Red Mole



Hope you enjoyed your weekend. I didn’t do too much. I ran some errands, did a sewing project and went out to dinner with my parents. My dad loves buffets. He has been wanting to go or a while so this weekend was his weekend! It was super hard eating health there at the buffet, but i think I did pretty well.

I had been wanting to make mole (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmole] (english pronounciation MOH-lay) for a while and I did make it a few weeks ago and am just now posting it. It is not the kind of mole you might have somewhere on your body. It is a delicious sauce that took me forever to make! There are red moles, green moles and even yellow mole. I have only ever had the red mole and it is so good.

I actually started my preparations the night before I made the so that the next morning I could  start making the mole. I am going to be realistic…It was a lot of work! Any other times I’ve made mole I have gone to the store and bought a jar of Doña Maria Mole but darn it I was going to make homemade mole and homemade mole I made! I stayed in my PJ’s the whole time I made the mole because I knew I was going to get splattered with delicious red sauce.



10 ounces (5 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 1/3 cup (about 6 1/2 ounces) sesame seeds
1 cup rich-tasting pork lard or vegetable oil, plus a little more if necessary
6 ounces (about 12 medium) dried mulato chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
3 ounces (about 6 medium) dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
3 ounces (about 10 medium) dried pasilla chiles, stemmed, seeded and torn into large flat pieces
8 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup (about 4 ounces) unskinned almonds
1 cup (about 4 ounces) raisins
1 teaspoon cinnamon, preferably freshly ground Mexican canela
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
1/2 teaspoon anise, preferably freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cloves, preferably freshly ground
2 slices firm white bread, darkly toasted and broken into several pieces
2 ounces (about 2/3 of a 3.3-ounce tablet) Mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
3 quarts chicken broth
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar


1.   Preliminaries.  On a rimmed baking sheet, roast the tomatillos 4 inches below a very hot broiler until splotchy black and thoroughly soft, about 5 minutes per side.  Scrape into a large bowl.  In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds, stirring nearly constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes.  Scrape half of them in with the tomatillos.  Reserve the remainder for sprinkling on the chicken.

2.   Brown other mole ingredients.  Turn on an exhaust fan or open a kitchen door or window.  In a very large soup pot (I typically use a 12-quart stainless steel stock pot or a medium-large Mexican earthenware cazuela), heat the lard or oil over medium.  When quite hot, fry the chiles, three or four pieces at a time, flipping them nearly constantly with tongs until their interior side has changed to a lighter color, about 20 or 30 seconds total frying time.  Don’t toast them so darkly that they begin to smoke—that would make the mole bitter.  As they’re done, remove them to a large bowl, being careful to drain as much fat as possible back into the pot.  Cover the toasted chiles with hot tap water and let rehydrate 30 minutes, stirring frequently to insure even soaking.

Remove any stray chile seeds left in the fat.  With the pot still over medium heat, fry the garlic and almonds, stirring regularly, until browned (the garlic should be soft), about 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, remove to the tomatillo bowl, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot.

Add the raisins to the hot pot.  Stir for 20 or 30 seconds, until they’ve puffed and browned slightly.  Scoop them out, draining as much fat as possible back into the pot, and add to the tomatillos. Set the pan aside off the heat.

To the tomatillo mixture, add the cinnamon, black pepper, anise, cloves, bread and chocolate.  Add 2 cups water and stir to combine.

3.   Blend, strain, cook.  Into a large measuring cup, tip off the chiles’ soaking liquid. Taste the liquid:  if it’s not bitter, discard all abut 6 cups of the liquid. (if you’re short, add water to make up the shortfall).  If bitter, pour it out and measure 6 cups water.  Scoop half of the chiles into a blender jar, pour in half of the soaking liquid (or water) and blend to a smooth puree.  Press through a medium-mesh strainer into a large bowl; discard the bits of skin and seeds that don’t pass through the strainer.  Repeat with the remaining chiles.

Return the soup pot or cazuela to medium heat.  When quite hot, pour in the chile puree—it should sizzle sharply and, if the pan is sufficiently hot, the mixture should never stop boiling.  Stir every couple of minutes until the chile puree has darkened and reduced to the consistency of tomato paste, about a half hour. (I find it useful to cover the pot with an inexpensive spatter screen to catch any spattering chile.)

In two batches, blend the tomatillo mixture as smoothly as possible (you may need an extra 1/2 cup water to keep everything moving through the blades), then strain it in to the large bowl that contained the chiles. When the chile paste has reduced, add the tomatillo mixture to the pot and cook, stirring every few minutes until considerably darker and thicker, 15 to 20 minutes. (Again, a spatter screen saves a lot of cleanup.)

4.   Simmer.  Add the broth to the pot and briskly simmer the mixture over medium to medium-low heat for about 2 hours for all the flavors to come together and mellow. If the mole has thickened beyond the consistency of a cream soup, stir in a little water.  Taste and season with salt (usually about 4 teaspoons) and the sugar.

I served the mole over some pan cooked chicken with a side of Mexican rice. You can also add your cooked chicken or turkey to the mole in the pot. Some people like the mole really chocolate tasting and other do not. I prefer it not too chocolate tasting at all. This recipe made quite a bit so I was able to take some to my parents and then freeze the left overs.







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