Lacquered Chicken in Classic Red Mole - Rick Bayless

READY IN: 24hrs


  • Mole
  • 10
    ounces tomatillos, husked and rinsed
  • 1 13
    cups about 6 1/2 ounces sesame seeds
  • 1
    cup rich tasting pork lard or 1 cup 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
  • 12
    teaspoon black pepper, preferably freshly ground
  • 12
    teaspoon anise, preferably freshly ground
  • 14
    teaspoon clove, preferably freshly ground
  • 2
    slices firm white bread, darkly toasted and broken into several pieces
  • 2
    ounces mexican chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 3
  • 13 - 12
    cup sugar
  • Chicken
  • 12
    cup agave syrup (preferably organic raw) or 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 24
    pieces chicken (24 leg-and-thigh pieces, 24 bone-in chicken breast halves or a mixture of the two)
  • toasted sesame seeds (reserved from the Classic Red Mole recipe)
  • 1
    sprig watercress (to garnish) or 1 sprig flat-leaf parsley (to garnish)


  • 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, stirringly nearly constantly, until golden, about 5 minutes. Scrape half of them in with the tomatillos. Reserve the remainder for sprinkling on the chicken.
  • 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), 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.
  • 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 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.).
  • 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.
  • You're now ready to make Lacquered Chicken or you can cool, cover and refrigerate until you're ready to use. When you're ready to proceed, rewarm the mole.
  • Make the chicken: Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small (2-quart) saucepan, mix together 1 cup of the mole with the agave nectar or corn syrup. Simmer over medium heat until glossy and reduced to 1 cup, about a half hour. On rimmed baking sheets, lay out the chicken in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 45 minutes (the chicken should be tender to the bone at this point—leg-and-thigh portions should register 165 degrees at the thickest part on an instant-read thermometer).
  • Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Tip off the juices that have collected around the chicken, then brush the pieces liberally with the glossy mole mixture. Sprinkle with the reserved sesame seeds. Bake for 10 minutes to set the glaze.
  • Remove from the oven, let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, then slide into a very low oven to keep warm until serving time—preferably no longer than 30 minutes.
  • Serve each portion of chicken with about 1/2 cup of warm mole, decorated with watercress or flat-leaf parsley and sprinkled with any left over sesame seeds.