Saturday, November 28, 2015

Chicken En Mole

Hello, everybody! The Fresh Pioneer is back and I have a delicious favorite to share. Now, a lot of people have had chicken en mole, but there are dozens of mole recipes. This is one that I like that isn't too hard to prepare and (almost never) fails, so here it is!
 Dried ancho chiles. The recipe calls for four ancho chiles. I had quite a crowd coming so I quadrupled the dish. So, as usual, the pictures you see are for a big batch, but I'll share the recipe as if you're cooking for 3-4 people.
 My littlest calls these "chiles de pasa" or "raisin chiles". Those aren't the real name. Don't use that in the Mexican restaurant because they won't understand you.
 Add four cloves of garlic and a can of tomatoes. Or several whole tomatoes from the garden, like I did. Don't worry too much about chopping and peeling. This will be blended together.
 Boil everything together for about ten minutes. The water will become dark.
 Remove the chiles and slice open. Discard tops and scrape out the seeds.
 Dump into a blender with the onion and the garlic (I used a small strainer to get the garlic pieces.)
 Add two cups of the chile water. After it's blended, it will be very soupy. At this point you can add it to the pot, or you can strain it again. I like to strain it because otherwise the kids are still finding a few seeds and those are where the heat comes from... and some of us can't handle the spice.
Mole is a condiment that's added to any sort of meat or fish dish. It comes in green, red, brown or black. It can be burn-your-face-off spicy, or very mild, like this one. Here's a pot of chicken drumsticks boiling away. After the chicken is boiled completely, take four cups of the broth and add to the mole mix.
 Simmer on the stove for about 30 minutes. At this point you can start adding a few spices. I don't like to add salt before then because if your chicken stock is salted, you can get too much salt in the mole. So, add some salt and pepper to taste. Now is also where mole mixes start to vary widely in flavor. Some add chocolate (2TBS) powder, some add cumin (2 tsp), or a dash of mace or allspice or nutmeg. I like those versions, too, but if I add allspice or mace to anything, my kids start making noise about it not smelling good, so I usually omit. I did add cumin and a little more garlic.
Mole sauce is also thick, so dissolve 2 TBS of corn starch in a 1/2 cup of hot water, add to the mole, and then boil for 5 minutes.
With some rice, salad, and toasted corn tortillas, dinner is served!
Funny side note: my son ran through the kitchen, paused long enough to swipe a finger around the jar and licked his finger. HA! Apparently, he'd missed the first hour of the mole preparation and thought this was some kind of Nutella-based sauce. Poor kid. But serves him right for sticking his fingers in the food, eh?
I'll leave you with a picture of one of my kids doing his homework... with a furry buddy. He says schoolwork is so much easier with a happy cat. May you all have a warm, cozy, and productive work week!
Until next time! Feel free to stop by my author page at Mary Jane Hathaway or my blog at The Things That Last!


  1. I think every kind of work would go better with a happy cat! :-) Or dog. I need a fur buddy too.

    1. I used to really enjoy a cat on my lap while I was working but now I find them too distracting. I ended up just petting them and staring at the screen. Lol

  2. Homemade mole! Thank you for the recipe!

    Is it easier to get the seeds out of the dried Ancho chilies after they're cooked? I've always taken the seeds out before cooking them, and I end up with a sticky mess. But I love the flavor, so it's worth the work!

    And fur buddies. They're the best, aren't they? My son does his math homework the same way - on the couch with the cat keeping him company. :)

    1. Since these are dried, if you try and take the seeds out before they're soft, you end up flicking them off one by one. But if you soften them first, you can use the flat of the knife and gently scrape them off in one feel swoop!

  3. I have never heard of mole before. You have increased my knowledge with something new and different!!! It's the stodgy New England side of me, the plain potato Irish kid.

    But I do love fascinating new things, and I bet I have kids who would love this.

    Where does the very interesting name "mole" come from?

    And if you say from furry, furtive creatures of the earth, all bets are off.

    A friend was hunting yesterday in our woods.... and he said the warm temps had coaxed a bunch of furry little critters out of the earth, out of season, and they kept falling over, into the dried leaf clutter.... he said it was noisy and odd, they were like drunken little fellows, stumbling around.

    Of course, maybe they were drunken little fellows! But I could picture their confusion, awakened too soon!!!

    So tell me this has nothing to do with that kind of mole, dear one. :)

    1. I'm not sure if you'll check back here Ruthy, but mole is actually an Aztec word, meaning "crushed". You can hear it again in guacamole. :)

      HAHAHA! That is a great story!!

  4. Another northeastern Irish here who has never had mole. I have heard of it in that I've seen it on menus, but I had no clue what it was.

    Ruthy, I looked it up and found this wonderful story on Wikipedia -

    A common legend of its creation takes place at the Convent of Santa Rosa in Puebla early in the colonial period. Upon hearing that the archbishop was going to visit, the convent nuns went into a panic because they were poor and had almost nothing to prepare. The nuns prayed and brought together the little bits of what they did have, including chili peppers, spices, day-old bread, nuts, and a little chocolate. They killed an old turkey, cooked it and put the sauce on top; the archbishop loved it. When the nun was asked the name of the dish, she replied, "I made a mole." Mole was the ancient word for mix; now this word mostly refers to the dish, and is rarely used to signify other kinds of mixes in Spanish.

    1. Wow! I've never heard that! Very interesting. I do wonder why 'mole' would be used by the nuns, since it's an Aztec word, but maybe they were indigenous converts? I love that' story.

      See, I love a mole dish that my husband's mother serves, but it's much lighter than this, and not as hot. I have no idea how she does it because I followed the directions exactly! But so it goes...