Chicken Mole: Rich Mexican Sauce

Chicken Mole (pronounced “MOH-lay”) is a culinary masterpiece from Mexico, celebrated for its rich and complex sauce that boasts a blend of spices, chocolate, and chilies. This traditional dish is a symbol of Mexico’s blended indigenous and colonial Spanish heritage, with each region offering its unique take on the recipe. The word “mole” comes from the Nahuatl word “molli,” meaning sauce or concoction. Preparing mole is often a festive and communal event, with the sauce typically made in large quantities and served during special occasions. The depth of flavor in chicken mole is unparalleled, with a subtle sweetness, a hint of spice, and an umami depth that is utterly captivating.

Ingredients for Chicken Mole

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 3 dried ancho chilies
  • 2 dried pasilla chilies
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sesame seeds and fresh cilantro for garnish

Cooking Steps for Chicken Mole

  • In a large pot, bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Add the chicken breasts and poach them until cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Remove the chicken and reserve the broth.
  • While the chicken is cooking, remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. Toast the chilies in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant. Transfer to a bowl and cover with hot water to soak for 30 minutes.
  • In the same skillet, toast the sesame seeds, raisins, and almonds until golden, and then remove from heat.
  • In a blender, combine the soaked chilies, toasted sesame seeds, raisins, almonds, onion, tomatoes, garlic, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, and some of the reserved chicken broth. Blend into a smooth paste.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mole paste and cook, stirring constantly, for about 10 minutes. Add the remaining chicken broth and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the chopped dark chocolate to the sauce, stirring until melted and well integrated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Return the cooked chicken to the skillet, coating it with the mole sauce. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Serve the chicken mole garnished with sesame seeds and chopped cilantro. Accompany with rice, tortillas, or both.

In conclusion, Chicken Mole is a dish that reflects the rich cultural tapestry of Mexico’s culinary history. It demonstrates that with patience and the right blend of ingredients, flavors from diverse origins can come together to create something truly extraordinary. When preparing mole, it’s important to source the best quality chilies and spices for a more authentic and robust taste. Dark chocolate with a high cocoa content will add the necessary bitterness and complexity to the sauce. Chicken Mole is not only a delicious meal but also a celebration of tradition and the artistry of Mexican cooking.

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