Complex, complicated, time consuming, but so worth the effort!
When I was first married, one of the questions my husband asked me was, “do you know how to cook?” My answer was, “well I know how to cook some Mexican foods”. Little did he know of all the foods and flavors, some that he never imagined, he would be enjoying today, lol! Mole recipes are very special to many hispanic families. I associate preparing mole with big family gatherings, such as weddings, family reunions and holiday parties. When my mom would prepare her Mexican mole recipe, she started with a chile base purchased at the local market. But me being the cook that I am, I felt the need to challenge myself a bit and learn how to make it from scratch. The funny thing about it, is that I have most of these ingredients in my pantry all of the time.
Chicken Mole (Mo-Leh)
10 dried chile ancho
10 dried chile guajillo or chile california
3 dried chile chipotle
3 cups chicken broth, plus 5 cups reserved
1/3 cup of raisins
5 Roma tomatoes
1 medium white onion, cut into thick slices
4 serrano peppers, stems removed
10 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds, plus another 1/4 cup for garnish
1 teaspoon anise seeds
2 inch piece of cinnamon stick, broken in half
2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
1/4 cup of creamy peanut butter
12 saltine crackers
2 corn tortilla tostadas
1/2 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons of canola or olive oil
1 disk of Mexican chocolate(3 ounces) , broken into pieces
2 tablespoons brown sugar, more to taste
3 pounds of poached or roasted chicken pieces ( skin on, bone in)
You could add cooked chicken to the sauce or you could brown the chicken and braise it in the mole sauce for a good hour.
1. Preheat a large comal or griddle to medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove the stems and seeds from the dried peppers. Transfer the peppers to comal and toast for just a few minutes, turning as needed. Do not leave them unattended or they will burn and become bitter. Transfer the peppers to a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and continue cooking for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. After peppers have cooled slightly, drain all of the liquid and transfer the peppers to the blender. Add 3 cups of chicken broth, 1/2 tablespoon of cumin and 2 teaspoons of salt. Blend on high until smooth. You can strain the sauce through a wire mesh strainer for a smoother sauce, if you choose. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, set aside. In a small bowl, combine the raisins with enough hot water to cover, set aside.
3. In one nonstick pan add the almonds. In the second pan add the sesame seeds, anise, cinnamon stick and oregano. Heat both pans to medium/low heat. Toast, stirring often, do not leave unattended, or they will burn. After about 6 minutes, remove almonds and spices from pans and transfer to coffee or spice grinder. You may have to grind in two batches. Grind into a paste, transfer to bowl, set aside.
4. Preheat broiler to high for 5 minutes. Line a baking sheet with foil paper and add tomatoes, serranos, onions and garlic. Broil for 5 to 6 minutes, turn and broil for another 6 minutes. Remove from broiler and let cool.
5. In the blender, add the ground almonds/spice mixture, broiled tomatoes, serranos, onions, garlic, peanut butter, crackers, tostadas, cumin, drained raisins, 1/2 teaspooon pepper, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups of chicken broth. Blend until smooth, set aside.
6. This is where your mole sauce comes together. In a large, heavy pot, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat. After 3 minutes, add the chile sauce and bring to a simmer, stirring often. Add the tomato mixture to the pot, stir well to combine. When it comes to a boil, taste for salt. Add the Mexican chocolate, brown sugar and remaining chicken broth Continue cooking the sauce for 35 to 40 minutes.
7. While the sauce is simmering, toast the remaining sesame seeds, set aside for garnish. After 35 minutes, Add the cooked chicken and continue cooking for another 40 minutes or until meat is falling off the bone. The sauce will thicken and darken in color as it cooks. Taste for salt. Serve over rice and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Yields up to 6 to 8 servings
Notes: Ta-Da!!! Complex, Complicated, But So Worth The Effort!!! Congratulations on your wonderful, delicious and authentic Mole Sauce!!
Chicken Mole, Mexican Red Rice and Refried Black Beans.
Recipes by Sonia: