This Mexican Chicken Mole Sauce Recipe is an authentic recipe from the Mexican Gastronomy School in Mexico City, and made with many ingredients.
This Mole Poblano is as authentic as it gets. Mole has always been a complex recipe to make. This recipe is from my tenure at the Escuela de Gastronomia Mexicana. We got in teams of 5 and worked together to make the most perfect mole. I have tried many moles in my life, but this was by far the most delicious mole I have ever tasted.
Most mole sauces taste different. Some are smokier, others are sweeter and others are spicy. There is yellow mole and dark mole, which is what we are using. Ingredients include chiles, nuts, warm spices, raisins, cinnamon, cumin and tomatoes. As for the texture, this mole sauce is smooth. Making authentic mole is time consuming, but the end result is totally worth it.
If you love this recipe, feel free to check out my Mole Rojo.
What is Mole Sauce?
The term mole refers to several types of highly seasoned Mexican sauces made primarily from chiles and spices, and which are thickened with corn, tortilla, or bread dough. It also refers to the same meat or vegetable-based stews that are usually prepared with these thick sauces. Mole is of pre-Hispanic origin, and was offered in ceremonies as an offering to the gods. Of the many existing mole variants, the most popular is mole poblano, a dark mole from Puebla. Other moles are white mole, almond mole, and Oaxacan mole.
What do you serve Mole with?
Mole is a Mexican sauce made from a combination of ingredients such as various kinds of chili peppers, chocolate, and spices, among other ingredients. The result, a sauce that is traditionally served with chicken, turkey, rice dishes and meat dishes.
Ingredients in Mole Sauce
- Bone-in Chicken thighs
- Dried chiles mulato
- Dried chiles pasilla
- Dried chipotle chilies
- Red onion
- Peeled almonds
- Sesame seeds
- Whole peppercorn
- Dark chocolate
- Chicken broth
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Chicken Mole
Brown the chicken: Brown the chicken dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. In a large dutch oven or pot on medium-high heat, add the butter and wait for it to melt. Brown the chicken for 4-6 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken on a plate. Remove the dutch oven from heat but save the liquid inside of it.
Make first mixture: Remove the seeds and stems from the chiles mulato, chiles pasillas, and chipotle chilies. Keep the seeds in a small bowl. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the chipotle chilies and the almonds for 15 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the browned chicken in the same boiling water, and boil for 15 minutes. Meanwhile that is boiling, in a pan on medium heat, toast the mulato chilies and pasilla chilies about 2-3 minutes on each side, until slightly toasted. Remove and set aside. In the same pan, add the whole tomatoes, about 5 minutes, flipping once.
In a blender, add the tomatoes, chiles mulato, the chiles pasilla, chipotle chilies, red onion and garlic cloves. Add tomatoes first so it creates a liquid and then add the rest. Feel free to use a tiny bit of water to blend easier. Reserve liquid on the side - this is your first mixture. Season with salt to taste.
Make second mixture: Heat up the dutch oven back up on medium heat. Add the raisins, sesame seeds and chili seeds for about 1-2 minutes, until fragrant, stirring frequently. Add the toasted raisins, sesame seeds, anise, almonds and chili seeds, toasted bread, ground cinnamon, pepper corn, and cloves in the blender. Use water to help blend but try to keep a thick consistency. Blend until smooth and reserve.
Add the first chili mixture into the dutch oven and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add the second mixture into the pot, and simmer for an hour. Season salt to taste. Add the chocolate into the mixture, until dissolved.
Return the chicken and chicken broth and simmer for 45 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
Hint: If the sauce thickens too fast, keep adding a little bit of chicken broth into the mixture.
Chicken: Instead of using a whole chicken, you can use chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs. Anything with the bone in.
Butter: I love using salted butter but you could always use unsalted butter and adjust the salt yourself.
Chilies: Instead of chiles mulato, you can use chiles anchos. You can buy dried chilies at your local Hispanic grocery store or the ethnic section of your grocery store. If there isn’t dried chilies anywhere, you can buy dried chilies mulato, chile pasilla, and chipotle chilies on Amazon.
Tomatoes: I used roma tomatoes, but you can use Campari, or tomatoes on the vine.
Anise: Regular anise and star anise can be used interchangeably when ground. Be aware that star anise is much stronger that anise, so use a little less if going that route.
Mexican Chicken Mole Sauce Recipe Variations
Chicken mole, also known as mole poblano, is a classic Mexican dish known for its rich and complex flavors. Traditionally made with a combination of chocolate, chili peppers, spices, and other ingredients, mole sauce can be customized to suit individual tastes. Here are some delicious variations of chicken mole recipe:
- Spicy Mole: For those who love heat, add extra chili peppers such as ancho, chipotle, or guajillo to the mole sauce to give it a spicy kick. Adjust the amount of chili peppers based on your desired level of spiciness.
- Peanut Mole: To add a unique twist to the traditional mole, you can add a handful of peanuts or peanut butter to the sauce. This will give the mole a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that complements the other ingredients well. Check out my Pork in Peanut Sauce.
