Rick Bayless’s recipe for mole (pronounced mo-LAY) cautions the reader that it will require 26 different ingredients. The first time I made this Mexican chili and chocolate sauce it took me three hours. The second time, only 1 ½. Now, I can make it in a half hour.
Of course, I take short-cuts. Mr. Bayless recommends giving each ingredient individual attention: dry roast, fry, and then soak 4 kinds of chilies. Toast each spice separately and then grind. Blacken the tomato. Fry onions, garlic, stale bread, tortillas, almonds and raisins. Did I forget anything? I had intended to take a photo of all the mise-en-place, but after the photo, I realized I forgot half the ingredients.
Mole originates from Oaxaca (pronounced wha-HA-ka) Mexico. What we know in the US is only one of the seven varieties available. Mole is the Mexican version of curry… “The original Nahuatl word molli means 'mixture.'” And like curry (whether it’s Thai, Japanese or Indian), it’s a mix of spices and aromatics that blend together into an intoxicating sauce.
I made the “mole coloradito oaxaqueno” version – which is the variety most commonly seen in the US. There’s also green, yellow, black, red (and obviously a few others whose names I can’t find). It pairs perfectly with enchiladas, pupusas or other Mexican dishes with a masa harina base.
I use the mole for enchiladas. It freezes beautifully. So if you take the time to make it, make lots! Then you will more easily enjoy it on future occasions.
Chicken Enchiladas with Mole Sauce
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine chicken with remaining ingredients, except scallions. Bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Cool. Shred meat and toss with scallions.
(the lazy approach --- for a more authentic recipe, see Rick Bayless’s “Authentic Mexican”)
1/2 lb. dried chilies (pasilla, mulato, poblano or any other combination), seeded and soaked in boiling water for 1 hour.
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 tsp. coriander
1 oz. chocolate
1/8 tsp. clove
1/2 tsp. fennel seed
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 garlic clove
1 corn tortilla
1 slice stale bread
1 qt. chicken stock.
1/3 cup almonds
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup oil
salt, sugar and red wine vinegar to taste
1. Heat a large sauté pan. Add 1/2 of the oil, nuts, raisins and tortillas. Fry until they begin to turn golden. Toast the bread.
2. In a blender, puree everything together, except remaining oil. Thin with chicken stock or water as needed.
3. Heat a large sauce pot. Add oil. Fry the sauce and continue to simmer for 30 minutes. Season to taste with sugar, salt, and vinegar.
8 – 8” tortillas
1 cup plain oil
Shredded Monterey jack cheese
1. Dip each tortilla in mole sauce.
2. Heat oil over medium high flame. Fry mole-coated tortillas, one at a time, in oil until soft, about 1 minute
3. Lay the fried tortillas down on a board. Fill with ½ cup of shredded chicken and roll. Put in a baking sheet. Continue until all tortillas are filled and rolled.
4. Drizzle extra mole on top. Sprinkle cheese on top.
5. Bake at 400F until cheese is melted and sizzling.
6. Remove from oven and garnish with scallions.
I served the enchiladas with black beans and red cabbage slaw