Mole!! Time consuming? Yes! Labor intensive? Yes! Many ingredients? Yes! Worth the effort? Oh, heck, yes!!! The first thing I want to say is that I did not grow up eating mole sauce from scratch.
My parents had 8 kids and that little jar we have all grown up with, you know which one I am talking about? Doña Maria! Yes, that one. It was a staple in our house growing up. Heck, those jars were recycled and used for when my dad prepared coctel de camarones! Fancy! Lol! It was fancy to us to be able to enjoy shrimp cocktail out of any glass. So then why did I take on this challenge of mole from scratch? Why not??? Challenge yourself! Even if just one time. For me, the outcome was very rewarding.
Find these other variations of preparing Mole from scratch:
Want to prepare Mexican-Style Rice with your mole? Simple Mexican Rice Recipe
How To Prepare Molé Sauce
Step One: Chicken and Fried Ingredients
- 4 pounds chicken pieces bone in, skin on
- 15 cups water
Step Two -Fried Ingredients
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups of oil or pork manteca
- 10 chile ancho stemmed and seeded
- 10 chile pasilla stemmed and seeded
- 6-10 chile morita stems removed
- Reserve 1/4 cup of seeds from chiles
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup blanched almonds
- 1/3 cup pepitas raw
- 1/3 cup unsalted peanuts raw, if you can find them
Step Three: Toast and Grind
- 2 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp anise seeds
- 2 inch piece of mexican canela(cinnamon)
- 4 whole cloves
- 2/3 cup raw sesame seeds reserve 1/3 after toasting for garnish
- 5 roma tomatoes, sliced open
- 1 onion quartered
- 2-3 serrano peppers stems removed
- 10 cloves of garlic skins on
- 2 corn tortillas
- 12 saltine crackers or 1 toasted bollilo roll
- 3-4 oz Mexican chocolate
- 1/2-3/4 cup pork manteca
- Salt to taste
- 3 oz piloncillo optional
- To make it a little easier, I would suggest cooking your chicken the day before. Simply add chicken pieces to a large pot and cover with 15 cups of water. Add your vegetables, bay leaves and spices. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, skimming the top to remove scum(foam). Cook for 45 minutes. Cool completely before removing the chicken and straining out the solids.
- Add 8 cups of the chicken broth to a large pot and heat on low. Reserve any remaining broth for later. In another pan or skillet, add 1 cup of pork manteca. Preheat to medium/low heat for 4-5 minutes. In batches and in the order listed, fry the ingredients above. You will fry them just until they become aromatic and change in color slightly. You don't want any of the ingredients to get too dark in color. As you fry the ingredients, add them to the large pot of warm chicken broth.
- In a skillet or comal on medium heat, toast the oregano, cumin seeds, anise seeds and canela for a few minutes. Stir often so they don't burn. After 2 -3 minutes, transfer to a coffee grinder or molcajete. Next, toast the sesame seeds until golden brown and aromatic. Transfer to grinder as well. Grind all the ingredients until you have a fine powder/paste. Add this to the pot with broth.
- Preheat a large griddle or comal to medium heat. Place the tomatoes skin side down. Add the remaining ingredients, minus the tortillas. Dry roast for 20 minutes, removing the garlic after 15 minutes. Turn as needed. To speed up the process you could drizzle on a little oil while the ingredients roast. Transfer to pot with broth and other mole ingredients.
- On that same comal, toast the corn tortillas until crispy and charred black in some spots. If using a bolillo instead of saltine crackers, you could toast or fry the bolillo roll until very crispy. Also add to pot with broth. Getting close now!!
- After everything is fried, toasted, ground and dry roasted you should be jumping for joy! Yes!Finally to the mixed pot of mole ingredients, if using crackers instead of bolillo, add them to the pot now, add mexican chocolate and piloncillo(if using). Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Now here comes the fun part! Blending and straining is where you will begin to see your mole sauce come together! It took me three batches to blend everything. Using a wire mesh strainer, strain the sauce into a large bowl. If you need to, add a little chicken broth into the strainer with ingredients. Add as little as necessary. Be patient, you are almost there! If you have a high powered blender, like a vitamix, you won't need to strain the sauce.
- Here is where the real magic happen, in my opinion! Enjoy the process. Soon you will be enjoying a delicious Mexican molé that you prepared in your own kitchen, with your own hands. So worth the effort!
- In a large cazuela or dutch oven-style pot, preheat 1/2 cup of pork manteca to medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Pour in the strained mole sauce. Stir quickly because it will begin to pop and jump! After a few minutes, reduce the heat. You will cook this sauce for 60 to 90 minutes, adding more manteca as needed. Essentially what you are doing in this last step is frying the mole sauce slowly. it will become thicker and darker in color as you go. After 90 minutes, I was happy with the looks of my mole base.
- Now at this point, I take out 3 cups of this thick molé paste and set it aside to cool. To the remaining mole, add the previously cooked chicken pieces and 3-4 cups of the remaining chicken broth. Bring up to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Garnish chicken molé with reserved sesame seeds and serve with rice and plenty of warn corn tortillas!
- Freeze the cooled molé paste you reserved earlier for another time.
Most of the photos for mole on this post today were taken in October of 2017. There were so many pictures that I couldn’t get it in a timely manner.
Ok, are you ready for all the photos of the ingredients? The easiest way to approach a homemade is to break it down into several steps.
You can use all white meat for the recipe. But if you do, make sure you buy the chicken breast with the bone and skin on. It adds so much flavor.
If you cannot find the dried chiles listed in the ingredients, you can substitute some of the others chile varieties as long as they are not too spicy.
To read more about dried chiles used in Mexican cooking. Dried Chiles Are Staples!
In a pinch. dried cranberries work well for the mole if you have no raisins.
Using the metal strainer when frying small ingredients is ideal!!!
If you find sesame seeds that are already toasted, you can use those as well. Just skip toasting them.
Charring the ingredients will add much more flavor!
These photos are from different times I have prepared molé. So if it looks like the photos don’t match up, this is why.
Do you prefer Stacked Enchiladas?
Or do you prefer rolled enchiladas?
These last two photos was the most recent time I prepared mole poblano in March 2020. I used all guajillo peppers in an attempt to avoid them from drying out too much. This would be called a mole coloradito for it’s brighter red color.