Molé (pronounced moh-lay) sauce is a classic of Mexican cuisine. Each region of Mexico seems to have its own variation but the one I like is Molé Poblano.
This version of the sauce from Puebla has long been considered Mexico’s national dish. Served with chicken or turkey and with a squeeze of lime it is a complex sauce with many ingredients including dark chocolate.
Here in the UK, you can buy authentic Mexican products online from mexgrocer.co.uk or try making your own. It can be quite a time-consuming exercise to make but the result is well worth it.
Molé can be quite spicy so making your own gives you the opportunity to reduce the heat if you prefer less chilli.
Rather than just show a recipe to make a Mexican molé sauce, I have chosen to include one by Jessica Randhawa from theforkedspoon.com. Have a go, you won’t be disappointed.
Chicken with Mexican Molé Sauce
For the Chicken
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 5 pounds chicken – boneless skinless chicken breast chicken thighs, legs, whole chicken, combo, etc)
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups orange juice
For the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions – chopped
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds – or pepitas or sesame seeds
- ⅓ cup sliced almonds
- 8 cloves garlic – sliced
- 4 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 4 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon whole anise seeds
- 4 whole cloves
- 5 ounces dried pasilla chiles – stem removed seeded (optional), torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed
- 1 ounce dried ancho chiles – stem removed seeded (optional), torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed
- 1 ounce dried chipotle chiles – stem removed seeded (optional), torn into 1-inch pieces, rinsed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3.1 ounces dark Mexican chocolate or just dark chocolate – chopped
- Fresh chopped cilantro – for serving
First Cook the Chicken
- Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pot, swirling to cover the entire surface. Working in batches, sauté the chicken on each side until lightly browned, approximately 3-4 minutes. Transfer chicken to a large bowl. Sauté the remaining chicken breasts, adding additional olive oil to the pot, as needed.
- Return the chicken with its juices back to the pot or Dutch oven. Add the chicken broth and orange juice to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer until the chicken is fully cooked. Approximately 25 minutes.
- Carefully remove chicken to a clean bowl and set aside. Reserve broth for later use.
Then Cook the Sauce
- Heat the olive oil in a separate large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown and just starting to caramelize, approximately 12 minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce medium heat. Add the pumpkin seeds, sliced almonds, garlic, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, whole anise seeds, and whole cloves to the saucepan. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, until garlic becomes fragrant, stirring continuously.
- Add the dried chiles to the pot and stir to combine. Sauté for approximately 2-3 minutes or until chiles start to soften.
- Grab the reserved chicken and orange juice broth and carefully pour the liquid into the saucepan with the onion and chiles. Reserve pot for later. Add the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, raisins, marjoram, thyme, and oregano to the saucepan and mix well. Bring to a low boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until chiles are very soft, approximately 30-35 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate. Allow sauce to cool for 10 minutes and the chocolate to melt.
- Working in batches, transfer sauce mixture to the bowl of a blender and puree until smooth. Avoid overfilling. Transfer mixture to the reserved pot. Repeat until all sauce is processed. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Finally, Put it all Together
- Shred the cooked chicken and combine it with approximately half of the sauce mixture. Add more sauce, if desired. Reserve the remaining sauce for later use.
- Best served warm with rice or warm tortillas and sprinkled with fresh cilantro and pumpkin seeds.
Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days when stored in the refrigerator.
This mole sauce recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free.