Today, I am sharing with you how to make a terrific mole poblano! Cinco de Mayo is an annual celebration held every May 5th to commemorate the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Meanwhile, “Mole Poblano” is a term covering many different sauces in Mexico. The word “mole” simply means sauce. As for mole poblano, it is a thick and savory chile and chocolate sauce from the state of Puebla that’s popular every Cinco de Mayo.
The authentic recipe is very involved and takes hours and even days, but I was fortunate to get a condensed version from a very old friend who also told me that this is a dish served at every special occasion in her family. As delicious as this dish sounds, I must admit that I have not attempted to make it and I only have a recipe written on paper to go by. Let’s make this together, shall we?
- 1 large chicken – cut into pieces
- 8 cups of water – more as necessary
- 1 onion – cut into pieces
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- Salt – to taste
For the sauce:
- 3.1 oz. Mexican chocolate – drinking chocolate or 1 tablet
- 2 tomatoes – roasted
- ½ ripe plantain – peeled, sliced thick
- 2-3 small slices French bread
- 2 corn tortilla
- 6 mulato peppers
- 4 ancho peppers
- 6 pasilla peppers
- 4 whole cloves
- ¼ tsp coriander seeds
- ¼ tsp anise seeds
- ¾ cup sesame seeds
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup peanuts
- 1 tbsp. reserved pepper seeds
- ½ cup almonds
- ½ small onion – sliced
- 4 garlic cloves – roasted
- ½-inch Mexican cinnamon
- pinch of black peppercorn
- reserved broth from chicken
- oil to fry the ingredients – app ½ cup
- salt to taste
TO COOK THE CHICKEN – combine all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let it simmer until chicken is cooked through. Skim the foam, move chicken to a bowl to chill, covered. Strain and reserve the broth.
FOR THE MOLE SAUCE – Get all the ingredients ready according to the list as this step is very important.
- Prepare the peppers making sure to clean the dry peppers with a wet cloth. Cut the peppers with kitchen scissors and flatten them for even toasting.
- Have a large pot ready with simmering chicken broth to soak all the ingredients after toasting or frying, allowing them to get softer and easier to grind.
- In a skillet, toast the dried peppers a few at a time on both sides. Press them down to keep them flat for even toasting and toast until the inside turns a dark brown. This takes a few seconds but be sure to not let them burn. Place the peppers with the chocolate in with the broth and allow to soak. Meanwhile, keep toasting the rest of the peppers and placing them in the broth with the other peppers.
- Toast separately the reserved pepper seeds, the coriander seeds, the anise seeds, and the sesame seeds, setting them aside when toasted to cool.
- In an electric grinder, grind as fine as possible the cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, and finally all the cooled toasted ingredients with the exception of the sesame seeds, which you will save 2 tablespoons of it to sprinkle on the mole. Now add this mixture of spices to the bowl with the peppers.
- Add a small amount of oil, grease or lard to a skillet and begin frying the following ingredients separately draining any excess fat after frying: Raisins to plump them up, almonds until well browned, pumpkin seeds until they swell but be careful to not let them jump and explode.
- Every ingredient will be added to the pot with the broth. At the same time, you can roast the tomato and garlic cloves but fry the onions until golden brown and add them to the broth.
- Fry the tortilla and bread until crisp. Carefully add lard a little at a time or it will be absorbed by the tortilla and bread and only when necessary.
- Add the plantain and sauté until golden. Using a spider or slotted spoon, shake and drain off excess fat and transfer to the bowl. Definitely use a ripe plantain only.
- Now in this bowl is where all the fried and toasted ingredients were tossed and they are now ready to whirl around in your blender. To make the blending and grinding process easier, crush the bread and the tortillas roughly, chop the roasted tomatoes and toss all into the blender.
- Add ½ cup of chicken broth to the blender along with the peeled garlic and give a whirl. Gradually add the spice mixture and blend well. Next, add another ½ cup of the broth and gradually blend the fried ingredients into a fine paste. Only add more liquid if the paste is overheating the motor. You will most likely do this in a few steps, unless you have a commercial blender or something like a Vitamix where you can do it all in one batch. The end result should be smooth or you will want to pass it all through a strainer.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, reheat the sauce, scraping the bottom of the pan often to avoid sticking. Taste and season with salt, as needed.
- Continue frying until the mixture is very thick while stirring often. Add more broth only as needed to achieve your desired thickness and then continue to cook until the mixture is bubbling – about 20-30 minutes. Pools of oil should be forming on the surface.
- Add cooked chicken to the hot mole and cooked on low heat until the chicken is heated through.
- To serve, place a piece of chicken on a dish and spoon plenty of the mole sauce over it. Sprinkle with the reserved sesame seeds. You can serve this with white rice and plenty of warmed tortillas.
- We did it! Enjoy your mole poblano.
Note: Since this mole is not spicy, add some dried chipotle peppers if you would like to add some heat. Also, add more chocolate if you want to get a little more of that flavor. Here are other ways to plate your mole pablano: