By: Chef Alan Zox
Mole is a very old and delicious sauce that continues to be as popular as ever. The town and State of Oaxaca is the home of mole that originates in southern Mexico. It’s eaten like other sauces but is even more unique and diverse in it’s ingredients. Like a sauce it can be eaten under or over an entree or a side dish or it can be used to braise your dish while cooking.
Among the 7 types of mole, all but two types include chocolate and multiple types of Chile peppers. Mole is so special that I have come to the conclusion that the subtlety and unique flavor of mole brings a beauty and virtual spirituality to the dishes they complement.
Red mole described below is terrific with chicken, duck or fowl as well as meat dishes The sauce keeps up to a week or can be frozen up to 3 months.
Recipe for Oaxacan Red Mole Sauce
Yields 2 cups
1 inch baguette
1 corn tortilla, torn into 1-inch strips
2 plum tomatoes, cut in half crosswise.
2 tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 dried ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 dried pasilla chiles, stemmed and seeded
2 dried chipotle chiles, stemmed and seeded
½ cup peanut oil
1 ½ cups water
2 cups chicken broth
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
½ head garlic, peeled and sliced
⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
⅓ cup raw, unsalted almonds
¼ cup raisins
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp dried allspice berries
1 Tbsp dried thyme
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp whole cloves, ground
2 Tbsp dark chocolate
1. Stem and seed the chiles in a large pot; tear them into small pieces.
2. Toast all the chiles including the guajillos, anchos, pasillas and chipotle chiles in a dry pan over medium heat, for 2 minutes. Avoid burning.
3. Fill the pot with water at medium high heat filled with all the chiles in the pot stirring constantly, until warm and aromatic, about 15 minutes. Discard the water and transfer the soft hydrated chiles to the blender with all the chicken broth for about 5 minutes.
4. Dry roast the pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet until they are finished popping. Again avoid burning.
5. In the same dry skillet sauté the almonds over medium heat for 5 minutes in half the peanut oil until browned, not burned.
6. Purée the tomatillos, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, almonds, tortilla strips and baguette slices in a food processor or blender. Add the rehydrated chiles, raisins, garlic, 1½ cups of water, spices, salt and sugar and puree together until very smooth. Cook this sauce/mixture together in a saucepan at medium heat for 30-35 minutes at low temperature and strain through a sieve.
7. Heat the remaining peanut oil in another skillet until almost smoking. Add the sauce and fry for 10-15 minutes longer—stirring constantly.
8. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Blend into the sauce at the last minute.
9. If sauce gets too thick, add ¼ cup water and stir for 3-5 minutes. Set aside and cover until ready to use.
If you prefer, you may wish to braise the chicken in the red mole instead of saucing after cooking your main dish. Enjoy!
Chef Alan Zox, Ph.D.
Comments and questions will be appreciated.