Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mole Sauce

While you are reading this, I am boarding a southbound plane for the land of Mole. For this reason, I needed to make my favorite sauce myself so that I can get shown up all week while I am in Mexico. That's right, friends. I am in Mexico right now while you are reading this in your cubicle. Mark and I are getting a jump start on becoming snowbirds by heading somewhere warm. I can't wait to eat everything in sight and not drink the water (tequila and dos equis, if you please). But, back to business. This sauce is complex and full of robust, yet nuanced, flavors. This is Mole a la Emily, which means that it is not authentic. It isn't even authentic adjacent, but it is delicious. I used fresh and dried chillies to give it the flavor I wanted and a few different seeds to give it body and texture. I'm not going to lie to you...this is an involved process but it is one that is well worth your efforts. I delivered a batch to Kelaine as a birthday present and I hope that she puts it to good use. I've reached into the CSK archives to keep the posts coming while I'm away, so don't worry.
Mole Sauce
1 medium yellow onion
3 cloves garlic
1 jalapeno pepper
1/8 cup sesame seeds
1/8 cup pumpkin seeds
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raisins
1 Tbs. cumin
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 bay leaves
3 Tbs. chipotle flakes
1 ancho chili
1 guajillo chili
3.16 oz. (1 bar) 86% cacao bar
1 small can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup beer
1 Tbs. honey

To Make it with chicken:
6 pieces of chicken
1 large onion
1 beer (most will work, but I used a Tecate. Next time I will try a stout)

1. Chop the onion, garlic, and jalapeno and saute on medium heat in vegetable oil. Throw in the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for 4-5 minutes until the onions become translucent.
Now let's talk about the chillies. Since I live in the gentrification zone, there are 4 grocery stores near me that target 4 different demographics. Luckily, one of them is Hispanic (don't worry...there is a yuppie Wholefoods, for my yuppie needs). I bought a couple chillies there, but you can substitute other dried chillies here if you find other types. Remember, this isn't authentic, it is yours.
A whole dried chipotle would work, but Jackie gave me this jar of dried chipotle flakes as a birthday gift (she knows me so well) so I used a scoop of these in the sauce.
The chocolate is probably the most important component of the sauce. There is a smoothness and decadence that chocolate adds that balances the heat of the peppers. It takes this from a sauce to an experience. The chocolate is the glue in this sauce that holds all of the other flavors together and it is the magic ingredient that people can't quite put their finger on, but they know there is something special.
2. Add the dry spices, chillies, and seeds to the pan and saute for a minute.
3. Add the can of tomatoes, beer, chocolate and another generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Allow to simmer, covered on medium-low heat for about an hour.
4. You can see that the sauce has thickened and darkened up and already looks delicious.
5. Pour everything into a blender and blend until smooth. It will not be baby food smooth, but you do not want big chunks of anything in the sauce. You want it to blend together into one single flavor punch.
6. At this point, you can put it in baggies and store it in the freezer for whenever the urge strikes you.
To make a simple Mole Chicken:
1. Wash and dry chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper
2. Heat a heavy bottom skillet on high heat with 3 Tbs. olive oil and saute the chicken for 4-5 minutes per side to get good color on the meat. I leave the skins on while I cook the meat to add flavor and lock in the juices, but I remove the skins later because they loose their crispy texture when you braise them in the mole sauce.
3. Remove the chicken pieces and set aside, turn the heat down to medium, and add the coarsely chopped onion and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. I used 5 pieces of chicken and I used about 2 cups of mole sauce with that amount of chicken. Add 2 cups of mole to the onions, and add 1 beer to thin it out because you are going to cook it again to get the chicken to be nice and tender.
5. Add the chicken back to the pot along with any juices, cover and cook on medium low heat for about an hour, until the chicken is falling off the bone.
I served this with white rice and a big smile on my face.

Sidebar: My sister met Ms. Nigella Lawson at a book signing on Monday afternoon in Philadelphia and picked me up a signed copy of her new book Kitchen (I already have my copy that I preordered so that it would be by my side weeks ago, but this one will have a personal message from my favorite food writer). My sister also reports that she is just a beautiful in person as she is on TV. I knew it! Thanks Katie!


  1. it is true i was face to face with the queen herself! it was magical. her and i were just chatting for so long i couldn't manage to get a good picture with her :( ok well actually the real story is that i acted like a 12 year old at a justin beiber concert and couldn't stop gushing long enough to get any good shots. sigh

  2. Wow, Katie is a lucky girl.

    PS - Alex told me "I can't hide the mole forever."