When I was teaching Mexican cooking classes, one of the most asked questions was, "How Do You Make Mole"? As I would try to explain this complex list of ingredients that creates this most wonderful sauce, I could tell that it was a bit overwhelming for most of them. I have to admit, that once you have more than 8 ingredients in a recipe, then it requires more attention. Growing up in a family of 10, I know that when my Mom made mole, she got a little help from a premade mole base available where Hispanic foods were sold. That was the only mole I knew, but about 6 years ago I decided to learn to make it from scratch! My original recipe has up to 25 ingredients, but I simplified for some friends who really wanted to learn an easier version that was not so intimidating. I was very happy with this version of mole sauce -- it has all the flavors I was looking for.
Everyday Mole Sauce: Yields up to 10 servings
8 to 10 dried pasilla peppers or chile ancho
1- 14 ounce can Hunt's fire roasted garlic tomatoes
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 to 2 serrano peppers
½ cup toasted slivered almonds
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds, plus more for garnish
4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
½ disc of Mexican chocolate, about 2 ounces
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons chile ancho powder
Pinch of ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and fresh cracked pepper
6 cups chicken broth
I literally had all these ingredients in my pantry. I always try keep it well stocked on days I go on a cooking spree! I like to use the Knorr brand of chicken bouillon for instant chicken broth.
1. Remove the stems and seeds from pasilla peppers. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with water and cook in the microwave for 6 to 7 minutes, stirring once during cooking time. Remove from microwave, cover and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Roughly chop the onion, serrano chile, and the garlic, set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil to medium/high heat. Add the onions, serrano and garlic and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper as you build your layers.
3. Drain all of the liquid from the pasilla peppers, add them to the pan, along with 4 cups of broth and all of the remaining ingredients, minus the Mexican chocolate. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and transfer the mixture to a blender or high capacity processor. Blend on high until smooth. Be extremely careful when blending hot liquids. Always secure top of blender using a towel, use your hand to hold down lid tightly. Now at this point you can strain the sauce through a wire mesh strainer into a larger bowl, for a really smooth sauce. I have skipped this step a couple of times, but I would say that the strained sauce is my favorite version.
4. In that same pan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil to medium heat. Let it heat for a minute or two. Add the sauce to pan, add the remaining chicken broth, stir well and taste for salt. When it comes to a boil, add the Mexican chocolate and stir until melted. If you like the sauce a little sweeter, you can add a little piloncillo or dark brown sugar to taste. I like mine more on the savory side. Cover, reduce heat and continue cooking and stirring for another 35 to 40 minutes, tasting for salt along the way. Yields up to 10 servings. Serve sauce over pork, chicken, or turkey, garnish with toasted sesame seeds.
Note: Another variation is to brown and sear your chicken pieces and then finish by braising them in the mole sauce.
As the sauce cooks down, it will get darker in color and develop a deep, rich flavor!
I like to use my leftover mole sauce for topping taquitos, burritos or enchiladas.
Toasting the nuts or sesame seeds is easy enough. Just heat them on medium heat in a skillet and stir often until they brown lightly and become aromatic. Never leave them unattended because they can burn easily.
Other recipes by Sonia:
Mexican Red Rice
Chile Relleno with Serrano Shrimp
Tacos al Pastor
Cheesy Chorizo Bread
Flank Steak Tacos
Frijoles Borrachos con Chorizo
Buffalo Chicken Flautas
Chile Garlic Shrimp Kabobs
Chicken Enchilada Soup with Chayotes
Dulce de Leche and Chocolate Chip Chimichangas
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