Rich Red Mole with Chicken

Very special, making a mole from scratch is not an easy or fast undertaking, but the results are undeniable. Plan on 4-5 hours, but this can be stretched over a couple days too. The sauce will hold in the fridge (and maybe even get better) for up to 5 days. Can be served with white rice and tortillas, with cilantro or watercress as garnish.

This is a Rick Bayless recipe and he has variations on moles abound, but I largely adapted from this, which has outstanding visuals I HIGHLY recommend you review.

Ingredients notes: This recipe is for a whole chicken quartered (which is economical as well as impressive), and remember that bones add flavor. But I prefer white meat here, and you could just get skin-on breasts and slice them as I have for a more “turkey-like” presentation. Cooking for two? Make all the sauce and just get the chicken you need, the sauce freezes well.

Shopping note: If you are in Tucson, shop at the Food City on Valencia, they have everything and other locations won’t. Online, you should be able to get most things at www.mexgrocer.com.

Cooking Note: With 26 ingredients, preparation is key. Get all your ducks in a row and understand the recipe well before you start. Have a game-plan, have your tools and dishes ready, and clean as you go to avoid a mess.

Very important is that the cooking times will vary based on the cut of meat, your stove top etc., so I stress to treat the sauce and the meat separately to some degree. Make sure your sauce is right, then make sure your meat is cooked (use a thermometer), when you combine the two it will all work out (so don’t burn your sauce trying to finish the meat in the same pot, for example, remove the meat and bake it to finish, keeping the sauce warm). Both the chicken and the sauce should hold well so don’t rush at the end and screw up 5 hours of work, most problems are fixable here.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 15-ounce can tomatoes, well drained and chopped
  • 4 ounces tomatillos, husked rinsed, and chopped
  • 3/4 ounce Mexican chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 black peppercorns
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 medium ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded (part of the Pasilla family, which can be confusing)
  • 2 medium mulato chiles, stemmed and seeded (also known as a chile negro, longer and thin)
  • 1 medium pasilla chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds, plus more for the finished dish
  • 6 tablespoons or so of lard (vegetable oil is not as good, but possible here)
  • 2 tablespoons unskinned peanuts
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1/4 medium onion, thickly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/3 small ripe plantain, skin discarded, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 corn tortilla, stale
  • 1 slice white bread, stale or dried out
  • 1 chicken, quartered
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Tools

  • Blender
  • Large Non-Stick Skillet
  • Knife and Cutting Board
  • Dutch Oven (I used a 5.5 quart comfortably)
  • Bowls, large and small
  • Paper towels
  • Mesh Sieve, spatula for pressing
  • Tongs, measuring cups and spoons

Directions

  1. Mix together the tomato, tomatillos, chocolate, oregano, and thyme in a large bowl. Grind the bay leaf, black pepper corns, cloves, and cinnamon in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Add the spices to the large bowl.
  2. Set a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Toast the sesame seeds, stirring occasionally until lightly browned. Set aside in the large bowl.
  3. Tear the chiles into 1-inch pieces. Add two tablespoons of the lard to the skillet.
  4. With the heat still on medium, add a couple of the chiles and cook for just a few seconds on each side. Pick the up the pieces with tongs, and let some of the oil drip off before transferring to a medium sized bowl. Repeat process with the rest of the chiles.
  5. Cover the chiles with enough boiling water to cover, and then set a small plate or bowl on top to keep them submerged. Let them soak for at least an hour.
  6. There should be some lard in the skillet still. If not, add a tablespoon of lard. When hot, add the peanuts and cook, stirring often, until they turn a light brown. Remove, drain, and then add to the large bowl with the sesame seeds. Add the raisins to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until they literally puff up. Remove, let drain, and then add to the large bowl.
  7. Add another tablespoon of lard to the skillet and add the onions and garlic. Cook for about 8 to 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is browned. Remove, press out some of the oil, and then add to the large bowl.
  8. Add the plantains to the skillet and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, until they are lightly browned.
  9. Add the rest of the lard to the skillet. When hot, fry the tortilla until browned. Remove, drain, and then set in the large bowl. Fry the bread until browned. Tear it up and add it to the large bowl.
  10. Scoop about half of the mixture in the large bow into a blender. Add 1/2 cup of broth, and then blend until very smooth.
  11. Strain the mixture through a sieve (pressing with the spatula) into another bowl. Repeat the process with the other half of the mixture.
  12. After the hour, drain the water off the chiles. Puree the chiles in two batches with a 1/4 cup of broth with each. Strain each batch into another bowl.
  13. Add a heaping tablespoon of lard to a dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken pieces for 3 minutes on each set. Remove the chicken, and set aside on a plate.
  14. Still over medium-high heat, pour the chile puree into the pot.
  15. Stir often, and cook until it thick and dark, about 5 minutes.
  16. Add the other puree to the pot, cook for another 5 minutes stirring often, until the mixture is very thick.
  17. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of the chicken broth. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover the pot, and let cook for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally. The sauce should be the consistency of a cream soup, if it reduces too far (too thick) add water. Remember that you will be turning up the heat to cook the chicken in here as well and the sauce will further reduce as you do that.
  18. Season the sauce with the salt and sugar if the sauce needs it. If you’re using canned chicken broth it might already be salty enough.
  19. Turn the heat to medium. Add the leg pieces and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the breasts and cook for 14 more minutes. Check for doneness of the chicken with a meat thermometer (FDA says 170 degrees for a breast, but buy organic and 150 is fine and better), it will continue to cook as it rests, and don’t let the sauce burn or over reduce. If the chicken needs to cook more but the sauce is burning, remove the chicken and bake at 400 in the oven for ten minutes or so. It will turn the sauce to a glaze on the meat and your sauce can be kept warm. If you’d prefer to cook separately, Rick Bayless has a method for that here which might be a little easier, frankly.
  20. Serve the chicken pieces with ample amounts of the sauce and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

*Serves 4


All recipes stolen/borrowed from somewhere, butchered/adapted exclusively by CHEF BOY/R/C.