- Almond Mole: Instead of peanuts, you can use almonds or almond butter to create a mole sauce with a rich and creamy texture. Almonds add a slightly sweet and nutty taste to the mole, making it a delightful variation. Check out my Mole Almendrado.
- Coffee Mole: For coffee lovers, adding a small amount of coffee or espresso to the mole sauce can add a deep and robust flavor to the dish. The bitterness of the coffee complements the sweetness of the chocolate, creating a complex and delicious mole sauce.
- Saucepan or Dutch oven: A saucepan or Dutch oven is essential for cooking the mole sauce. It should be large enough to hold all the ingredients and allow for stirring and simmering.
- Blender or Food Processor: A blender or food processor is needed to blend the mole sauce to a smooth consistency. This helps to create the signature velvety texture of mole sauce.
- Skillet or Frying Pan: You may need a skillet or frying pan to toast the spices, chili peppers, and other ingredients before adding them to the saucepan. Toasting the ingredients enhances their flavors and adds depth to the mole sauce.
- Cutting Board and Knife: You'll need a cutting board and a sharp knife to chop and prepare the various ingredients, such as onions, garlic, and chili peppers, that go into the mole sauce.
- Wooden Spoon or Spatula: A wooden spoon or spatula is useful for stirring the mole sauce as it simmers, preventing it from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
- Fine Mesh Strainer: You may need a fine mesh strainer to strain the mole sauce and remove any solids or lumps for a smooth and consistent texture.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: Accurate measurements are important for getting the right balance of flavors in mole sauce, so you'll need measuring cups and spoons to measure out the ingredients.
- Cooking Utensils: Basic cooking utensils like a spatula, ladle, and tongs will come in handy for various tasks such as flipping chicken, serving the mole sauce, and stirring.
- Pot or Pan for Cooking Chicken: If you're making chicken mole, you'll need a separate pot or pan to cook the chicken before adding it to the mole sauce.
How to store Mexican Chicken Mole
- Let it cool: Allow the chicken mole to cool to room temperature before storing it. Avoid storing hot mole in airtight containers as it can create condensation and promote bacterial growth.
- Transfer to an airtight container: Once the mole has cooled, transfer it to a clean, airtight container. Glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids are suitable for storing mole.
- Store in the refrigerator: Place the airtight container with the chicken mole in the refrigerator. Mole sauce can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
- Freeze for longer storage: If you want to store the chicken mole for a longer period, you can freeze it. Mole sauce can be frozen for up to 2 to 3 months. To freeze, transfer the mole to airtight freezer-safe containers or zip-top freezer bags, leaving some headspace for expansion.
- Label and date: Remember to label the container or bag with the contents and date so that you can easily identify it later.
- Thawing and reheating: To use the frozen mole, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, reheat the mole on the stovetop over low heat, stirring frequently until it reaches a simmering temperature. Add a little water or broth if the sauce has thickened during storage.
- Check for freshness: Before consuming leftover chicken mole, always check for signs of spoilage such as off odors, mold, or unusual texture. If it appears or smells off, discard it.
Mexican Chicken Mole Sauce Recipe Top tips
- Toast the ingredients: Toasting the dried chili peppers, spices, and other ingredients before blending them adds depth and complexity to the mole sauce. Use a dry skillet or frying pan over medium heat to toast the ingredients until fragrant, being careful not to burn them.
- Use quality ingredients: Using high-quality ingredients, such as authentic Mexican chili peppers, high-quality chocolate, and fresh spices, can greatly enhance the flavor of your mole sauce. Fresh ingredients will give your mole sauce a more vibrant taste.
- Blend to a smooth consistency: For a velvety smooth mole sauce, use a blender or food processor to blend the sauce until it reaches a smooth consistency. This will ensure a rich and luscious texture that coats the chicken evenly.
- Adjust sweetness and spiciness: Mole sauce should have a balance of sweet, spicy, and savory flavors. Taste the mole sauce as you go and adjust the sweetness and spiciness to your liking. You can add more sugar or chocolate for sweetness, or more chili peppers for spiciness.
- Use chicken with bone-in: Using chicken with bone-in, such as chicken thighs or drumsticks, adds flavor and richness to the mole sauce. The bones release their flavors into the sauce as it simmers, resulting in a more flavorful dish.
- Simmer for a long time: Mole sauce develops its flavors over time, so be patient and let it simmer for a while. The longer you simmer the sauce, the more the flavors will meld together and intensify.
- Make it ahead of time: Mole sauce tastes even better when made ahead of time and allowed to sit for a day or two in the refrigerator. This allows the flavors to meld and deepen, resulting in a more complex and delicious sauce.
- Serve with traditional accompaniments: Mexican chicken mole is traditionally served with rice, tortillas, or cornbread. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, chopped cilantro, or crumbled queso fresco for an authentic touch.
- Don't be afraid to experiment: Mole sauce is a versatile dish, and you can experiment with different types of chili peppers, spices, and other ingredients to make it your own. Don't be afraid to adjust the recipe to suit your taste preferences and dietary restrictions.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove