Prep 25 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins
This is a classic Oaxacan dish, served with rice. Each family has their own version, this one is made by the Restaurant La Olla, Oaxaca México. A little information: Oaxaca is to Mexican food lovers and cooks perhaps what Florence is to art aficionados. Walking through any village market, or just down the street in Oaxaca is a aromatic as well as visual delight. In Oaxaca, it is difficult for one to walk for very long without ending up in a market and passing a dozen little restaurants. Not only has Oaxaca made significant contributions to the flavors of the world - especially with its extraordinary mole (mo-lay) sauces: sharp, thick, sweetly complex, with top notes of smoke, sometimes clove and citrus and always undertones of dried-chile heat, but the Indians from Oaxaca invented two of the cooking utensils that are still essential in Mexican cooking: the molcajete (stone utensil used to crush and mix spices) and the comal (metal utensil for heating and baking). Oaxaca is justly famous worldwide for its vibrant, inventive, and diverse cuisine. The markets and restaurants produce their succulent, rich moles for which Oaxaca is famous. There are at least seven basic varieties of mole made in the region. Here are nine: negro (black), amarillo (yellow), coloradito (reddish), almendrado (with almonds), verde (green), rojo (red), Manchamanteles (tablecloth stainer) and chichilo negro. There is always mole being served in Oaxaca, such as the coloradito; with its brick-red color of roasted chiles, sautéed spices, and ground, charred bread, it is elusively spicy and with a slightly tangy sweetness, a little smoky, with the fullness of toasted grain and a bit more pungent than the negro or the amarillo, which is especially mild, with its clean chile flavor, a strong top note of cumin and a slightly oily texture.
- 1 entire skinless chicken breast, with bones but without skin
- 1⁄4 medium white onion
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 5 guajillo chilies
- 10 red ancho chilies
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 bread rolls, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon marjoram (optional)
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1⁄2 cup chocolate, cut in pieces
- 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, divided
- 10 almonds
- 10 raisins
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1⁄8 medium white onion
- 3 medium tomatoes, cooked
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- cooked rice (optional)
- Cook the chicken in 4 cups of water, with garlic, onion and salt on medium heat for 45 minutes. Check to make sure that the chicken is cooked through.
- Mole sauce:.
- Wash the chiles with a damp cloth, remove the stems of the chiles, slit open with a knife and remove the seeds and veins. Toast the chiles on both sides in large frying pan over high heat, making sure that they do not burn.
- Soak the chiles in boiling water to soften them for about 10 minute Meanwhile, fry the almonds in 3 tbls. of the shortening on medium heat for 5 min., or until they are a golden color.
- Take them out and set aside.
- Next fry the raisins until they puff up and the skin browns a bit, then remove and strain in a sieve. Turn the heat down a bit, and fry the sesame seeds in the same oil, adding a little salt to prevent them from jumping from pan.
- Once golden, remove and store on an absorbent paper towel. Still in the same oil, fry the slices of bread, until they are golden. Remove and put on an absorbent paper towel. On a dry pan or skittle roast the garlic, onion and tomato until they are nicely toasted with black spots.
- In a blender, grind the chiles with a half cup of water, and add more water as necessary to blend. Once the mixture is smooth, pour into a saucepan and fry with one tbsp of the shortening for 10 minute on medium heat. Stirring occasionally to ensure that it does not stick to the pan.
- Next, blend both the roasted and fried ingredients together, until smooth. Blend the tomatoes and strain through a colander and add into the chile mixture. Now add the cinnamon sick, thyme, marjoram(if using) and the oregano. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add the chicken broth, salt, sugar and chocolate on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove cinnamon stick. Cool for 15 minutes. Pour the chicken in a serving dish, serve with rice.
It's pretty darn amazing.
We've made this mole at home a couple of times and it is truly excellent. I am a chef and I have taken several cooking classes from Chef Pilar Cabrera owner of La Olla Restaurant where this recipe is supposed to be from. The version taught in her mole class is slightly different but that is not unusual in a region where everyone has their own version of each mole.
I read the reviews and I thought I'd add a couple of notes that might be helpful to those working strictly from this recipe.
Some versions call for "two whole peppers" or "two pimienta gorda." This does not refer to what we call pepper (Piper nigrum or black pepper) but to what we know as Allspice which provides a completely different flavor.
The chocolate mentioned as an ingredient is Oaxacan chocolate not unsweetened or semi-sweet chocolate. Oaxacan chocolate is a mix of Cacao, sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes vanilla so substituting with semi-sweet, unsweetened or similar chocolates will not produce the desired flavor.
If you can get it one of the best is Chocolate Mayordomo which is excellent but a bit pricey. A distant second would be Chocolate Ibarra or Chocolate La Abuelita both readily available at most large supermarkets in the Latin food sections.
Finally, as one of the reviewers mentioned, this recipe is a lot of work! So why not double the recipe and save the extra mole for other occasions. Mole freezes excedingly well specially if you vacuum pack it first. I make a large batch, divide into single servings and freeze them on a tray before vacuum packing.
This was a lot of work, but well worth the effort, especially because I have at least 2 cups of leftover sauce that I will have fun finding creative ways to use up! My hubby helped with the entire process, and it took us 2 hours working together to make the sauce, so make this when you want something really good and as close to the restaurants as I've found but have tons of time and extra help in the kitchen. I could tell this was going to be great as I was reconstituting the dried peppers and could smell the smoky sweetness that is mole. We omitted the salt and onion entirely and did not miss either at all. The only thing I would play around with next time is making the sauce slightly sweeter. Maybe adding more raisins as I could not taste them at all. Or maybe experimenting with a different type of chocolate. I used unsweetened dark chocolate and maybe a sweetened version would take it to the perfect point for me. Also, hubby felt that there were certain steps that could be combined or eliminated to save time, but I don't know if that would affect the quality of the sauce at all, such as roasting the almonds and raisins together instead of separately. I felt the oregano was a little overpowering for my tastes and would probably use the weaker grocery store dried oregano next time instead of my MIL's dried from her garden which is much stronger. Thanks Sharon for a wonderful recipe that I will definitely make again! Made for Holiday tag.