Rich, dark, complex, mildly spicy and faintly sweet with a touch of pleasant bitterness, mole sauce is the perfect accompaniment to chicken, pork or in enchiladas. Mole (pronounced moh-lay) sauce is a delicious gift from Mexico that has a rich and historic past. Several Mexican states claim to be the originators of the sauce and there is debate over the exact ingredients. In Mexico, many families have their very own mole recipe, one that is handed down from generation to generation, rarely changing. A legacy steeped in tradition and culture.
Though I don’t have a family mole recipe, being a Texas girl, I was always able to enjoy a good mole at many of our excellent Mexican and “Tex-Mex” restaurants. It’s probably one of my husband’s favorite all-time dishes. Now that I’ve moved to New England, and been a bit homesick for some good Mexican food, I’ve decided to concoct my own.
This is the most common mole- a dark reddish brown sauce accented with sesame seed garnish. There are green moles as well, but this one is generally referred to as “red mole” and has the inclusion of chocolate, chilies and spices. Here’s what I’ve come up with- we certainly enjoyed it and I hope you will too! (recipes for mole chicken and chicken mole enchiladas to follow)
Amy’s Mole Sauce
by Amy Love, Real Food Whole Health
makes about 7 cups
½ cup sesame seeds
1 TBL organic butter (raw from grass fed cows preferred)
1 large organic onion, diced
4-5 cloves organic garlic, smashed
2-4 chipotle peppers (canned in adobo or jarred roasted) 2 will be mild, 3 medium, 4 hot
28oz crushed tomatoes (BPA free can or in glass) or 6 fresh tomatoes, roasted & chopped
2 TBL organic, raw almond butter from soaked/dried almonds (or peanut butter)
1 small box (about 2 oz) organic, unsulphured raisins
2 ½ heaping TBL organic chili powder
2 TBL organic ground cumin
5 heaping TBL organic, unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp organic ground cloves
1 tsp organic ground cinnamon
1 tsp organic garlic powder
4 tsp unrefined sea salt
½ tsp freshly ground pepper
½ tsp sucanat (or other natural sugar)
2 cups filtered water or homemade chicken stock/bone broth
1 small square dark chocolate (or about 1 TBL dark chocolate chips)
In small, dry sauté pan, over medium low heat, toast sesame seeds, stirring constantly, until golden, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
In large sauté pan (with tall sides) or stock pot, over medium heat, melt butter and sauté onions and garlic until fragrant. Add chipotle peppers, tomatoes and almond butter. Stir to combine. Add raisins and spices (chili powder, cumin, cocoa powder, cloves, cinnamon, garlic powder, salt, pepper and sucanat). Cook about 5 minutes. Transfer to blender. Add half of toasted sesame seeds (reserving half for garnish of dish) and the water or stock/broth. Blend all until very smooth and then return to pan over medium heat. Bring to a bubble and then reduce heat to simmer, stirring almost constantly about 20-25 minutes or until reduced, darkened and thickened to a cream sauce-like consistency. If it gets too thick, thin out a bit with water or stock. Stir in chocolate and stir until melted. Ta-da!
Use for mole chicken or chicken mole enchiladas or top roasted pork loin with mole. It’s even better the next day! Also you can freeze the sauce for later use. Defrost and then reheat slowly in sauté pan over low heat before using in a recipe. If not using the garnishing sesame seeds right away, store them in the fridge to maintain freshness.
*Note for our gluten-free friends, from a reader- double check that any canned chiles (chipotles) you use are in fact GLUTEN FREE. Some brands apparently contain wheat flour in the adobo. Thanks to Erin for the heads-up on this!
This sounds great. I’ve been looking for a good Mole sauce.
Living in Durham, NC there is not a shortage of Mexican restaurants, but some of them have gluten in them….and since I don’t speak Spanish, and even if I have someone with me who does, they just don’t seem to understand what gluten is…it can be difficult. I go to the restaurants I know well. There was one that really made me sick. I learned from my mistake…the hard way.
Now I don’t think I have ever heard of Mole sauce, but being that we love Mexican food we have probably had and not aware. I am going to have to try your recipe. Sounds so flexible of all the meats I can use this sauce on so many choices.
Thanks so much.
I came across your site from the foodieblogroll and I’d love to guide Foodista readers to your site. I hope you could add this mole widget at the end of this post so we could add you in our list of food bloggers who blogged about mole recipes,Thanks!
So true, Wendy. I was SHOCKED when I found out what junk is used to make most mole sauces. Many people use a box or jarred starter mix and it’s just chockfull of chemicals, rancid oils (many hydrogenated) and most have MSG, in several forms! Few restaurants take the time to make it from scratch. In this recipe, I eliminated the need to roast your own chilies, which takes some time (and some major ventilation!) and relied upon jarred chipotle in adobos. It’s a time saving step that I don’t feel really compromises the integrity of the recipe, and makes it more accessible for people to do at home. This recipe makes enough to do several dishes, so it’s something you could whip up every couple months and it uses ingredients that I (mostly) have on hand the majority of the time.
I love that you used chipotles from a can. Roasting the whole chilis is not a pleasant process, especially in the winter. My family loves mole sauce and it is such a production. I am definitely going to try your recipe. Thanks for visiting my blog.
Hi Bonnie! Thanks for stopping by. Yes, I wanted something faster and easier. I found some in a can and some in a jar, and they didn’t have anything other than peppers and sauce. I figured that would fit the bill just fine. 🙂 Hope you love it, we REALLY did!
I am so glad that I found your site. Mole is wonderful and I have been trying to reverse engineer it after I ate some at a restaurant, http://hometownslop.blogspot.com/2012/07/el-mana-in-midvale-utah-formerly-el.html
Thanks for sharing. My mouth is watering already.
Thanks, Jeff! So glad you found us too! Amy worked really hard on this recipe and it’s one of the best I’ve ever had. Hope you love it!
Thanks for this! The recipe my family has always made is really complex, taking all day. Glad to find one I can make more on the fly when I need the comfort 🙂 I’m going to try reconstituting my own chipotles rather than the canned and will report back if something goes either really wrong, or really right.
Great!! Thanks for sharing and please let me know how it goes 🙂
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