Chicken Mole Recipe

Now it’s time for the piece de resistance of our fiesta…the Chicken Mole. Mole is a traditional Mexican chile based sauce that uses ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, onions, spices and even chocolate to give it a complex taste that continues to develop as it sits on your tongue. It is not about the heat, it is about the spices and fragrance. There are many different varieties of mole, but we went with David Lebovitz’s traditional recipe.

Don’t be scared by other blogs that tell you that mole is complicated or advanced. It isn’t at all. Sure there are lots of steps, but the actual techniques are all very elementary. What it takes is patience and persistence. If you think you can do that, then you can make mole. 
Chicken Mole (heavily adapted from David Lebovitz’s recipe)

6 mild/medium dried chiles(we used a combination of puya, aji amarillo and pasilla negro chiles, or you can use canned chipotles in adobo sauce)
1 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup tahini
2 onions, diced
1 can tomato puree
1/4 cup diced prunes
3 cloves garlic, roasted
¼ teaspoon each: cinnamon, ground cloves, dried oregano, powdered cumin, ground coriander
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper
1 cup water (or more, as needed)
1 oz very dark (at least 80% dark. We used Taza dark chocolate flavored with chipotle)

 1) Soak the chiles in hot water for about 20 minutes, or until they are soft and plump.  

 2) Then remove them from the water, split them down the middle

…scrape out the seeds with the tip of your knife (or leave them in if you want heat) and chop them.

 3) Put the chiles in the blender with a few tablespoons of water,

 and pulse the chiles and the water until it makes a smooth paste. If you are having a hard time bledning the chiles, just add some more water in there. There will still be some chunks of chiles in there, and that is okay. Set the paste aside.

4) Saute some onions in a large stockpot until they are golden brown.

 5) Add the chicken stock,

 the tomato paste, the garlic

 the prunes

 and the spices.

 6) Add the tahini and bring the pot to a rolling boil. Boil for about 15 minutes and taste for seasonings.

 7) Puree in a blender or with a stick blender.

 8) Put the chile paste into a sieve placed over the stockpot and push the mixture through with a spatula,

 so the liquid drops through to the stockpot but the papery skins all stay in the seive.

 9) Now add the chocolate,

 taking care to stir it so it melts. Let the stock simmer for20 minutes, then taste for spices. It should really be developing complex flavors now.

 10) Now take the chicken (we cooked chicken breasts and thighs, over a bed of diced onions and cilantro, sprinkled with lime juice, in a 350 F oven for 1 hour, or until the juices ran clear),

 cut the meat into chunks

 and stir it into the mole.

11) Enjoy! 
This sauce is incredibly complex – acidic, sweet, fragrant, slightly bitter, and with a smoky spice at the back of the throat. The flavors are almost indistinguishable – there is a hint of aromatic coriander here, sweet onions there, tangy tomato and even the deep edge of the chocolate, but the whole is really greater than the sum of its parts. Chicken is a fantastic vehicle for this, because it is mild and takes on the flavor of the sauce, but this would be fantastic with eggs or as a sauce to tamale pie. Serve it over some rice, and you have yourself a meal. Now, really, all you need is an incredible dessert…


  1. Guess who had 2 heaping servings of this dish? 😉


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