24 September 2010

Mole Sauce ...

I have been wanting to make a mole sauce since I saw the movie Chocolat and watched the mole feast that Vianne prepares for Armande's diabetic 'swan song'.  The romance of that feast and the joy that everyone attending had, when sharing the turkey mole that Vianne prepared, was such a wonderful piece of moviemaking. I can only think of a couple other movies in which gathering at the table is as visually gorgeous and cinematically perfect ... Like Water For Chocolate and Babette's Feast being the two in my mind's eye. But, I digress.

I have been looking for mole recipes and trying mole sauces in various restaurants over the past few years and I must admit, I have not found the perfect sauce ... yet.  Most sauces I've had are cloyingly sweet. My idea of mole ... chili pepper warm with a  bittersweet chocolate flavor that is just above a hint in a thick tomato/nut sauce. I've looked and looked and I think this recipe has potential. All recipes. com spit this recipe at me, and after really looking and thinking about it, I decided to give it a try. It sat on my shelf for a couple weeks while I looked around the markets at the different chili peppers and different chocolates.   I was also inspired because of the fiesta camp-out we had last weekend; a nice slow-cooker with a mole sauce and chicken would've been a real treat.

The final straw was pile of hubbard squash and the last of the tomatoes coming in from the garden the other day.  The thought of roasted squash with pepitas and some chicken mole sitting on a plate that evening inspired me to finally do the market run for  good chocolate, a mixture of peppers, and the other spices needed to put the sauce together. I used boneless chicken thighs because of the dark meat and because I don't like picking for bones in the sauce. I used Lindt chocolate 86%  with added chili essence. I used the poached chicken broth to soak the peppers. I used olive oil for sautes, and did not toast the sesame seeds (but I will next time!).   I also halved the recipe and it was plenty for SB and I. In fact, it was pretty darn good, for now.  The sauce still needs some fine tuning, but I'm getting there. If you try it, get back to me on your thoughts ... please! The perfect mole sauce IS out there! So... let's make some chicken mole!

Chicken with Mole Sauce - printer friendly

Prepare an herbal bouquet for poaching the chicken pieces, by cutting parsley, thyme, and oregano.

Place the chicken, bouquet garni, a small onion that has been quartered, and just enough chicken broth to cover the meat in a heavy pot and bring to a simmer.  Cover and leave it for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is done. Remove the chicken to a cool plate, cover, and set aside.

Seed and de-vein  chili peppers. I used habanero, anaheims, and red chilis ... I think. I am still confused when it comes to identifying all those different peppers!  Two were very hot and the third type was mellower.

Roast the peppers in a pan over high heat until they begin to brown and the skins begin to pop. Don't over roast, though!
When the oils begin to vaporize (your eyes will feel it), remove them from the heat.

Place the roasted peppers in a dish and cover with some of the poached chicken broth. Set aside.

Toss the equivalent of three large tomatoes (I used these cherry tomatoes) into boiling water for a few minutes until the skins pop. Remove them with a slotted spoon and pull the peels off of them. Pop them into a blender and process until smooth.

Fry up chopped onion and garlic cloves in olive oil with a small piece of cinnamon bark. When they are softened,  remove the cinnamon stick and add the onions and garlic to the tomatoes in the blender.

Measure the spices and add them to the tomatoes in the blender. Chop the plantain and fry it in the same pan that you used for the onions and garlic. When it's softened, add to the tomatoes et. al.

Lift the chili peppers from the broth and add to the tomatoes et. al. Pulse until everything is beginning to become
incorporated. Measure the chicken broth and add. Then puree the sauce until smooth.

Return the sauce to the pan in which you cooked the chicken, bring the heat up under the sauce and add the chocolate, stirring to melt. Taste for level of chocolate flavor. Simmer the sauce until it is very thick, stirring often.  Return the meat and warm it thoroughly.

Serve with warm tortillas for mopping up the sauce, a side of vegetables, and a cool tomato and avocado salad ... Rioja wine is nice also.


  1. Will you invite me over the next time you make this? I could never do it, but I sure would love to try it!

  2. Susan @ Max26/9/10 6:30 PM

    Oh, Max! It truly was as easy as following the pictures! You CAN do it!

  3. Yum. I am hungry now. I will have to refer to this when I reach mexico....


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