Everyday Gourmet Goes Mexican

  • Downhome Magazine
  • Posted: Jan 23, 2013 8:31 PM
Mole Poblano is a labour intensive dish, traditional to Puebla and Oaxaca, Mexico. It has been made for centuries, and in the days before modern blenders and food processors, the sauce was ground in the large community molcajete (mortar and pestle-style grinder) to reduce the labour for individual housewives. It was not uncommon to see them get together to make a big batch, share the work and then, share the rewards with their families. This recipe calls for special ingredients that can be found at Latin American markets or online. We featured an accessible version in the February 2013 issue of Downhome that comes very close to the real thing, but we wanted to make the traditional recipe available for folks who wanted to go for it! If you make it, email us at info@bacalaocuisine.ca and if you can, send a picture! We would love to hear how it went!

Mole Poblano
You will need a large, high-sided, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, a blender and a sieve.

2 three-pound chickens, cut into serving pieces
1 onion, cut in half,
2 bay leaves
Small handful peppercorns

2 dried ancho chiles
4 dried mulato chiles
3 dried pasilla negro chiles
3 tbsp vegetable oil
About 3/4 cup water

1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 small tomato, peeled
1 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 slice white bread
1/2 corn tortilla
2 tbsp blanched almonds
2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 tbsp raisins, softened in hot water, drained
4 whole cloves
1/4 tsp peppercorns
1/4 tsp anise seeds
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 oz Mexican spiced chocolate, chopped (or if unavailable, 2 oz semisweet chocolate, 4 tsp sugar, 1/8 tsp cinnamon and 2 or 3 drops vanilla extract)
1 tbsp sugar
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Place chicken pieces in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add water to cover, plus onion halves, bay leaves, peppercorns and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Cover and simmer 1 hour.

Rinse chiles, pat dry with paper towels. Heat 3 tbsp oil in large pot or Dutch oven. Add chiles. Fry 3-5 minutes, turning constantly. Drain on paper towels. Process chiles with about 3/4 cup water in blender until pureed, adding more water if needed. Press through a sieve to strain peel. Process chopped onion, garlic and tomato in blender until smooth. Add 1 tbsp oil to same pot, if needed. Stir bread, tortilla and almonds in oil until browned but not burned. Add browned bread mixture, sesame seeds, raisins, cloves, anise seeds and cinnamon to onion mixture. Process until pureed, adding about 2 tbsp water or broth from chicken as needed.

Wipe out the pot and heat a fresh 2 tbsp oil. Add puréed onion mixture. Stir over medium heat 10 minutes - it will sizzle as you add it. Add chile puree. Cook and stir 5 minutes. Gradually stir in 4 cups broth from chicken. Stir in chocolate and sugar until dissolved. Add salt to taste. Cover and simmer 1 hour 45 minutes. Uncover and cook 30 minutes longer until slightly thickened. Add chicken pieces. Simmer 30 mins. To serve, place a piece of chicken on each plate. Cover with sauce, garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro. Lovely with soft tortillas or rice to soak up delicious sauce.