiles in a colander.  Rinse with cold water.

Place the rinsed chiles in a bowl and cover with boiling water.

Weigh them down with a plate to keep them submerged.  Soak for 30 minutes.

Toast the reserved seeds in a searing hot, dry pan.

Cook until blackened.

Place in a bowl and cover them with cold water.

Drain the water.  Set aside.

Heat a little oil in the same skillet and add the raisins.

Cook briefly on high heat until they puff.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add nuts to the hot pan and cook until lightly toasted.  Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Do the same with the sesame seeds.

Add a little oil to the hot skillet. Saute diced onion over medium heat until soft and lightly colored. (How To Dice An Onion)

Place tomatoes and water in a blender canister.  Add spices, nuts, raisins, chile seeds, sesame seeds and onions.

Puree until smooth.

Add more oil to the skillet and heat to medium-high.  Pour the mixture into the pan.  Do not clean the blender canister.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.  The mixture will darken and thicken.

Place soaking chilies and the designated amount of soaking water into the blender canister.  Puree until smooth.

Add chocolate to the mixture on the stove.

Then pour in the pureed chili mixture.

Stir everything together.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.  Add salt, to taste.

P1060693

To serve:  Cut a small turkey or a large chicken into eighths.  Alernately, use one turkey breast, 5 to 8 chicken breasts or 8 to 10 chicken thighs – all on the bone with skin.  Add oil to a pan and sear the meat on all sides.  If using skinless breasts, do not sear.  Thin the mole recipe below with two cups (or more) of chicken broth or water.  Ladle a thin layer of the sauce over the bottom of a roasting pan.  Place the meat over the sauce.  Cover with the remaining mole.  Bake at 350° F (172° C) for one to two hours, until the meat is cooked through.  Remove the meat from the sauce.  Skim any fat from the sauce.  Remove the skin and bones.  Slice into thick pieces and return the meat to the sauce.  Heat through and serve.

Note:  If using previously-cooked poultry, do not thin the mole (unless necessary).  Add pieces of the pre-cooked meat to the mole and simmer until heated through.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mole Poblano
 
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces ancho chiles
  • ½ ounce pasilla chiles
  • 1 ounce mulato chiles
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (or 1 large tomato, broiled and skinned)
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 whole cloves or ¼ teaspoon powdered cloves
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ cup oil
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (toasted or un-toasted)
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup almonds
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 onion, diced
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate, chips or chopped
  • (or one disc of Mexican drinking chocolate – omit cinnamon if using)
  • salt, to taste
  • chicken stock to thin mixture
  • chicken or turkey (see explanation at bottom of recipe)
Instructions
  1. Remove stems, veins and seeds from dried chiles,
  2. Discard stems and veins. Reserve 1 tablespoon seeds.
  3. Rip chiles into large pieces.
  4. Toast chiles for about 2 minutes on each side in a dry, very hot, heavy skillet.
  5. Rinse in cold water then place in a bowl.
  6. Cover with boiling water. Weigh chiles down with a place and soak for 30 minutes.
  7. Toast reserved seed in a very hot, dry skillet until blackened.
  8. Place in a small bowl and cover with cold water. Soak for 5 minutes.
  9. Strain seeds and put into blender. Add tomato, 1 cup of water, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, thyme and oregano.
  10. Heat a few tablespoons oil in frying pan and fry sesame seeds (if using un-toasted) until deep golden color (10-15 seconds). Strain and put in blender.
  11. Do the same with each of the nuts and the raisins.
  12. Sauté onion in a little oil over medium heat until lightly colored. Add to the blender canister.
  13. Puree everything until smooth.
  14. If mixture is too thick, add water.
  15. Heat ¼ cup oil in skillet then add the smooth blender mixture.
  16. Cook about 15 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  17. Put chiles and 2 cups of soaking water in a blender and puree until smooth.
  18. Add to the pan together with chocolate. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
  19. Note: Mole can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen at this stage. When ready to use, add stock to thin to desired consistency.
  20. To serve: Cut a small turkey or a large chicken into eighths. Alernately, use one half turkey breast, all chicken breasts or chicken thighs with skin. Add oil to a pan and sear all sides. If using skinless breasts, do not sear. Thin the mole recipe below with two cups (or more) of chicken broth or water. Ladle a thin layer of the sauce over the bottom of a roasting pan. Place the meat over the sauce. Cover with the remaining mole. Bake at 350° F (172° C) for one to two hours, until the meat is cooked through. Remove the meat from the sauce. Skim any fat from the sauce. Remove the skin and bones. Slice into thick pieces and return the meat to the sauce. Heat through and serve.
  21. If using previously-cook do not thin the mole (unless necessary). Add pieces of the pre-cooked meat to the mole and simmer until heated through.
  22. Can also be served with beef or pork.
  23. Yields about 5 cups of mole (before adding stock)

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Comments

  1. Amy, this is one I will wait to have with you for the first time! Looks amazing. Susan

Trackbacks

  1. […] Regional varieties abound, as do individual recipes. Almost 2 years ago, I shared a recipe for Mole Poblano (also known as Mole Negro). It is a delicious seed- and nut-thickened mole made from dried […]

Leave a Comment

*

Rate this recipe: