Mole typically contains a mixture of chillies, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. They sometimes include unsweetened chocolate, tomatoes, and raisins. Avocado leaves, epazote, and various spices might be used as well. Traditionally it was served with turkey, which is a bird native to Mexico but is now often substituted by the simpler chicken. Traditional mole can take hours if not days to prepare, luckily most homes today opt to buy it in a concentrated paste, or powder, that can you can find with us.
In today’s recipe, we are using Doña Maria mole one of the most popular brands because of its rich, signature red colour, and pleasant peanut/chocolate flavour that adds just the right amount of spice to chicken. However, on the MexGrocer website, there are several different types and brands to choose from, I guarantee that you’re going to want to try all of them after this initiation.
* You don’t have to make a whole chicken if that is too much. Feel free to use legs or chicken breast and stock cubes with hot water. Just make sure to adjust the amount of mole paste you use accordingly
Start by preparing the chicken and making the stock. Place the whole chicken into a large stockpot with the garlic coriander and ½ of the onion. Fill the pot with enough fresh water to cover the chicken. Season with coarse sea salt and fresh pepper. Cover the chicken and cook on high heat until it comes to a boil, then cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 hour and 25 minutes. Flip the chicken in the pot at least once to ensure it cooks evenly.
Once your chicken is done, remove it and place it on a large baking sheet or bowl to cool down. You don’t want to cut into your chicken before it has cooled as this will let out all of the juices and dry the meat. Let it cool for at least 25 minutes. Now take the stock in the pot and strain it through a metal sieve into a bowl. This broth is full of nutrients, vitamins and flavours and is perfect to use for the mole!
Now its time to make the sauce. Empty your jar of mole into a large saucepan and slowly stir in your chicken stock one cup at a time over medium heat. Continuously stir your mole ensuring everything is well incorporated and there are no lumps. You don’t want to add all of your stock at once because it may thin out the mixture when what you want is a nice thick sauce. Once you have your desired consistency season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
From your whole chicken cut out the breasts, thighs and legs. Don’t forget to remove the skin. Place your cut of choice on a plate and cover with your mole sauce, sprinkling sesame seeds on top and serve with a side of rice and warm fresh tortillas. Alternatively, you can shred the chicken and mix directly into the mole and use it to make tacos. Serve them with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and sliced red onion all wrapped in a warm tortilla.
Want to know more about mole? There are many myths surrounding mole and its creation. Was it first conceived through the stroke of genius of one imaginative nun named Sor Andrea de la Asunciónin the Convent of Santa Rosa located in the region of Puebla? Or was it born out of the terror of a desperate friar named Pascual Bailón, who had the stressful task of having to cook for the Viceregal and Bishop of Puebla (Don Juan de Palafox)? Or is it a dish that had been made well before the arrival of the Spanish dating it back to prehispanic times. In the case of mole, it’s kind of a combination of all three. In Nahuatl (the Aztec language) the word mulli is used to describe a salsa of which there were several variations that are clearly the origin of what is now commonly known as mole. For example, a chilcuzmulli xitomayo, is a nahuatl name for a sauce made of yellow chillies and tomato, whereas izmiquilmolli is made with green chillies. During the three centuries of colonial Mexico, the sauces known as mulli began to have other ingredients from different parts of the Spanish Empire added to them. Ingredients such as black pepper, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon were mixed with the more traditional mulli ingredients, like fresh and dried chilli peppers, tomatoes, achiote and squash seeds. This mixture of local and far off ingredients from the vast corners of the world came together to create the mole we know and love today, a sweet, nutty, roasted and slightly bitter smooth sauce. There are 5 main types of mole: Mole Poblano (from Puebla), Mole de Oaxaca (from Oaxaca), Mole de Caderas (made with goat meat), Tlilmole (from Tlaxcala) and Mole de Pipían (which comes in different colours depending on the chillies used).
This recipe was written by Hannah Thorne in collaboration with MexGrocer. Hannah is a Latin American recipe developer living in London. Check out her website CIBUS, and follow @cibuskitchen on Instagram for recipes and updates.